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How to Scale a Part in SolidWorks?

There are times when we may need to apply a scale to a part. It can either be done to increase or decrease the size of the model. In SolidWorks, scaling is done with help of the Scale feature. You can apply the scale at any point in your workflow but be advised that if you want to change the scale in the future, you may find yourself in the need to rebuild most of the sketches and features created after scaling has been done. But since it doesn’t affect any of the features present in the Feature Tree above the Scale Feature, we recommend using the Scale feature at the very end after you have done completing your part. Scaling can also be done using the Design Table. But, we will leave that method for another time.

Tip: Scaling an assembly directly is not possible as of yet in Solidworks. You can save your assembly as a part file and then apply the scale to it.

1. Go to Insert -> Features -> Scale or select the Scale tool present in the Features Tab.

2. Under Scale Parameters, Select all the combinations of solid or surface bodies either from the graphics area or from the Solid Bodies/ Surface Bodies folder present in the Feature Tree. In Scale about, there are 3 options available:

  • Centroid: The scaling is done according to the center of mass of your solid body/surface.
  • Origin: The scaling will be done according to the origin point of the part file. (Recommended, read on to know why.)
  • Coordinate System: You can select a different coordinate system that you have previously defined to scale your part along.

3. Select Origin and then enter the Scale Value.

A scale value of greater than 1 increases the size and less than 1 decreases the size. The Scale value of 1 does not change the geometry.

3. Click Ok and your part should now be scaled. A Scale feature will appear in the Feature Tree.

The Scale feature scales only the geometry of the model. It does not scale dimensions, sketches, or reference geometry. To temporarily restore the model to its unscaled size, you can rollback (recommended) or suppress the Scale feature.

In Scale About, it is highly recommended to either select the Origin or Coordinate system (if you have an additional Coordinate system) when scaling multiple bodies. Selecting Centroid may have adverse effects if there are multiple bodies selected for scaling and can result in misalignment of the part. Take a look at what happens when Centroid is used instead of Origin in the above example.

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You can see that the model is scaled but the wheels went into each other. It’s because SolidWorks scales each and every Body (either solid or surface) individually based on their individual centroids, hence causing this mess.

Non-Unifrom Scaling

In rare cases, you may need to scale the body differently along every axis. For that, SolidWorks got you covered with its Uniform Scaling Option.

Uncheck the Uniform Scaling option and enter scale values for all the axes individually. Look at the end result when a scaling value of 3 for the X-axis, 0.5 for the Y-axis, and 1 for the Z-axis is selected.

Here is the procedure in the step-by-step format:

To scale a part in SolidWorks, follow these steps:

  1. Open the part file in SolidWorks.
  2. Select the part you want to scale in the graphics area.
  3. Click on the “Scale” tool in the “Features” toolbar, or alternatively go to “Insert” -> “Features” -> “Scale” in the top menu.
  4. In the “Scale” dialog box, choose the reference for scaling. You can choose to scale the part uniformly or in specific directions.
  5. Enter the scaling factor in the “Uniform Scale” or “Non-Uniform Scale” section, depending on the reference you selected in the previous step.
  6. Click “OK” to apply the scaling to the part.
  7. Save the scaled part with a new file name if necessary.

Note: Keep in mind that scaling a part can affect the dimensions, features, and geometry of the part, so it is recommended to double-check the part after scaling to ensure it still meets your design requirements.

In addition to the basic steps of scaling a part in SolidWorks, there are a few more things that you may want to consider:

  1. Scale reference: Make sure that you choose a suitable reference for scaling the part. The reference you choose will determine how the part is scaled, so it’s important to choose the right reference to avoid any unintended distortions.
  2. Scale ratio: Consider the scale ratio carefully, as it will affect the size of the part. If you are working with other parts or assemblies, ensure that the scaled part still fits and works with the other parts.
  3. Feature compatibility: Some features in the part may not be compatible with scaling, such as fillets, chamfers, and patterns. It is recommended to check these features after scaling the part to ensure that they still look and function as intended.
  4. SolidWorks Units: It is important to ensure that the units of measurement in SolidWorks are set correctly before scaling a part. Incorrect units can cause scaling errors and affect the dimensions and features of the part.
  5. Save As: It is a good idea to save the scaled part with a new file name, to avoid overwriting the original part file. This will also make it easier to identify the scaled part if you need to go back and make changes in the future.
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By considering these factors, you can scale a part in SolidWorks accurately and effectively.

Features in SolidWorks That May Not Be Compatible with Scaling

Scaling a part in SolidWorks may affect some features in the part. Some features are not compatible with scaling, and if not handled properly, they can cause issues in the design. Here are some features that you should pay attention to when scaling a part in SolidWorks:

  1. Fillets and Chamfers: Scaling a part with fillets or chamfers may cause the features to appear distorted or exaggerated. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to remove fillets and chamfers before scaling the part, and then reapply them after scaling.
  2. Patterns: Patterns can be affected by scaling, especially if they are not symmetric. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to create a new pattern after scaling the part.
  3. Holes and Cutouts: Scaling a part with holes or cutouts can cause the features to become larger or smaller, which can affect the fit of other parts or assemblies. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to adjust the size of the holes and cutouts manually after scaling.
  4. Dimensions: Scaling a part can affect the dimensions of the part, which can cause issues in manufacturing or assembly. To avoid this issue, it is recommended to check the dimensions of the scaled part and make any necessary adjustments.
  5. Assemblies: Scaling a part in an assembly can cause issues with the fit and alignment of other parts. It is recommended to scale all the parts in the assembly together to maintain the correct fit and alignment.
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In conclusion, some features in SolidWorks may not be compatible with scaling, but with careful consideration and planning, you can still achieve accurate and effective scaling of your parts. It is recommended to test the part thoroughly after scaling to ensure that all the features are working properly and meeting your design requirements.

Steps for Ensuring Features Look and Function Properly After Scaling

  1. Check the dimensions: Scaling a part can change the dimensions, which may affect the fit and function of other parts in an assembly. After scaling the part, check the dimensions of critical features and compare them with the original part to ensure they are within acceptable tolerances.
  2. Verify the feature geometry: After scaling, the geometry of features like fillets, chamfers, and patterns may appear distorted or exaggerated. Check the feature geometry in the scaled part to ensure it matches the original part. If there are any issues, adjust the feature geometry manually.
  3. Evaluate the part appearance: Scaling a part can affect its appearance, making it look stretched or compressed. Evaluate the part appearance in the graphics area and compare it with the original part to ensure it looks correct.
  4. Check the part functionality: Test the part functionality after scaling to ensure that it still functions as intended. If the part is part of an assembly, check the fit and function of the assembly to ensure the scaled part still fits and functions properly.
  5. Make any necessary adjustments: If there are any issues with the part dimensions, feature geometry, appearance, or functionality, make any necessary adjustments to the scaled part until it meets the design requirements.

By following these steps, you can ensure that the features of your part look and function properly after scaling. It’s important to test the part thoroughly and make any necessary adjustments to avoid any issues down the line during manufacturing or assembly.