SOLIDWORKS has several features that are useful for producing smooth and organic shapes. The Loft feature is one of them. We’ll take a deep look at the loft choices and how to utilize them to govern the behavior of a loft feature. The loft function in SolidWorks is a useful tool for (surface) modeling. The loft feature creates a shape by combining many profiles and guiding curves. This tool is quite useful for modeling complex surfaces. You can do some great things with this functionality if you use it appropriately.
A Loft feature can be used for the base, boss, cut, or surface operations. In this article, we will mainly focus on the loft base/ boss feature. The picture shown below shows the location of this feature on the command manager.
*The lofted cut is also visible in the above picture.
To access the surface operation we need to follow the following steps:
- Go to the insert button.
- Click on the surface, a drop-down will open.
- In the drop we can find a loft surface option.
How to use the loft base/boss feature?
The loft feature requires two or more sketch profiles. A single 3D sketch can contain all sketch entities, including guiding curves and profiles. Several methods are used for creating the loft base/boss feature in SolidWorks. First, we shall explain the steps used in the case of the 2D sketch, loft feature.
Steps followed to create a loft feature are as follows: ( Using profile method)
- After creating two profiles in different planes exit the sketch and then click on loft boss/base feature in command manager.
- Now choose the profile option
- Now choose the sketch profile, shown in the picture below. (Note that here both sketch is made using two planes)
- To align the profile we can use the green dots.
- After alignment of the green dots according to the desired shape, check for intersection in the part.
- If there is no intersection then click ok to exit the loft feature.
Using Guided Curve method:
We work with a 3D sketch while using the guided curve loft feature. In the case of a non-planar profile, we prefer using a guided curve. We shall be using a guided curve in the above example.
In the above picture, we have two curves number 1 and number 2 made in a single 3D sketch. In the picture below we have used the 1st guided curve and in the second picture, we have used the 2nd curve.
Steps to use guided curve are as follows:
- Make sketches in different planes, followed by making a 3D sketch.
- The 3D sketch should consist of the guided curve.
- Click on the loft feature.
- Click on the profile button
- Select the start and end profile.
- Now choose the guided curve.
- Click on the curve and choose the open-loop option while choosing the curve.
- Check the preview for the intersection.
- If there are no intersections click ok.
In the above picture (a) is a loft with a guided curve whereas (b) is a loft based on the profile.