Solidworks drawing centerline

Solidworks drawing centerline DEFAULT

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In AutoCAD there was such a thing as a Construction Line. In a sketch that is in a SolidWorks part file, a sketch entity (lines and circles are the most common ones) with a centerline linetype are always considered construction geometry. So you may see or hear some reference to a centerline as a construction line, or as construction geometry.

From the SolidWorks help file:
“You can convert sketch entities in a sketch or drawing to construction geometry. Construction geometry is used only to assist in creating the sketch entities and geometry that are ultimately incorporated into the part. Construction geometry is ignored when the sketch is used to create a feature. Construction geometry uses the same line style as centerlines.”

When you want a new construction line to use as construction geometry, it can be drawn as a construction line right off the bat because there is a separate command for a construction line. That command is simply called Centerline.

When you want a new piece of construction geometry that is a circle (this is not nearly as common as wanting a new construction line), this is not quite as simple as drawing a new construction line because there is no separate command for drawing a construction circle as there is for drawing a construction line. The new circle needs to be drawn on the screen first and then there is a check box in the property manager to change the circle to construction geometry.

If you have regular lines or circles (or other sketch entities) that you wish to turn into construction geometry, you can select the entity with a normal left click (or select multiple entities by holding the Shift or Ctrl keys as you select) and then on the shortcut menu that pops up you can select the icon to change to construction geometry. But it is quicker in the case of lines and circles to just draw this geometry right off the bat as construction geometry.

  • It is common to draw straight construction lines right off the bat as opposed to drawing a line first and then checking the “For construction” option in the property manager.
  • It is common to be working in a new sketch and convert entities from another sketch into the current sketch. (This produces an on-edge relation.) These newly converted entities could be “regular” geometry or if you wish they could also be converted into construction geometry.
  • It is common to be working in a new sketch and convert an edge or edges from a solid body edge (including tangent edges in the case of dimensioning a form punch for example) into the current sketch. (This also produces an on-edge relation.)

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SolidWorks: Centerlines in Drawing Views

SolidWorks: Centerlines in Drawing Views

SolidWorks Guy(Mechanical)


I may be in the minority on this. But I have been using construction lines as center lines in SolidWorks drawings for over 20 years now. Why have I not been using the annotation type center lines? Because of 2 reasons. First, as you may (or may not) know. Annotations in drawing views, attach themselves to a feature (face, edge, etc.). And second, you can not add relations to an annotation. Why would I do this? Because I don't know how many times I have had "dangling" relations to the annotation. And I have had to redo dimensions because the dimension that is attached to the dangled relation will not update if the part changes. Very different than a construction line can and will keep it's relation. Because it is not attached to a feature.
God forbid if you replace any features on a part. All those dimensions are now dangling. This is the reason why.

Here is an example of how I do this. If I need to add a center line to a hole. I will goto the left side and show the sketch that actually creates that hole (or the sktches center point of the Hole Wizard) and add a construction line that crosses the hole(s). Then add a midpoint relation to these construction lines. Then I add a perpendicular relation to the lines. And finally add a relation to one of those construction lines.

I know now a days you can reattach a dimension back to the annotation. That is if the annotation stays. If the annotation is removed because the feature was removed. All those dimensions are now hidden or removed all together. Why would anyone really want to make more work for you and others?

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How to create Angular Center Marks in SOLIDWORKS Drawings?

Center marks are annotations that mark circle or arc centers and describe the geometry size on the drawing.

With the Center Mark tool, we can create a center mark or a center point on circular edges. The center mark lines can also be used as references for dimensions.

Center marks can be shown in three various styles such as:

  1. Single center marks (Regular) – angular center marks
  2. Linear Center marks
  3. Circular Center mark

Angular Center marks:

Angular center marks can be used as long as we are working with the linear center marks. Here is how we can use them:

  • Go to Annotation Tab on Command Manager
  • Click on Center Mark
  • This opens the Center Mark property Manager
  • Make sure the Linear Center mark icon is selected under Manual Insert options section.
  • Now scroll to the bottom of Center mark property manager and type in the value for the angle you want for center mark > hit enter
  • Click on the circular edges to add center marks.
SOLIDWORKS Angular Center Marks

45° Angular and Single Center mark

Note: To show angular and single (regular) center marks on same view , you will have to use center mark tool twice separately for both types. All 4 center- marks can’t be placed right away by using center mark tool once.

Learn more about Drawings

To learn more about SOLIDWORKS Drawings attend our SOLIDWORKS Drawings training course either in a classroom near you or live online.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Centerline Dimensions in SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS – Using Sketches for Drawing Centerlines

Centerlines in your SOLIDWORKS Drawing have always been easy to add in, and that’s fine if you are done with your part, but what if it changes? Sometimes the centerlines are fine, other times you must rebuild them. With this trick, I’m going to show you how you can add the centerlines using your model’s sketch. That way if things change, your drawing will update.

Here’s my simple part with the sketch turned on:

Now, here’s my drawing:

What I have to change is in the Drawing Document Properties -> Line Font -> select the sketch curves and change it from a Solid to the Center line



Now when we go back to our drawing, the sketch is now displaying as our centerline font style. Don’t worry, you can still dimension to it just like a placed in centerline.

The cool part is that when I change, or add to this sketch, my centerlines will be automatically added.

If you have lots of construction geometry, you can make a new sketch and convert specific geometry. I renamed my sketch so I would remember what it’s controlling in my part.

Craig Maurer
Applications Engineer
Computer Aided Technology


Drawing centerline solidworks


SolidWorks 2014 Essential Training # 3 The Line and Centerline tools


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