Model Orientations

Last week a question came up during one of our classes regarding model orientation. The challenge was to orient a model normal to a face but not have the view orientation use default “Y” orientation for that face.

Using the Normal To Command

There’s actually a very simple solution once you know the trick. Simply put, select 2 faces instead of 1 face for the Normal To command! The first face selected will be the face rotated to normal and the second face will define the top of the view orientation.

For example, selecting the face of the model shown and choosing Normal To ends up with the following view orientation:

Model with 'Normal To' button selectedDifferent orientation of the model

We can control the top of the view orientation with Normal To if we select the normal to face first, then CTRL-select a second face to designate the top for the orientation, as seen:

Model with steps provided, CTRL-select for 2nd selection and arrow to 1st SelectionExample angle of modelHere’s another example where we control which side is “up” for our Normal To view:

Model oriented with steps provided showing 1st Selection and CTRL-select 2nd SelectionAnother angle view or orientation view of the model

Neat trick isn’t it? This can be especially valuable when defining Named Views in a model to use in a drawing. I hope you find it useful in your day-to-day SOLIDWORKS routine!