Over the past year, the Move Face tool has become one of my favorite tools in SolidWorks. It was originally introduced as a tool that helps users make modifications to imported bodies (parts with NO feature tree). The feature works so well, I have found myself using it on SolidWorks native models.
The Move Face tool can be found under Insert->Face->Move in the File menu. The feature requires no pre-selects, but of course like most features in SolidWorks, they can be used. The Move Face feature has three options: Offset, Translate, & Rotate.
The Offset option allows you to create a new face by offsetting the selected face(s) a specified distance. Like all Move Face options, you select one or more faces to move and SolidWorks restructures non-selected faces of the model to accommodate.
The Translate option allows you move the selected face(s) linearly based on a specified distance and direction reference. Any plane, planar face, linear edge, or reference axis can be used as the direction reference.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that I have been using this feature on native SolidWorks models. In most cases I recommend building the feature correctly in its initial construction rather than “tweaking” it with the Move Face tool down the feature tree. Rather than leaving you to wonder, I thought I would explain one such instance where the Move Face tool worked really well on a native SolidWorks part.
Recently, I was working on a two piece plastic case design. The surfacing required was pretty complex. Side “A” was to be a mirror image of Side “B”. Naturally, you only wanted to have to create that complex geometry once, so a mirror body was a natural choice. Although the outside surfaces of Side “A” and Side “B” are mirror images, the inside surfaces had to be different. I needed both sides to be parametrically linked, so at a certain point in the feature tree, the first side constructed was mirrored to produce a second solid body. The second solid body needed some “tweaks” in a few spots for inner wall heights and positions. Move Face worked PERFECTLY for this! It processed fast and I saw no problems with it when features around it were changed.
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I hope this has provided a little more insight to an impressive, yet little known tool inside SolidWorks. Stay tuned…..more to come!