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Understanding Design Intent in Solidworks tutorial

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Design Intent is a phrase that you will hear often among SolidWorks users. I like to think of it as “design for change.” Design Intent means that when you put the parametric sketch relations together with the feature intelligence, you can build models that react to change in predictable ways. This gives you a great deal of control over changes.
An example of Design Intent could be a written statement that describes general aspects that help define the design of a part, such as “This part is symmetrical, with holes that line up with Part A and thick enough to be flush with Part B.” From this description, and the surrounding parts, it is possible to re-create the part in such a way that if Part A or Part B changes, the part being described updates to match.
Some types of changes can cause features to fail or sketch relations to conflict. In most situations, SolidWorks has ample tools for troubleshooting and editing that you can use to repair or change the model. In these situations, it is often the Design Intent itself that is changing.
Best Practice
When editing or repairing relations, it is considered best practice to edit rather than delete. Deleting often
causes additional problems further down the tree. Many users find it tempting to delete anything that has an
error on it. n
Editing Design Intent
Design Intent is sometimes thought of as a static concept that controls changing geometry.
However, this is not always the way things are. Design Intent itself often changes, thus requiring
the way in which the model reacts to geometric changes to also change. Fortunately, SolidWorks
has many tools to help you deal with situations like this.
Choosing Sketch Relations
Seeing the sketch relation symbols is the best tool for visualizing Design Intent. You can show or
hide icons that represent the relations by choosing View ➪ Sketch Relations. When shown, these
relations appear as an icon in a small colored box in the graphics area next to the sketch entity.
Chapter 1: Introducing SolidWorks
Clicking the icon highlights the sketch elements involved in that relation. Refer to Figures 1.19
through 1.25 for examples of these relations.
The Sketch Relations option is an excellent candidate for use with a hotkey, thus enabling you to toggle the
display easily on and off. n
For more information on creating and managing hotkeys, see Chapter 2. n
You can use the sketch relation icons on the screen to delete relations by selecting the icon and
pressing Delete on the keyboard. You can also use them to determine the status quickly of sketch
relations by referring to the colors defined earlier.
Selecting Display/Delete Relations
You can find the Display/Delete Relations tool on the Sketch toolbar or by clicking a sketch entity
in an open sketch. The sketch status colors defined earlier also apply here, with the relations
appearing in the appropriate color. (Relations are not shown in blue or black, only the colors that
show errors, such as red, yellow, and brown.) This tool also enables you to group relations by several
l All in This Sketch
l Dangling
l Overdefining/Not Solved
l External
l Defined in Context
l Locked
l Broken
l Selected Entities
In the lower Entities panel of the Display/Delete Relations PropertyManager, shown in Figure 1.26,
you can also replace one entity with another, or repair dangling relations.

SolidWorks® 2010
Matt Lombard
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
10475 Crosspoint Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46256


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