Introduction: How to Model a Basic Assembly Using Solidworks

New to SolidWorks? That is no problem!


These instructions are intended for someone new to using SolidWorks, and whom has somewhat basic computer skills. A basic knowledge of dimensions will also be helpful. A powerful tool such as SolidWorks can be intimidating for the new user. With the help of this guide, it doesn’t have to be. By the time you finish reading this tutorial, you should be able to successfully:

* Model a basic part in SolidWorks

* Successfully add basic features to the parts

* Fully assemble multiple parts using basic mate features

Necessary Tools:

The amount of time required to create your part assembly will depend on the detail involved in the parts that you are trying to model. Basic shapes, and fewer features in the assembly will generally take much less time. Completing this tutorial will take you somewhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour if you are inexperienced with SolidWorks or any other CAD software.

If you have any issues with some of the features presented in the videos, this link is a very helpful resource that gives some instructions on how to properly use them:

For this tutorial, I will be modeling a water bottle consisting of two parts; the bottle and the lid.

Step 1: Starting a Part File

You will first need to open SolidWorks on your computer. When it opens you will see the first screen shot shown above. At that point press "New" on the toolbar at the top of your screen. In the next window that you see press "part," followed by "OK."

Step 2: Make a Sketch of the Bottle

Now you will need to make a sketch of one profile of the water bottle. You will need to use the sketch tool on the top tool bar. This sketch can be made on any plane (top, front, right). However, as you will see in the video and throughout the rest of these instructions, there is a more logical method to making this part. This should become more evident in the next step. I have chosen to use the top plane of the water bottle for my sketch. This process is illustrated in the following video.

Step 3: Extrude the Part

In this step, the part that you have made will become a three dimensional part. In order to do this you will use the extrude feature. This feature takes the sketch that you have made and extends it out into space giving it a depth.

In order to roll the sketch or part around in SolidWorks, you can press your center scroll wheel on your mouse and move the mouse in a circular motion. This can take some practice but gets much easier, and using this feature makes seeing different views of your part much easier.

Step 4: Shell Out the Bottle

Now you will remove the inside of the cylinder using the shell feature. This allows you to remove all of the center of the closed object by defining a wall thickness. You will note in the video that I chose the wall thickness to be .25 inches. This is not the most realistic value, but works well for demonstration purposes. You may choose whatever value that you would like.

Once this is done you will notice that the part does not look any different. You will need to cut out one of the ends of the bottle out. This can be done by utilizing a cross-section view while using the convert entities, and extruded cut features. You will also need to make a cut for the lid to fit onto. This process is demonstrated in the video below.

Step 5: Adding Fillets

A fillet is a feature that will make a rounded edge. It can be used on most continuous smooth edges. This will give the edges of the water bottle a smooth transition surface. You can see an example of the 2 fillets that I used on the bottom edge of the bottle, as well as the ridge just below the top of the container.

In order to use the feature you will need to define a radius for the fillet, and click all of the edges that you would like to apply the feature to. You will notice that I have used two separate fillet sized on different edges. Once again, I have demonstrated this process for you in the video below.

Step 6: Making the Cap

I have chose to combine all of the steps needed to make the cap into one video. This is because I will be using all of the same features and tools that I have used in all of the other steps. If you need to, refer back to previous steps for clarification. You may notice that I select some features by right clicking instead of accessing them on the toolbar. This is purely for convenience and quickness. Feel free to become familiar with not only the toolbar buttons, but also the buttons that show up when right-clicking certain features.

In this step you will produce:

* 3 Sketches
* 3 Extrusions (one for each sketch)
* Applying fillets to the nozzle
* Dimensioning all features appropriately

Do not forget that you will need to save your parts after starting them in SolidWorks. You don't want to lose all of your work!

Step 7: Making an Assembly

The final step of the process is to mate the two parts that you have created into one assembly. If  they have been dimensioned correctly in the previous steps, they should fit together perfectly. The two mate types that you will use are:

Concentric- This means that two circles will fit perfectly inside one another (even if they are different sizes).

Coincident- This mate type should be used when you want two surfaces to touch each other and limit its motion to that plane. To completely constrain a part using only this mate type requires three different coincident mates.

There are many other mate types that will not be demonstrated in this video that can be very useful in certain situations.

Step 8: Using Apearances

Now to put the final touches on your assembly, you may want to change the material or color it. This can be done very easily in solid works. All you need to do is select all of the faces or parts that you want to change the appearance of (holding ctrl will allow you to select multiple). Next right click on one of the selected faces and click the appearances icon. A picture of this icon and menu are pictured above.

Now is the fun part. You can select any texture or material in SolidWork's vast library and apply a color tone to it. This is what really makes your assembly or part come to life, so have some fun with it! Once you have chosen the appearance that you would like, you can click the green check mark, and check out the results. I have shown an example of this feature in the picture above.

Step 9: You Made It!

You now know how to use some of the basic features in SolidWorks to make a part assembly. With a little practice, you will be able to make much more complex models using some of the many other features within the program. I have posed a few examples of some much more complex models above. Hopefully this got you started, and will be a good reference for you or someone else in the future!