Find us on Google+ Using a Sketch to Create an Angled Workplane in Autodesk Inventor ~ Inventor Tales

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Using a Sketch to Create an Angled Workplane in Autodesk Inventor

“The possibility of stepping into a higher plane is quite real for everyone. It requires no force or effort or sacrifice. It involves little more than changing our ideas about what is normal.”
Deepak Chopra

This weeks tip is one of those small tips.  Something that I do a little bit differently than many people. 

It's neither right, nor wrong, just a preference.

It's how I create an angled workplane on a cylinder.   For example.  Here I have a barrel for a paintball gun.  It has several vents in the barrel, and some of them are rotated in such a way that they don't align with any of the origin planes.

A long shot of the barrel

A closeup of the finished vents

Most texts I've seen use the following steps:

1) Create an angled workplane on an origin axis, using an origin plane for orientation.

Creating the angled workplane

2) Create a second workplane, parallel to the first, and tangent to the cylinder's surface.

Using the first plane to create the second
There's nothing wrong with this method.  It works great, and if you're a user that's happy with it, carry on!  

But I like to create this workplane a little differently.

First, I create a sketch perpendicular to the plane I intend to place.

A sketch on the end of the barrel

Next, I draw two lines.  One I use for a datum, the second I use to set the angle that I want my plane to sit at.  I make sure the end of the line is coincident to the cylinder I want to create the plane on. 

I then finish the sketch.

Next, I start my workplane tool, and using the Normal to Axis through Point option, I pick the end point of the line, and then the length of the line.

Starting the plane

Creating the plane

With this done, I have a workplane that is tangent to the cylinder and at the angle I need, albeit by a different approach.

Now all I have to do is create my hole the same way as usual, and I'm off and running.

Starting the hole

The hole added.

Finally, I can right click the sketch and workplanes, and uncheck Visibility to hide it! 

Uncheck to turn off visibility
 Finally, a few patterns and fillets, and I'm all done!

Why do I choose this method?  I just like it.  I feel like it's simpler, and faster to create this type of planes this way.  No other reason!

And at long last, I've had a chance to create a video to go with my blog post!  Check it out below!

So take a look at this method and see if you like it!  And feel free to drop a comment!


  1. How can I do this on the surface of a SPHERE? Dimples like a Golf Ball on a 6.00" Hollow Shell"

    1. You can still use the sketch option, you'll have to use the origin planes as an anchor. Depending on where you want your dimples, you may have to use a combination of angle planes etc to get the dimples where you want them.

    2. wallace. I ended up with a little spare time and put together a quick example. Super accurate, it's not, but it gives you an idea of how you might approach it.

    3. I got this far.. So Far

      Sorry, Cant attach a SNIP... Will use other e-Mail...

    4. I knew I wanted a Plane on the End of a Radial Line but, I could not figure out how to set it up..

      BTW What is your Background and how did you get into CAD?

    5. I worked a few years in sheet metal tooling, as well as for a design house making enclosure hardware (handles, latches, etc). I started on AutoCAD 14 back in the day, then moved to Mechanical Desktop, designing for those companies.

      Eventually I got into support and training using Inventor, Vault, and Showcase, (among a few others) today.

      I take an aircraft maintenance class every semester and volunteer at a local warbird museum to try to remember "how real stuff: works. :)