Uses for SolidWorks Combine Subtract and Common Bodies

SolidWorks Bodies Combine Subtract and Common

Using bodies in SolidWorks is a good way to simplify your modeling by reducing the number of features needed to make a part.  Using Boolean features;  combine subtract and common are excellent methods to create complex parts or work in team on a single part.   One of the most common uses for body features is to connect two separate bodies.  This is typically done when the deign of features of your part are defined but the connection between is still unknown of variable.

Below is an animation of the three principal body cut features.  Combine (add) Subtract and Common.  Using a sphere I have shown the results of each of the features.

Continue reading to learn about the uses of the bodies especially working on a single part with a team!

Uses for these features:

Separation of complex parts into sub parts

When I design complex parts I sometimes break the part into sub parts.  Sub parts are clear splits in the part where I can easily break the part into manageable sections.  Each of the sub parts are then edited individually.  I import one of the parts into the other to form the total part.  (Insert –> Part)

I do this to keep my SolidWorks tree smaller and if I intend to use one of sub parts in more then one model.

Working with a team on a single part

Working on an assembly with two or more people in SolidWorks requires communication, but try working on the same part simultaneously and it is impossible.  When I need to collaborate with others I really on the body features in SolidWorks.  Recently I was working with an industrial designer responsible for the outer shape of a device. I was primarily concerned with the mechanical aspects of the internals.  In order to work together we developed an envelope that he would stay on the out side of and I would stay in.  We then broke the part into two sections which allowed him to work on the surface which was imported into my model.  I then subtracted the surface from my body thus creating his external on my internal features.  It was then simple to work as he changed his model mine would simply update.

Connecting disconnected features in a part

Imagine a connecting rod.  You could place both ends of the rod at their desired location and connect them using a 3 feature using the combine function.

To get to these features you must have at least 2 bodies

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