Knurling is a manufacturing process of cutting or rolling lines into a material to allow for better gripping. This texture can be modeled in SOLIDWORKS by using cuts and patterns. Adding this detail to your model will make your part more accurate and may be necessary if you are using Model Based Definition. However, it will cost you performance and file size. In this blog, I will be discussing alternatives to modeling knurled surfaces to increase performance, while still visually presenting the textured material.
Part File Workaround
In a part file, a knurled surface can be represented by a textured appearance. SOLIDWORKS comes with many textured appearances already installed, included a knurl. The default knurled texture can be found in the Appearances >Metal>Steel folder. The appearance is labeled “Stainless Steel Knurled” and is a diamond pattern. Although this textured appearance is labeled and found under the stainless steel folder, your part does not have to match this material. The color of the textured appearance, along with many other attributes, such as mapping, can be altered to fit your situation.
To apply textured appearances, simply drag them over from the task pane onto the model where you wish to apply them. A toolbar will then appear prompting you to choose how the appearance should be applied. For more information on applying appearances, please see our post on What’s Up With These Colors?
If you are on subscription maintenance and have a professional or premium license, you have additional access to more textured appearances through your customer portal. Here you will find more detailed and advanced textured appearances created in MODO available for download.
A quick search with the word “knurl” will produce four additional textured appearances you can apply to your model. Simply download the material, save it into the appearances folder in your design library, and then these appearances can be applied as normal. The advanced settings on these downloaded materials are locked, so you will not be able to change the color for example; however, I don’t think you will mind, once you see the results.
Drawing File Workaround
In a drawing file, a knurled surface can be represented with Area Hatch/Fill. Area Hatch/Fill is an annotation feature, which applies a crosshatch pattern or solid fill to a model face, a closed sketch, or a region bounded by a combination of model edges and sketch entities. SOLIDWORKS will not accept cylindrical faces defined by fading or soft edges in the view as a valid boundary.
Should this situation apply on your drawing, convert entities is an easy way to create sketch geometry to identify a region. The Area Hatch/Fill property manager contains a list of patterns which can be scaled and rotated to convey the appropriate appearance on the drawing. In the image below, Area hatch/fill was applied twice with the second application rotated 90 degrees to create a diamond pattern.