By Jennifer MacMillan
I recently spent some time in the 3D sketch environment (not something that I do often). It has been a while; definitely before the Inventor 2017 release. I used to find it tough to sketch and know what plane I was on, and I mostly only used the Project to Curve option. I wanted to share some of the cool features that I found and will certainly use to “control” my 3D sketches.
- There are the (Ortho Mode) and (Snap Object) options in the Status bar at the bottom of the graphics window that enable you to better control how the entities are sketched. With Ortho Mode enabled, you can restrict sketching to the X, Y, and Z planes. With Snap Object enabled, you can snap new entities to existing ones. Nice! Definitely makes sketching entities more accurate.
- Additional status bar options are available to enable/disable dynamic dimensioning, inferring constraints, or to show/hide constraints.
- There is more 3D sketching control added with the addition of options (shortcut menu) that help you align and reorient the model to accurately sketch your entities.
- Use Align to Plane align to sketching triad to a plane.
- Use the Orient Z and Orient to World to reorient the sketching triad to a custom Z direction or to the world coordinate system.
- Use Snap Intersection to snap an entity to the intersection of entities. Ortho Mode must be enabled.
- You might be thinking that I am a bit of control freak at this point (you possibly are correct), but there is still more to get excited about. Constraints! Yup... there are more constraints to use. In addition to the pre-2017 constraints, there are options to constrain to a planar face, constrain parallel with the X, Y, or Z axis, or constrain with the XY, YZ, or XZ planes. The equal constraint has also been added.
- You can copy and paste sketches in the same sketch or in a different one. Then I can use the 3D transform tool to manipulate its location in the sketch. It uses the familiar triad to translate (along an axis or in a plane) or rotate.
- Lastly, I love the new sketch tool that enables me to sketch directly on a curved face. Awesome!
I certainly encourage you to look at how this environment has improved over the last few releases. You might find a lot more use for 3D sketches and all the “control” it offers.