Creating 3D sketches of offset edges of complex faces or surfaces can be quite challenging and time-consuming. Let’s say we want to create a feature on the back of this helmet to match the contours of the highlighted faces.
Luckily creating these offsets are a lot easier with the Offset on a Surface feature introduced in SOLIDWORKS 2017. With this tool, all you have to do is select the face or surface body to offset all the edges, or manually select the edges you need. The tool can be found on the Sketch tab in the Command Manager, or by clicking Tools > Sketch Tools > Offset on Surface.This would require multiple steps that might involve converting entities, projecting sketches onto the face, creating 3D splines on surfaces (we all know how much fun that can be), and the list goes on. Depending on your approach, there might even be some slight deviation between the offset you created and the actual edges of the original face or surface, which may not suit your needs.
From the PropertyManager, enter a value for the Offset Distance. You can then select an edge, group of edges, or even entire faces. You may need to use the Reverse option to flip the direction of the offset.
After the feature is completed, a 3D spline sketch is created where it can be used to drive a feature. In this example, I used the sketch to create a Filled Surface, then turned it into a solid using the Thicken command to get the result below.
This new Offset on Surface feature is a great tool to make complex geometry quicker by eliminating a lot of manual steps. I hope you’re already thinking of ways to use this tool in your own designs. For more information, check out our YouTube channel, our SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD page, Get a Quote for SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD or contact us at Hawk Ridge Systems today. Thanks for reading!