At-Home SolidWorks Activity: Necklace Holder Example




Introduction: At-Home SolidWorks Activity: Necklace Holder Example

This activity explains how to create SolidWorks models based on objects that you can find laying around!

Because this activity is based on objects that you can find around your house or classroom, you can choose to make it as easy or difficult as you want it to be by selecting simple or complex objects. This activity can be used to teach in a classroom, in the workplace, or at home!

This was designed for high school to college-aged students, but anyone is welcome to give it a try!

Standards for Technological Literacy:

17 - Students will develop an understanding of and be able to select and use information and communication technologies.


M - Information and communication systems allow information to be transferred from human to human, human to machine, and machine to machine.

P - There are many ways to communicate information, such as graphic and electronic means.

Q - Technological knowledge and processes are communicated using symbols, measurement, conventions, icons, graphic images, and languages that incorporate a variety of visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli.

Step 1: Materials

There are only a few things that you need to gather in order to do this activity!

  • Calipers
  • Notebook
  • Pencil/Pen
  • An object (which you will be creating a SolidWorks model of)
  • SolidWorks software on a computer

The estimated cost of this activity is $25. You may need to buy your own set of calipers or a notebook. This activity is assuming that you have access to SolidWorks at your school or organization.

Step 2: Take Your Measurements and Record

Now that you have your object, it is time to start taking measurements of it!

Take your calipers and take all necessary measurements. This includes length, width, and height of the object, as well as distances between the object's features.

With a pen or pencil and your notebook, create a sketch that includes these dimensions. You may need to draw more than one view of your object to represent all of the dimensions. Having this sketch is important because it will help you create your SolidWorks model later. Double check that you haven't missed any necessary dimensions!

Step 3: Start Modeling!

Now that you know all of the dimensions of your object, it is time to crack open SolidWorks and start your model!

In order to start your model, pick your part template that matches the units you took your measurements in. In my example, I selected "ansi_mm" because I took my measurements in millimeters.

When creating a model in SolidWorks, it is easiest to start from the base and work your way up. Select the horizontal plane to start your sketch on. Starting on the origin, use the line tool to draw an approximate outline of your base. Once you close the outline and you see that the shape is colored in blue, you can start adding dimensions.

Select the Smart Dimension tool and add in the measurements that you took of your object.

After this, click on the Features tab and select Extruded Boss/Base. This gives your drawing depth. Add in the height of your base to the field in the side-bar.

Once you have your base, you can add features on top of it! Select the Sketch tab again, and this time, instead of sketching on the horizontal plane, select the top of your object to sketch on. From here, you can add your features. Make sure to dimension your features to the outer edges of your base. Once this sketch is fully defined, you can extrude it the same way you extruded the base!

Finally, you can add in details to your object. To create tapered edges, in the Features tab, select the Chamfer tool, which is in the drop-down menu under Fillet. Click on the edges and corners that you would like to have this detail. On the side-bar, enter in the measurements of your edges (for example, do you want it to be a 45 degree angle? How far do you want it to go into your object?).

Once you confirm your final details, you have completed your model! Make sure to save it!

Step 4: Create a Drawing in SolidWorks

In this step, you will create a SolidWorks drawing of your part.

With your part still open, click Make Drawing from Part/Assembly, which is located on the top bar. This should open up a new document for your drawing.

On the top bar of this new document, select Model View in the View Layout tab. This allows you to select the part that you have just created and import it to the new document. Click the view that you would like to create under the Orientation option in the side bar. Most likely, this will be Front. Hover your mouse over the blank page. You will see a box appear. This represents where your drawing will go. Click to create your view. If you need additional views, hover your mouse above or next to your original drawing and click again. Click the green check when you finish.

Once you have all of the drawing views that you think you need, you can start annotating them. Click over to the Annotation tab and select Model Items. This automatically pulls the dimensions from your part to this drawing. Select the drawings that you would like your dimensions to go on. When they appear, you may need to reorganize them to make them all readable.

Finally, you need to edit your titleblock. To do this, select the Sheet Format tab and click Edit Sheet Format. This will make your drawings temporarily disappear. From here, fill in the blank spaces at the bottom of your drawing. When you are done, click Edit Sheet Format again to go back into your drawing. You are now done! Make sure to save your drawing so you don't lose any of your work!

Step 5: Finished!

Now that you have created your model and drawing, you can choose to keep them as they are, or make your own alterations to them.

If you have access to a 3D printer, you can also print out the part that you have created.

Now that you have learned how to go through the steps to create a part and drawing in SolidWorks, it should be much easier for you to visually communicate ideas to other people. Continue to use SolidWorks whenever you are about to start a new project or need to explain a problem that you have to solve!

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