SolidWorks Tip: Normal to Cylinder?

October 8, 2007 21 Comments »

Here is a little gem of a tip that I just discovered.  (Even after 10 years use I still find little things like this from time to time.)  Select a cylindrical surface in a model.  Invoke the “Normal to” command and the view will instantly be normal to the axis of that cylinder!  This can be useful for models that have holes placed on complex faces or faces that aren’t perpendicular to the axis of the hole.  Maybe I’m one of the last to discover this, but I thought it was pretty handy!

Things have been CRAZY busy lately (yes…that is a GOOD thing).  I’m looking forward to getting some time to post more cool stuff to the Blog in the coming days!

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  • Hung Le

    Sorry, I didn't get it!
    I RMB a cylindrical face but couldn't find any Normal to option.

  • Hung,

    Probably a poor choice of words on my part. Select a cylindrical face then invoke the “Normal To” command via the file menu, toolbar or keyboard shortcut and you will see the behavior I described.

    I originally used the word “select” twice which could be confusing. I have since corrected the description to be more clear. You don't use RMB for this tip at all.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Hung Le

    Sorry, I didn’t get it!
    I RMB a cylindrical face but couldn’t find any Normal to option.

  • Hung,

    Probably a poor choice of words on my part. Select a cylindrical face then invoke the “Normal To” command via the file menu, toolbar or keyboard shortcut and you will see the behavior I described.

    I originally used the word “select” twice which could be confusing. I have since corrected the description to be more clear. You don’t use RMB for this tip at all.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Steve R.

    What I just noticed in SW2008 – if you select the cylindrical face first, this trick doesn't work….the “Normal To” button is grayed out. You have to hit the button, then select the face. In SW2007, it works either way….

    Steve R.

  • Steve R.

    What I just noticed in SW2008 – if you select the cylindrical face first, this trick doesn’t work….the “Normal To” button is grayed out. You have to hit the button, then select the face. In SW2007, it works either way….

    Steve R.

  • Dave Zinn

    This also works with cones (at least in 2007).

  • Dave Zinn

    This also works with cones (at least in 2007).

  • Rod Uding

    Cool tip Ricky! I am going to pass this on to
    our corporate Solidworks sub-forum. It may be used by me one day.

  • Rod Uding

    Cool tip Ricky! I am going to pass this on to
    our corporate Solidworks sub-forum. It may be used by me one day.

  • Steve R. – Great Catch! I haven't switched over to 2008 yet so I missed that one. I will be submitting this behavior as a bug to my VAR next week. Thanks for posting this!

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Dave,

    I'm glad you like it! Stay tuned for more good stuff coming soon!

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Steve R. – Great Catch! I haven’t switched over to 2008 yet so I missed that one. I will be submitting this behavior as a bug to my VAR next week. Thanks for posting this!

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Dave,

    I’m glad you like it! Stay tuned for more good stuff coming soon!

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Shane

    I couldn't get it to work doing what I am doing. I have a cylinder that is hollow and I am trying to create a slot between two holes on different planes. Any suggestions?

  • Shane

    I couldn’t get it to work doing what I am doing. I have a cylinder that is hollow and I am trying to create a slot between two holes on different planes. Any suggestions?

  • I am trying to create a slot between these two holes in this cylinder, on different planes, and a different height vertically. The slot can be the same diameter as the holes or slightly smaller so there is a notch at each end. How would I cut it? Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Screen shot sent via URL paste

  • I am trying to create a slot between these two holes in this cylinder, on different planes, and a different height vertically. The slot can be the same diameter as the holes or slightly smaller so there is a notch at each end. How would I cut it? Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Screen shot sent via URL paste

  • For some reason the screen shot didn't post with your comment. E-mail a link of the screen shot to me using the “E-mail Me” link in the top left corner of my page and I'll have a look at it.

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • For some reason the screen shot didn’t post with your comment. E-mail a link of the screen shot to me using the “E-mail Me” link in the top left corner of my page and I’ll have a look at it.

    Best Regards,

    Ricky Jordan

  • Andrew Troup

    Works for conical faces also… (Didn't work in 2003 on either, we used to be told “ Please select a planar face”)