Revolved Cut: Creating Revolved Features in Solidworks

  • Revolved Bosses and Cuts are one of the most fundamental features of Solidworks.
  • Along with Extrudes they can used to create a huge variety of models.

In this step-by-step tutorial with screenshots, we will explain how to use Revolved Cut in SolidWorks. You will also find out what makes Revolved features different, and how to make them. Revolves and Extrudes in SolidWorks are similar in that they both use a sketched profile to make a shape or cut.

However, whilst simple bosses extrude this profile along a straight path, Revolves features work in a completely different way – by revolving, or spinning a profile around a centreline. This allows the user to create shapes that are completely different to Extrudes, and which would be much harder to create with Extrudes alone.

Creating Revolved Features in Solidworks

Revolve cut step-by-step

  1. Figure out your Axis of Revolution

All Revolve features involve spinning a profile around a fixed point – the Axis of Revolution. This Axis can be a sketch line, an existing edge or a previously created axis feature.

Often it makes sense to use a Construction Line, as this line will be ignored when revolving the actual profile. If using this method then start a Sketch and draw a Construction Line.

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

  1. Sketch your Revolve profile

Continuing in the same Sketch, draw the profile that you want to revolve.

Closed profiles with no overlapping lines work best, although these rules can be broken if needed (see below). It is also important that your profile doesn’t cross the axis of revolution construction line; Revolve features can be created with profiles on both sides of the centreline, as long as they don’t actually cross it!

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

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  1. Select the Revolved Boss/Base feature and set the parameters

By default the profiles will be fully Revolved through 360° in one direction, but this can be adjusted (see below).

  1. Revolved Cuts follow the same process, except they cut away material instead of adding it.

Troubleshooting Problems

Revolve features can sometimes throw up error messages that seem slightly cryptic at first glance. The most of common of these states, “Sketch is open, self intersecting, or intersects the centreline”

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

This error actually contains three smaller issues, each of which might be a problem.

  1. Sketch is open…

    This simply means that the Sketch isn’t a fully closed profile. It might have a small gap or break in the outer profile so check that your profile is made from a set of unbroken lines (you can also right-click and use the ‘Select Chain’ option to pinpoint any small gaps).

  2. The Sketch is self intersecting…

    All this really means that the sketch has lines that that overlap each other. These may be lines directly crossing over each other, or perhaps the same line drawn twice – two identical lines in the same place.

  3. The Sketch intersects the centreline…

    As mentioned earlier, profile sketches can’t cross the centreline. It is possible to use multiple profiles, each on opposite sides of the centreline, as long as the profiles don’t actually cross the centreline.

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Profiles can be on both sides of the centreline… (above)

…but they can’t cross over it (bottom profile, below)

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

More Advanced SolidWorks Revolve Options

As well as following the basic Revolve process above it is also possible to break a few of the general rules by using more advanced Revolves.

Firstly, ‘Thin Feature’ revolves allow open profiles to be used to create Revolved features. This option is available in the Revolve feature options.

In a similar way, the ‘Selected Contours’ option allows users to select certain areas of a profile to revolve, allowing the use of intersecting contours.

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

Revolves are not limited to a single direction or a full revolution. Users can set the angle of revolution in the feature options, and it’s also possible to Revolve in two directions independently, and even to Revolve using end conditions like Up to Surface and Mid Plane.

creating-revolved-features-solidworks

Revolved Feature Top Tips

Revolves really are one of the workhorses of Solidworks modelling and are a feature that most users will use frequently. Follow these top tips for hassle-free modelling.

  • Select an Axis of Revolution. This could be a centreline, existing edge, or an axis feature.
  • Sketch the Revolve profile. Closed profiles with no overlapping lines work best, although these rules can be bent.
  • Try checking out the Thin Feature and Selected Contours options for more flexibility in modelling.
  • Revolve features can be made using any angle, and a variety of End Conditions.

Happy modelling and rendering!

Also read:


About the Author: This is a guest post by Johno Ellison, a design engineer with over fifteen years or experience, who specializes in SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling. Johno is the author of the following online SolidWorks courses:
Master Solidworks 2019 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2018 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2015 – 3D CAD using real-world examples

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