Sketch Auto-Scale - What's New in SolidWorks 2014

One big difference between a seasoned SolidWorks user and an entry-level CAD nerd is that the former can get in and out of sketches a lot faster (in fact, that is pretty much the hardest part of the CSWA test). Whether you realize it or not, as you get more and more time sketching you “learn” how hard you can push the sketcher without having it blow up in your face. The seasoned SolidWorks user employs a highly valued tip-toe act where they carefully sketch things at approximately the proper size and then choose wisely what dimensions are going to get placed first. Otherwise this ...

Sketch Auto-Scale - Initial Sketch

Sketch Auto-Scale - Arrow


becomes this:

Sketch Auto-Scale - Before Auto-Scale

If that hasn’t happened to you then either you have never actually used SolidWorks and are doing just fine pretending, or you are a true CAD jock, too cool for school and naturally inclined to somehow make the most daunting tasks look simple. However, in SolidWorks 2014 the developers at Dassault Systèmes included a very welcome enhancement for the rest of us: the Sketch Auto-Scale functionality. New users are going to love it; seasoned users are going to hide it from their bosses because the new guys will be sketching like pros in no time.

Here is how it works: When you add the first dimension to any sketch before the first feature, SolidWorks automatically resizes all entities in that sketchin order to maintain the proper proportions. Furthermore, your zoom and view perspective remains unchanged so it looks like nothing happens. I would include a screenshot but you would be hard pressed to find a difference between the sketch before and after a dimension is placed (other than the fact that there is a dimension there).

This sketch auto-scale functionality is a huge game changer because now, in your first sketch all you have to worry about is getting your sketch entities proportioned about right relative to each other, no more paying attention to your zoom perspective and the actual size of those entities. This makes sketching faster and more efficient while requiring less user interaction, this is most definitely my favorite enhancement in SolidWorks 2014.

>> Check out this video from SolidWorks Product Manager Todd Domke about another useful function - the Sketch Picture Scale Tool, which makes it easy for users to properly scale the size and position of images inserted into a sketch.

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