SolidWorks Question: how best to cut a part during assembly?

I’m trying to learn SolidWorks and I’ve been wondering how best to go about cutting parts, such as C-channel, when trying to assemble a Vex model.

Is it best to create a part in a Parts file and then insert that Part into an Assembly? Or can I somehow cut a part after it has been inserted into an Assembly and built upon?

I’d prefer a method that allows me to cut a part after it has been installed, if that’s possible - you know, the CAD equivalent of the kids grabbing the hacksaw and starting the “OMG, we got only 5 minutes to pass inspection!” process.

You need to save a new copy of that part that will be cut.
Then cut the part inside a part file.
Alternatively you can edit the part inside the assembly and then cut that way however if you don’t save that part as a copy first, then all of those parts will be cut the same.

To cut a part, first begin editing the part by either opening the part by itself or editing the part inside an assembly.
Select a face which lies on the plane that you wish to cut by. For C-Channel this is the flat part at the end.

Then, insert a new reference plane from the insert menu

Next you need to offset the plane to wherever you want to cut (you may need to flip the offset direction)
Remembering that holes are spaced every 0.5 inches, making 5 holes 2.5 inches in.

Confirm the plane operation and then, with the plane selected, insert a new split feature from the insert menu.

Click on the “Cut Part” button in the split PropertyManager

This will split the part completely in that plane, so select the solid body that you do not want anymore

Then confirm the split operation and hide the plane from view

And you’re done.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using an offset plane to make cuts, as Nattyman describes, in this thread I describe a couple other ways using extruded cuts (which is how I usually cut parts):

I just find this the easiest method for cutting parts that can be understood by novices.
Which is me too

Never thought about it until now, but it make sense…when I started learning Solidworks we studied making parts first, then building assemblies (so I like extrudes and cuts over splitting solid bodies), while you guys are learning it making assemblies from already-made part libraries. It changes the way you think about doing things. One day, maybe next season, I’ll make up a library that has part configurations so you can choose any length part you want, including a “minimum-resource” configuration which will regenerate 1000% faster than any current part.

That would be great to have especially for beginners.

Someome needs to make a YouTube series about using solidworks.
@Cody is making one about Inventor and I would make one about solidworks but I don’t have time because of school. Maybe next season

I’m trying to get my daughter interested in making videos, but I was thinking first of doing SolidWorks for VEX IQ. Our IQ kids are doing great at snapCad, so I’d like them to take the next step. But we’ll definitely need VEX-specific videos when it comes to working with configurations and such. I think by the end of this season, though, enough of our HS and Vex U students will be proficient enough to take on a project like this.

If only I didn’t have to work a real job…

Thanks, everyone. I’ll give these methods a try tomorrow.

Just wondering, but how long is the free trial for solidworks?

I think practically anyone can get a 30 day trial. But you might contact SolidWorks and see how they handle educational groups, like robotics groups. Perhaps you can get a different arrangement for software, sponsorship, etc.

Here is the page for your team to apply for sponsorship:

Rather than individual downloads, a team mentor should apply for team sponsorship. Team Virus received a license for 20 seats of Solidworks, good for a year, but can be renewed each year.

We did that this year but only got 10 seats. We’ll need to get more next year