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Extrusion and Vertex Manipulation

Question asked by Dan Piraner on Apr 18, 2014
Latest reply on May 5, 2014 by Jerry Steiger



I am trying to construct a device to hold a certain object with a very complicated topology. To do so, I have set photographs of the object (with known dimensions) as backgroud images and am trying to model from them. I plan to make a 3D representation of the object, and then use that model to make my device. However, I'm having a great deal of trouble with basic functions such as extrusion and vertex manipulation. To get rid of complexities and boil down to the essence of my questions, I have a very simple example in which I make a "house":


1. I first sketch a simple rectangle. To reflect my modeling strategy, I put a mirror relation across the vertical plane (which I would like to maintain through throughout my modeling - right now I set my sketch to mirror across a drawing line colinear with the YZ plane so it reflects across the line rather than a plane... this is a problem I'll need to deal with later). In any case, I drew a rectangle using lines:




After drawing this image, I am able to manipulate the vertices by clicking and dragging, and symmetry is maintained:




I select the chain and use Boss Extrude to create the rectangular prism:




I want to build off this prism and SolidWorks won't let me extrude directly (if I select a face and try Boss Extrude, it takes me to sketch mode). I therefore go to Sketch -> Convert Entities to turn the front face into a sketch. Now I can no longer click and drag the vertices. This is already a problem. I'll pretend that I could manipulate that face as needed and extrude again:




Unfortunately, I've now lost my original vertices and can't do the mesh manipulation that I need.


As a comparison, here is what I would do quite easily in Blender. In a matter of seconds I can get a plane that's permanently mirrored across a central plane:




I then extrude:




And then extrude again, which keeps the original extrusion vertices intact:




Finally, after extrusion I still retain full ability to manipulate any vertex that I like, so I can pinch the new extrusion vertices in to create the roof of my simple house:




Is there any way to recapitulate the above functionality in solidworks? I could possibly just try to create my complex model in Blender and then import it into SolidWorks but from what I understand the import process is complicated and I wouldn't be able to manipulate the mesh after importing. Furthermore, SolidWorks' precise control and recording of dimensions is desirable because the dimensions of my device need to be within pretty close tolerances relative to the dimensions of the model that I'm trying to sculpt. I'd appreciate any advise on how to sculpt in SolidWorks.