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Advantages of Parametric CAD with SOLIDWORKS

Thursday July 14, 2016 at 10:00am

When producing engineering output (3D Models, Detailed Drawings) it is essential to be precise and adaptable to change. This is where parametric modelling comes in handy.  

Unlike with non-parametric design software (such as SketchUp, Rhino or 3Ds Max), SOLIDWORKS geometry is built with relations and dimensions in mind. This leads to easily editable shapes and sizes. A well-structured sketch allows intelligent changes to be made with a few mouse clicks.

  Take a look at this example of a house layout. The base of the model is a sketch of straight lines with assigned dimensions. To resize the rooms we simply drag the dimension handles and walls move maintaining the wall thickness. Door width is linked to a single global value, changing it will update all the doors immediately.


It is not just 2D layouts that are intelligent, same is applicable to 3D commands such as Pattern. In the following welded structure the roof trusses are patterned out from the middle. The pattern is parametric and attempts to fit as many sections as it can with a predefined spacing. Increasing the overall length of the structure increases the number of copied sections. Try to increase the spacing and the number goes down. Tweak the model and get multiple configurations within seconds.



Another advantage comes from the fact that geometry is analytical and not faceted. Circles and arcs are infinitely round objects and not polygons. This allows precise mass calculation and greatly helps with dimensioning. To place a diameter there is no need to select two facet vertices diametrically across from each other, simply pick the circle and diametric dimension will pop out.

The video below shows how visual roundness of a circle is solely dependent on the image quality setting, the actual circle is always regarded as a circle by the system. It is easy to dimension various items with a single command called Smart Dimension.

These are just the few advantages of parametric modelling. And there are many more industry specific ones!


» Categories: Parametric CAD


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