QUICK TIP: Sketch Gems, Part 3

Bryce Heventhal April 25, 2017 3 min read

Sketch Gems, Part 3

I would estimate that I spend about half of my time in a sketch while designing. So, every sketch tip I can get my hands on will be crucial for my Fusion 360 toolkit. Here is some good news: there are 3 sketch tips in this Quick Tip. Here are the following tips covered in this Quick Tip:

  1. Stop Automatic Constraints (CNTL/CMD)
  2. Select Midpoint (SHIFT)
  3. Constraint Visibility

Stop Automatic Constraints (CNTL/CMD)

Making automatic constraints will save you tons of time while sketching in Fusion 360. Automatic Constraints ensure that you’ll lock onto edges, lines or vertices with a coincident constraint. This behavior saves substantial amounts of time from having to make these common constraints manually. But, what happens when you don’t want this behavior? While sketching, I am drawing lines, arcs, and splines like a mad man. I am trying to get done with my sketch as quick as possible to move on to creating 3D geometry. Unfortunately, my quick pace overlooks some of these unwanted sketch constraints. Using CMD on MAC or CNTL on Windows, Fusion 360 will ignore any automatic sketch constraints. I use these hotkeys more frequently the further I am in my design. The further down in my design the more geometry there is to accidentally make a coincident constraint while sketching.


Select Midpoint (SHIFT)

This is the tip to learn to become a SKETCHING MASTER in Fusion 360. Make sure to find your SHIFT key on your keyboard because you’ll be using this button a lot now. This magic key works for selecting the midpoint while making constraints and dimensions. I’ll use this trick mostly to make constraints to the midpoints of lines. Watch the video to see how I align sketch geometry symmetric about a point with a horizontal constraint to a midpoint of a line. In addition, the shift key can lock onto midpoints of lines while making dimensions. Why would you want to do that? Well, Design Intent. There are times where the design requirement is to measure a piece of geometry off the center of a pocket. Instead of doing tricky math equations, use the shift key to make the dimension to the midpoint of the line. Finally, the Shift trick doesn’t only work for lines. Step up your sketching skillz and use it on arcs as well.


Constraint Visibility

Our last tip in this video, helps with the appearance of sketches. Now, I don’t use this tip all the time, but sometimes my complex sketches become messier than my room in high school. I am that guy who tries to drive my entire design with one layout sketch. Unfortunately, this technique leads to constraints and dimensions littering the screen. In this case, I will turn off the visibility of sketch constraints. Luckily, this option doesn’t turn them off completely. When you select a sketch entity, the constraints related to that sketch item will highlight. Even better, the corresponding sketch entity will be highlighted when you hover over the sketch constraint.


Now see these tips in action by watching this video:



Make sure to check out the other Sketch Gem Quick Tips:


Part 1: https://youtu.be/PifasCPjE2A
Part 2: https://youtu.be/owCqa8FA-jo

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