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How to Represent a Knurled Surface in SolidWorks

Posted by Jess Levasseur on August 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM

The question comes up all the time "How can I model a knurled surface in SolidWorks?"Knurl image from Wikipedia

My answer to that is, "You don't want to model a knurled surface."

  When my Jedi Mind Trick fails and they press me on why, I explain that a knurled surface would create thousands of extra faces in their model which would increase file size, bog down their graphical performance, and make the folks at NVIDIA really happy because they have an excuse to market a Graphics Card with a Terabyte of RAM. If you really want to model a knurled surface, and there are reasons to do it, like you are making a plastic part and the mold will be made from your model, it can be done.  Our Advanced part modeling class will teach you the skills needed to model a knurl. (Hint:You'll need to use SWEEPS, and CIRCULAR PATTERNS)

It is however, important to be able to represent a knurl, and that is what we are going to focus on now. Depicting a knurl is a simple process of Defining the Region to be knurled, Apply a Texture to be knurled, and Calling out the Knurl on your detail drawing.  Here are the steps.

  1. Create a sketch on a plane that you can project the region onto your surfaces.  In my case I used a plane along the axis of my cylinder.

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2. Sketch two lines that intersect the edges of the cylinder and dimension them as required to define the region to be knurled.

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3. Choose Insert>Curve>Split Line... Use the Projection option and select your sketch and the face to split.  Now you have a face that you can change the appearance of to represent the knurl. 

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4. Select that face and then the Edit Appearance "Beach Balldescribe the image".  You can select on of the predefined knurl patterns that ship with SolidWorks, or simply select a knurled image.  Note: The SolidWorks knurl appearances are texture maps and require realview graphics to display.

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When it comes to detailing the knurl Your texture from the 3D model will not appear but we don't need it to.  A knurl is commonly depicted with a callout and hatching of the area to be knurled.

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You will find that you cannot attach an area hatch to a cylindrical face however.  Simly sketch a rectangle and attach it to the corners of your knurl region, and hatch the rectangle.  The more I researched this the less convinced I became that the hatching was necessary.  But now you know how to do it. 

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