SOLIDWORKS Sketching Tips: Construction Lines

Construct a Better Design

Construction lines have always been part of engineering drawings. But in a program like SOLIDWORKS they do more than simply show information – they are also a powerful design tool. We wanted to share with you some of our favorite ways to make construction lines so that you can get even more efficient using SOLIDWORKS.

1. Line Options

Vertical Construction Lines of Infinite Length

If your design requires a vertical (or horizontal) alignment I love to start a sketch with an infinite construction line. This will not affect the lines being used to create a feature and it can be a great foundation for a great design. Honestly, I don’t know what the application is of an infinite line that’s NOT a construction line, so this is probably what the programmers had in mind when they first put this into SOLIDWORKS. You can use this checkbox whenever you are creating new lines or use the context menu next to the line tool to select a centerline from the dropdown.

2. Centered Rectangles

Centered Rectangles Automatically Create Construction Lines

Another thing that you have probably seen is creating a centered rectangle. This will automatically create diagonal centerlines that bisect one another. On a practical note, you could measure these lines and use that information to square up the design for manufacturing. However, these lines not only are useful for selections and measurements, but they also communicate to the user that this is a centered rectangle by design.

3. Trimming

Trimming Lines Converts into Construction Lines

Construction lines can be created by the trimming tool with this option selected (also the Ignore Trimming Construction Lines can be super helpful, too, as a side option). This means any standard line or arc that is trimmed will automatically become a construction line. If you have dimensions applied to this line or other relationships that points or lines are depending on this will avoid having an error message pop up about missing references. I always keep this setting on now and it allows me to recover any lines that I might need again later.

4. Converting Lines to and from Construction Lines

Right Click Menu Convert to Construction Lines

The right click menu has a little-known button that allows you to switch directly between standard lines and construction lines and back again. This button is also a tool that can be found in the command search as well, but the right click menu is easier. This powerful tool allows you to save the step of retracing your construction lines with standard lines.

Construction Lines turned into Solid Lines

What Will You Construct?

These Sketching Tips are fast and easy ways to take advantage of the powerful tool of construction lines. They allow you to design like a true SOLIDWORKS pro, and most of these options have been right under your nose for years and you just never saw them before. That’s why we here at DesignPoint wanted to put together this helpful list so you could level-up with your design skills, specifically using Construction Lines. Thanks so much and check back for more helpful tips on the DesignPoint Resource library. Remember: DesignPoint is where More is Possible®.