SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

How to Create Offset on Surface in a 3D Sketch and Measure with Geodesic Entities in SOLIDWORKS

By TriMech on May 13, 2022

When working with surfaces, it can be a challenge trying to recreate complex geometry. In this article, We will walk through the steps to create an Offset on a Surface in a 3D sketch and measure with the Geodesic Entities tool in SOLIDWORKS.

Below you can see the surface that we created. We are trying to create an offset from these surfaces, but since these surfaces are going in all three directions, we will need to create a 3D sketch.surface

Offset on Surface Tool 

We will start by creating a new 3D sketch using the Offset on Surface tool. The tool offsets surface boundary edges and creates a 3D sketch on a surface model. It is available in the command manager tab. We can select edges, or faces, and in this case we will select the orange face on this surface as shown below. In this example, we will adjust the parameters to three millimeters. By doing this, it is offsetting the perimeter of the surface, which is something that would have been more complicated to do without this tool.

offset on surface toolTrim Tool 

Now that we have done this, we can use it for any kind of command. For example, if we wanted to trim part of the surface, we can select the Surfaces tab and click on Trim Surfaces. The Trim tool was introduced in 2017, and it can create specific geometry with relative ease. Before this tool was introduced, this would have been much more complicated.Trim surface tool

Offset Types

In the Offset on Surface command, there was a change made in 2019 where you can specify how you want that offset to be measured. Since these offsets are happening along a curve being created by the surface, they added the option for the offset distance to be calculated taking the curvature of the surface into account. This is called Geodesic Entities. Previously, there was only a linear measurement option. Geodesic entitiesNow we will do another 3D sketch using the Offset on Surface tool again. We will pick another edge and change the parameters to thirty millimeters. As mentioned previously, there are now two Offset Type options to measure the distance:

  • Geodesic – measure the distance along the curve of the surface
  • Euclidean – a linear measurement from your selected entity to where it is offsetting from
    Offset typesThis additional option gives us more control on the offsets, the design you are trying to achieve and how it is measured.

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