How Do I Create an Envelope in SolidWorks?

Creating an Envelope in SolidWorks

SolidWorks is a powerful 3D modeling software that allows users to design and create various objects. One of the useful features in SolidWorks is the ability to create envelopes.

An envelope is a visual representation of the maximum and minimum space that an object can occupy. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an envelope in SolidWorks.

Step 1: Opening a New Part:
To begin, open SolidWorks and create a new part by clicking on “File” in the menu bar, then select “New” and choose “Part.” This will open a blank document where we can start creating our envelope.

Step 2: Sketching the Base Feature:
In order to create an envelope, we need to sketch the base feature first. Click on the “Sketch” tab on the top toolbar and choose one of the available sketching tools such as “Line,” “Rectangle,” or “Circle.” Use these tools to draw your desired base feature on the blank document.

Note: The base feature should represent the outermost shape or boundary of your object. It could be a simple shape like a rectangle or circle, or it could be more complex depending on your design requirements.

Step 3: Adding Dimensions and Constraints:
Once you have sketched your base feature, it’s important to add dimensions and constraints to ensure accurate proportions and alignment. Click on the appropriate dimensioning tool from the sketch toolbar and select two points or lines that need dimensioning. Enter the desired values for each dimension.

Note: Constraints are used to control geometric relationships between sketch entities. You can add constraints by selecting two or more sketch entities, right-clicking, and choosing appropriate constraints like coincident, parallel, perpendicular, etc.

Step 4: Extruding the Base Feature:
After sketching and dimensioning your base feature, it’s time to extrude it to create a solid object. Click on the “Features” tab on the left toolbar and select “Extruded Boss/Base.” In the dialog box that appears, specify the desired extrusion depth and click “OK.”

Step 5: Creating an Envelope:
To create an envelope, we will use the “Envelope” feature in SolidWorks. Click on the “Features” tab again and select “Envelope.” In the dialog box, choose the solid body that you want to use as a reference for your envelope.

Note: The solid body you select will define the maximum and minimum space that your object can occupy. You can choose multiple bodies if needed.

Step 6: Modifying Envelope Properties:
Once you have created an envelope, you can modify its properties to suit your design requirements. Right-click on the envelope in the feature tree and select “Edit Definition.” In this dialog box, you can change parameters like maximum or minimum distance, angle limits, or even add or remove reference bodies.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure to fully define your sketches by adding dimensions and constraints. This will prevent any unwanted changes when modifying your design.
  • If you want to edit or delete an existing envelope, simply right-click on it in the feature tree and choose the desired option.
  • Envelopes are particularly useful when designing objects that need to fit within specific spaces or clearances.


Creating envelopes in SolidWorks is a straightforward process that allows designers to visualize and control space requirements for their objects. By following these steps, you can easily create envelopes for your designs and make informed decisions about size limits and clearances.

Remember to experiment with different parameters and constraints to achieve the desired results. Happy designing!