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Shaded Sketch Contours – what’s that about?

Tuesday March 14, 2017 at 9:02am

Shaded Sketch Contours – what’s that about?

New in SOLIDWORKS 2017 is the sketch setting for “Shaded Sketch Contours,” - it is turned on as standard but the option for it is here, in case you wanted to know: -


Shaded Sketch Contour, SOLIDWORKS


“So, what is it all about?” Well, maybe you haven’t noticed the effect, if you have stayed “normal to” your sketch, as the effect is very subtle: - 


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


But if you rotate your view a bit: - 



Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS

Now you can see the effect. “So what?” Well, you can select those shaded regions, just using your normal cursor – for example to delete all the sketch entities that make up that shape. With just one click (note the position of the cursor inside the top left rectangle): - 


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


And then hit “delete”: -


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


“Ok, so it has saved me selecting a few lines and hitting delete more often – is that all?” Well no, for one thing you can create relations using these areas by holding down the Shift or CTRL key and clicking inside them: -


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


The area inside each contour is a bigger target, and so faster to select than the circle itself.


But it also works on other shapes, for example rectangles:-


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS 


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS 


With a couple of dimensions added, you can see that it has made all the lines equal in length, as the first dimension I added was the vertical one (black, driving, and the second was the horizontal one (grey, driven): - 


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


“Ok, ok, so faster and less clicks…”

Yes, but that’s not all, for one thing in SOLIDWORKS 2017 you can trigger the Contour Select Tool just by holding down the “Alt” key: -


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


You will also have to hold down either Shift or CTRL if you want more than one region: - 


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS



“Yes, yes, but I can still do that in earlier versions, just by hitting the extrude button and then clicking in that “Selected contours” panel in the property manager…”

True, but I’ve saved the best until last, using the Shaded Sketch Contours you can easily move undefined shapes without distorting them, and there is no need to use anything other than dragging with your left mouse button! That “K” shape?

That is totally undefined, but I can just drag inside it to move it: -


Shaded Sketch Contours, SOLIDWORKS


Now that’s useful – especially if you ever deal with logos, or import DXF’s or DWG’s etc.

 Well, I think so anyway!  

 

Applications Engineer, Rory Niles.

See more information about Shaded Sketch Contours on our SOLIDShots video here

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