How to Represent a Knurled Surface in SOLIDWORKS

By Jess Levasseur on September 7, 2018

The question comes up all the time, "How can I model a knurled surface in SOLIDWORKS?"

Knurled Surface in SOLIDWORKS

My answer to that is always, "You don't want to."

When my Jedi mind trick fails and they press me on why, I explain that a knurled surface would create thousands of extra faces in their model. This would in turn increase file size, bog down their graphical performance and, with many of these huge files, eventually slow down their computer speed. However, there are reasons to want to model a knurled surface, such as making a plastic part and the mold will be made from the model. If you really want to do it, it can be done. Our SOLIDWORKS Advanced Part Modeling training class will teach you the skills needed to model a knurl (hint: You'll need to know how to use sweeps and circular patterns).

>> Download our infographic, SOLIDWORKS Sweeps and Threads

It is, however, important to be able to represent a knurl, and that is what we are going to focus on now. Depicting a knurl is a simple process of defining the region, applying a texture and calling out the knurl on your detail drawing. Here are the four steps:

1. Create a sketch on a plane where you are able to project the region onto your surfaces

In my case, I used a plane along the axis of my cylinder.Creating a sketch on a plane

2. Sketch two lines that intersect the edges of the cylinder

Then dimension them as required to define the knurled region.

Sketch and dimension two lines along the knurled region

3. Choose Insert > Curve > Split Line

Use the Projection option and select your sketch and the face to split. Now you have a face that you can change the appearance of to represent the knurl. 

This gives you a defined area that will represent the knurl

4. Select that face and then the Edit Appearance "Beach Balldescribe the image"

You can select one of the predefined knurl patterns within SOLIDWORKS or simply select a knurled image. Note: The SOLIDWORKS knurl appearances are texture maps and require real view graphics to display.

Knurled surface in SOLIDWORKS

When it comes to detailing the knurl, your texture from the 3D model will not appear but it doesn't need to. It is commonly depicted with a call-out and hatching of the area.

3D model with knurled detail

You will find that you cannot attach an area hatch to a cylindrical face, however. Instead, just sketch a rectangle and attach it to the corners of your knurl region, and then hatch the rectangle. The more I researched this the less convinced I became that the hatching was necessary. But now you know how to do it. 

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