SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

How to Make a 3D Snowflake in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD

By Devin Martin on December 17, 2020

So, you want to get better with SOLIDWORKS? There’s no better way than getting hands-on time with the tool. In this week’s video tech tip, we share with you an example of creating a part that leverages many time savings tools and techniques you need to know if you want to elevate your SOLIDWORKS designs. Since we are heading into winter, we'll use a snowflake for example. Check out this week’s Video Tech tip on creating a 3D snowflake in SOLIDWORKS.

As you follow along to the video, notice there are a variety of commands that are used to quickly create this model. It’s important to practice using these different tools if you want to elevate your modeling and become a true SOLIDWORKS power user.

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We start with a thin extrusion, which creates a solid extrusion from a simple sketch profile – no closed contour required! This makes creating geometry super quick. If you don’t have a closed contour, this option will be the default when you go to turn your sketch into an extrusion.

When creating this geometry, the mirror command is used frequently. This creates a reflection of geometry about an entity. In SOLIDWORKS there are two different mirror commands, one for sketches and one for features. The Mirror feature mirrors geometry about a face or plane while the Sketch Mirror reflects geometry about a sketch line.

Dynamic Mirror is like a Sketch Mirror, but on steroids. It establishes a sketch line as a mirror that keeps on mirroring. This is different than the regular Mirror tool which mirrors only once and done. The Dynamic Mirror will mirror anything you sketch until it’s turned off. This is great to use if you know you’ll be sketching a lot! Consider using this instead of the Sketch Mirror.

A snowflake is famous for its patterns, so we use a circular pattern feature to create copies of the geometry. This saves a lot of time by creating the geometry once and then copying it many, many times.

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If you want to be a SOLIDWORKS power user, you’ll need to know all of these tools. How many did you know? Did you know about Dynamic Mirror? To see all of these tools in action, check out the video tech tip where you can follow along and even 3D print your own snowflake.

Want to really master the ins and outs of SOLIDWORKS? Browse our SOLIDWORKS  training classes!

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