Silhouette Entities What’s New SOLIDWORKS 2020

Article by Shaun Johnson on Nov 19, 2019

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what's new in solidworks cad 2020

If only I could have had access to Silhouette Entities at the beginning of my SOLIDWORKS career.  With Silhouette Entities, the job I mention below would have taken a fraction of the time. 

My introduction to SOLIDWORKS – and CAD in general – was a temporary gig creating very basic models.  These were models of a semiconductor manufacturer’s machinery.  They were for use in a facility planning project. Even if the equipment models existed from the OEM’s website, they wouldn’t have been usable just from a resource impact perspective.

SOLIDWORKS 2020 new features

I didn’t need every bolt and wire in the machine.  I just needed to know how much space it needed and where the keep out zones were. The process was tedious and took several months.

  • suiting up in special clean-room attire
  • measuring with tape measure
  • jotting down notes on special paper
  • taking my notes back to the office for modeling

What are ‘Silhouette Entities’?

This tool in SOLIDWORKS 2020 allows you to create multiple sketch entities.  You do this by projecting the outline of the bodies in a part or components in an assembly onto a parallel sketch plane. In this example, I’ve started a sketch on the front plane of a new part inserted into the assembly.  I started the tool then selected a pair of parts from the main enclosure assembly. The Silhouette Entities tool quickly creates a contour.  It does this by using the extents of the selected parts as projected normal to the sketching plane.

A simple extrude with Up to Surface end condition in both directions creates the main enclosure body.  With just a couple more iterations of the command, a very accurate – PARAMETRIC – and lightweight footprint of the equipment is created and is ready to be dropped into my planning project.

silhouette entities in solidworks 2020

Interested in learning more about what’s new in SOLIDWORKS 2020, check out our collection of videos here.

What’s your favorite enhancement? Do you have any questions or comments for us? Please be sure to fill out the form below.

About Shaun Johnson

Shaun has been using and supporting SOLIDWORKS since 2000. After spending five years in a support role, he went on to develop products and solutions in industries ranging from consumer electronics to military aviation ground support equipment. Once again in a support role, Shaun enjoys leveraging this experience to help others realize their designs and transform pixels into parts. Whenever he can, Shaun fires up his coal forge and takes a more ‘hands on’ approach to creating parts from raw steel.

View all posts by Shaun Johnson


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