Solidworks “In-Context” Modelling

To get us back into the swing of things we started with a particularly detailed bottle design. There were lots of dimensions and relations to consider, but with the dimensions given to us, I was able to zone out and smash it in a single session.

In-Context modelling is when you model parts from within an assembly. You can do this from scratch, without having to import an existing part, or you can edit existing parts. You use it when you want to build parts that fit with one another as it saves time when you need to make adjustments across parts. It’s most effective for complex assemblies with tight tolerances.

  • To begin, instead of inserting an existing part in an assembly, exit the initial screen and then choose insert component> new part.
  • You can create relations on a sketch between parts in an assembly. You can find the relations that are linked externally with the symbol: “->”.  You can also right-click on the top level item and click “list external references” to show all.
  • When editing a part, to get back to the assembly, you must exit the part. It looks like the exit sketch button, but with a part logo.
  • To reference another part’s lines, turn on the hidden line view

Our main assignment to begin is to break down, measure and model a pump-pack soap dispenser. I found the open-ended measuring particularly difficult on the Lego project last year, so this time i decided to do a lengthy and methodical measurement process before beginning any of my modelling. This was handy, because it meant I got to learn about in-context modelling and be able to use it to its full potential before beginning.

Other fun fact’s I’ve learnt in the first two weeks:

  • Autodesk Fusion 360 will apparently be the next big modelling software and I need to learn that independently
  • A “fair” surface has a continuous directional flow across the surface. When zebra-stripes are on, a fair surface will have smooth flowing stripes
  • Shortcut for rebuild is CTRL + Q
  • Shortcut for Isometric view is CTRL + 7
  • “Convert Entities” is essentially ‘trace’. You can select a lot of existing lines and copy them over to a new sketch/part. Super handy for in-context modelling.

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