SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD, Tech Tips

The Quickest Way to Add Reference Planes

By Stephen Petrock on March 8, 2019

When it comes to modeling in SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, using reference planes is very important. In some ways, reference planes are the building blocks of your models because they’re a key part in creating more complicated shapes. Sometimes, it even takes multiple reference planes to get that one feature just right. In this Video Tech Tip, we share with you what we think are the two most useful ways to quickly add reference planes with offset planes and mid-planes.

An offset plane is one that is added in parallel to an existing face or plane at any distance. It’s not complicated, but it is important, which is why we wanted to share with you how to instantly add an offset plane to your model. This is done by holding the control key and dragging off an existing plane. The trick with this is positioning your mouse. It has to be around the edge of an existing plane. When the crosshairs appear on your mouse you know you’re in the right spot. Then, you can drag away holding the control key to add an offset plane. With this trick, you’re just adding a new plane where you drag and drop it. However, you do have full control over the location by going in and editing the offset distance to get it exactly where you want it.

Next is the mid-plane. The mid-plane is the most useful of the advanced reference planes. It centers a plane between two faces. The trick here is to pre-select the two faces and then hit the reference plane, to instantly add it right in the middle. It’s the quickest way to add a mid-plane.

When speed is of the essence I hope you keep these two tips in mind, so you can quickly add reference planes to your model.

Ready to take your SOLIDWORKS skills to the next level? Sign up for a training course today! 

Browse SOLIDWORKS Training