Part Modeling - First Steps

A few moments' thought about the orientation and manufacturing processes of a part will save you a lot of time and trouble down the road. A few highly recommended tips for getting started on part modeling:

1. Set your units! - Go to Tools...Options...Document Properties (2nd Tab)...Units... IPS (ANSI) or MMS (Metric)

2. Select your initial sketch plane. In general (though with some exceptions): - Rectangular Part - Top Plane - Cylindrical (Rotated) Part - Front Plane

3. Center your initial sketch. Method: - Rectangular sketches-> Use reference lines anchored from the origin and add midpoint constraints. - Circular sketches -> Select origin as centerpoint - (pictures to be added in the future) Reason: - Centered parts will allow you to use the part's reference planes effectively during assembly. Often, it is beneficial to use "Top, Front, Right" reference planes for assembly mating as it maximize the ability to parametrically model and make less error-prone changes late in the design process..

4. Name parts and features. - Name your part with a descriptive filename that is easily recognizable. - To avoid interface errors with archaic disk formats, use filenames with no spaces (use underscores instead).

  - Example: EngineMotor_PistonHead.SLDPRT

5. Name key features. - A long list of extrusions, cuts, patterns, and fillets is tedious to navigate. - Key features should be named for easy reference.

  - Example: AxleHole
  - Example: KeyboardButtonPattern

5. Save your part EARLY AND OFTEN. - SolidWorks is prone to freezes due to CPU or RAM overloads. Save frequently to save yourself. Trust me. - Make a folder for each project you work on and locate all your relevant part, assembly, and drawing files in it.

6. Put your relevant files in a project folder. You will be making many parts, assemblies, and drawings in the future as part of this class, and potentially for future classes and/or careers. Consequently, I recommend you create a new folder for each new project, and put all relavant files in its appropriate folder. Beware, excessive folder hierarchy can become tedious. But, if your parts are named well, you will easily find them in your "project" folder.