When one thinks of slot, generally the obround shape comes into mind. I have seen various posts where a user has asked about making a slot or obround cut. There can be several ways to create a slot and one may adopt the method which he/she finds easy and quick to use. In this chapter let’s discuss about various ways of making a slot.
1. Line –Arc Method: Start a new sketch and start a vertical or horizontal line as desired. You can choose the line command from the sketch toolbar or press L (a keyboard shortcut for line command, for more keyboard shortcuts and customization, go to Tools > Customize> Keyboard). Now without exiting the sketch press A (a shortcut for Arc), a tangent arc will get started from the end point of your line. Create a semicircle with the arc command and the moment you finish the arc, the tool will get switch back to line command. Finally press A again to switch back to arc command and finish your slot. Though the tangent relations between the arcs and line should come automatically but sometimes one may not use line arc method correctly and there can be different shape. In that case one can add the tangent relation manually by selecting the two entities (line and arc) and then select the tangent relation in the property manager.
2. Circle-Line Method: Draw two circles (can be of equal diameters if required) and create a construction line (vertical or horizontal) or add a relation (vertical or horizontal) between their centres. The reason of putting a line or adding relation is to constrain the two circles. Now start line and draw two lines from the quadrants of one circle to the quadrants of another circle. Using trim tool, remove the unwanted area of the two circles and your slot is ready.
3. Circle-Rectangle Method: Using the above method create two circles and constrain them. Now instead of using line command, pick rectangle and keep the starting point on one quadrant point and finish the rectangle by dragging the other point to the opposite quadrant of second circle. Trim away the unwanted area and add the tangent relations if required.
4. Rectangle-Arc Method: Create a rectangle and exit the rectangle command by pressing ESC or jump to next command i.e. tangent arc. Create two semi circles on either sides of the rectangle. Trim or delete the unwanted area and add the tangent relations if required.
5. Offset/End Cap Method: I really like this trick/method. It is the easiest and quickest method to create a slot. Create a line (vertical or horizontal) and exit the line command. Select the line and click on offset command or vice versa. In the offset property manager, give the distance value, select the option “Bi-directional” and then select “Cap Ends”. Under make end caps, select arc. If you have the preview on, you can see the preview for the slot. You may select the option “Make base as construction” if you haven’t created a construction line or if you want to covert the line into a construction line. Click OK and your slot is ready.
6. Slot Tool/Sketch Method: This is a new innovation in the slot making in SolidWorks with lot of options while making the slot sketch. The sketch tool contains slot geometry too. To use the tool, go to Tools > Sketch Entities.
Apart from creating vertical or horizontal slots, one can create an angled slot by using angle dimension.
Also there can be different ways to dimension a slot. One can adopt the method his/her as per the company standards or what he/she feels is best for them to use.
Perfect, you can now play with different methods of slot creation. Do add if you know any other method I missed out.