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Grid Systems - hidden away, but very useful!

Friday November 3, 2017 at 2:22pm
Rory Niles provides an insight into the uses for Grid Systems within SOLIDWORKS 2018 

If you ever design framework, or furniture (e.g. kitchen units, drawers etc.), or maybe racking systems (as a few examples off the top of my head) – or other things, there is a Reference Geometry command that can do quite a lot of work for you and is well worth a look.

It is called “Grid System” and it is not as standard on the Command Manager, you have to go to the Insert menu, Insert, Reference Geometry, Grid System:

Accessing Grid Systems through the Command Manager

It will straight away put you into a sketch on the Top plane – and then wait for you to draw something.

So I’ve drawn something – notice the numbers that appear automatically, and the fact that it shows in Confirmation Corner that I’m in a 3D Grid sketch.

Creating the 3D Sketch

I guess I’d better put some dimensions on:

Applying Dimensions to the 3D Sketch

The action then happens when you come out of that sketch, you get the Property Manager asking you about how many Levels you want:

Property Manager

I’ve gone for 4, and a spacing of 100mm between them.

I have however varied the spacing of level 1 to 120mm, just to show you can…

Then of course it’s green tick time:

Saving Time with Spacing

Oh great, it’s re-created the sketch onto 4 sketch planes…” you might be thinking.

Well, yes, but there’s more that it has done for you – expand the GridSystem feature and you’ll find more goodies:

Expanding the Grid System

One thing to mention here is that your Top plane is classed as level zero. That is where your original sketch is – listed right down at the bottom inside a Surface Extrude feature.

The extruded surface has produced 2 separate surface bodies:

Surface Extrude Feature

One going around the outside, another for the line going across.

There is also a 3D sketch that connects up any end points or corners between all the sketches:

3D Sketch Connecting End-Points

You could use what it has given you for something like Structural Member features:

Structural Member Features

Or whatever you want!

You can also use the surfaces for sketching on, or even Show them, and use “Thicken” to make solid slabs.

Sketching on the Features

If you edit the Grid System feature, you can adjust the spacing of the different levels, if you edit the original sketch all the other ones will update automatically.

Editing the Grid System Feature

I hope you will find that useful.

Rory Niles

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