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Drawing lines to make a shape, am I missing something?

Question asked by Matt Finley on May 3, 2017
Latest reply on May 10, 2017 by Matt Finley
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I've been doing CAM for a couple of decades and have used many types of software. One of the basic things you do when designing a part is draw sketches (lines and arcs) to extrude into a shape.


Most software provides an intuitive way to create a series of lines to make a shape. I can't figure it out in Solidworks. When I draw a line I have about a third of a second to type in a number or it grays out and wants to move to the next line. Even when I'm quick enough to get the dimension in, I constantly have to keep going back to the tool bar / menu to change an angle, move a point or start over with a new line.


Mastercam gives you access to the XY and Z locations of each line each time without having to stop data entry to click a different function or fix an automatically entered value. Gibbscam gives you a geometry expert that is basically a spreadsheet that you can type values into. AutoCAD lets you type values into the console.


What am I missing in Solidworks that allows me to create a part shape (that's beyond square or round) without all the stopping and restarting? My poor keyboard is taking an awful pounding in my frustration of hitting the Esc key so many times...


For the current part I'm working on, it is basically rectangular shaped with an angle on one end and about 4 legs or steps to walk around. Honestly, it is quicker for me to log into the Gibbs workstation, create a new part, draw my shape, save it to a DXF, then import it into Solidworks.