Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Profile Sketch

Hello everyone, I'm back with another tutorial. This one will be about a powerful sketching tool called profile sketch. This tool can save you a lot of time especially when you are creating a quick draft of your profile. What this feature does is, basically letting you create one line after another to create an outline of your sketch, then you can set constraints later on.

Let's create a new part file like we usually do, by File > New > Part > OK. Alternatively, you can create a part file simply by opening up the workbench through Start > Mechanical Design > Part Design. The Start Menu gives you access to every workbench available. But keep in mind if you already have a file open, selecting workbenches from this menu will not create a new file, but switch the workbench you are using.

After creating the part file enter sketching mode by clicking the sketch button and selecting a plane. To access the profile feature, click the profile button under the profile toolbar. The button looks like this:
After clicking the button, click anywhere on the plane to begin drawing a line. When you click a second time, you will see that the line will be placed between the two points you have selected, and you will immediately begin to draw a new line starting from the last point you have selected. You can continue to draw as much as you want. End at your starting point and create an outline of your profile. You will occasionaly see the blue lines I talked about in the last tutorial. These lines indicate that the line you are drawing will be aligned in someway, you can use them depending on the profile you want to create, and each of them will add a constraint to your sketch.

Not only you can create straight lines, you can also create archs. While drawing a line with the profile sketch feature, click, drag and release the mouse button to start creating an arch. This will place the line you were creating, ending at the point you start dragging, and start creating an arch. The arch will be tangent to the line drawn before. When you click the mouse button a second time, the arch will be created between the two points you have selected. Clicking and dragging simply tells the program that the next thing you will be drawing with the profile sketch feature will be an arch, while only clicking tells the program that it will be a line.

The last thing about this feature is that you don't have to create closed profiles. You can also create open profiles. To end the profile at any step, simple double click and you will exit the profile sketch mode while keeping the sketch as it is. After creating the sketch you can click and drag it to edit it manually or select a particular line or arch and press delete on your keyboard to delete it from your profile. Keep in mind that if you delete a line or an arch in a closed profile, it will turn it into an open profile. In other words the program does not merge the two ends of the deleted part.

By using all the features I mentioned, you can get something like this:

As you can see, three constraints were defined while I was drawing. One is that my starting point is the origin. The other one tells that the first line is vertical. The last one tells that the last line I drew is parallel to my second line. The other two constraints, that the archs are tangent to the lines drawn before them are defined by default in the feature. When I go ahead and give more dimensions, I can get the profile I want with a few clicks, instead of drawing all the components one by one:

That's all for todays tutorial about the profile sketch feature. Feel free to comment and ask any questions. Thanks for reading and see you later!


  1. looks really complicated for a beginner :D

  2. thanks...after half an hour of thinking i now understand it
    i am following

  3. You make this shit seem to easy.

  4. Detailed and thorough... and includes pictures! Quality post.

  5. Looks quite complex to me, but good tutorial.

  6. makes sence to me well kinda :)

  7. Wow, so thorough. Thanks for the update!

  8. This looks neat, I am going to try it someday...

  9. Wow, thanks for all the effort put into your guides. Nice blog, going to follow.