Apply fillets to a model – SOLIDWORKS basic surface design tutorials
Welcome back. Picking up where I left off with SOLIDWORKS basic surface design training, and in this article we’ll apply fillets to the model we created some time ago. The surface fillet, in its different types (variable radius, constant, face, full round etc) is a great and easy way to polish up a model very quickly. Modern designs use a lot of “fillets”–you don’t see many sharp angles anymore on any products, whether it is telephones or cars and trucks.
Here’s the model; we’d just finished generating our surface and solid bodies:
Now let’s apply some fillets, and you’ll see just how much better it can look after about a minute of filleting. We’re on the Surfaces tab; activate the Fillet command with a left click.
From the property manager, stay on the Manual tab. We’ll use a Constant Size fillet, so select that radio button from the Fillet Type section. First, I’ll set my radius value in the Fillet Parameters section; I’ll use 15mm. In the Items to Fillet section I’ll check Tangent Propagation, and select the Full Preview radio button so that I can see how things look in preview whilst making my selections of edges in the graphic area. The 8 edges I selected are shown in blue line, and the fillet preview in yellow:
Let’s click accept (the green checkmark at the top of the fillet property manager) and take a look at our work. Our first fillet is shown below; not bad!
Time to reactivate the fillet command and work on our second fillet. Still a constant size radius, with full preview and tangent propagation enabled. Fillet radius this time will be smaller, 5mm. Select the outer edge, and the fillet propagates the entire way round our solid:
Let’s accept that fillet; here’s what it looks like. Again, in just a few seconds we’ve made a significant cosmetic improvement to this model.
Again, reactivate the fillet command, and rotate your model over so you can select edges on the back. Constant size fillet type, with tangent propagation and full preview options enabled. Our radius will be larger this time: 30mm.
Accept your third fillet, and here is what it looks like (below). Now, reactivate the fillet command for our fourth fillet.
We’re still working with a constant size radius, and I’m going to select the bottom outer edge this time. But, look at the dotted line in the graphic area that appears instead of the usual yellow-line fillet preview. This is our signal that there is a problem; SOLIDWORKS won’t be able to calculate the fillet with the specs I’ve got below. What do you think the problem is?
You guessed it; we still hadn’t updated the radius value for this fillet from the previous fillet. 30mm is just way too big for this fillet; there is not enough area to create a fillet of such a large radius. When you reopen the fillet command, it stores the values you’d inputted from your previous fillet, and 30mm was in the Fillet Parameters section for the radius. As soon as I enter an appropriate value–in my case, 5mm, SOLIDWORKS is able to show me the preview of the fillet in usual yellow line.
And here is our updated model, with filleted edges. With just four simple fillets, we have significantly improved the appearance of our model. So, keep this in mind when you’re a beginner; you don’t need to be an expert to make something look good. Often it’s the little things that make a big difference where cosmetic features are concerned. By cosmetic, I’m not talking about lipstick; I’m referred to features that are not structural (ie, geometrically necessary for your part to function).
I hope you enjoyed this short article. For many more video tutorials, please visit our youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/videotutorials2