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DesignSpark Mechanical Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by DesignSpark


Here we have compiled the most frequently asked questions to help you get the most out of DesignSpark Mechanical.

Q. How do I change my sketch grid spacing?

A. In the Grid group in the Units screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, enter your grid spacing preference.

Q. How do I make my model transparent, but not wire frame?

A. After selecting the solid, try the following:

  • Select Color from the Design group, and then click the Opacity bar to change the opacity of the model.
  • Use the Color or Style Override tools, located in the Style group on the Design tab to set opacity for selected objects. Style Override makes the object opaque or transparent, regardless of face or layer settings. These overrides are automatically deselected when you change the transparency of an object using the Color tool or Style Painter.

Q. Why are some objects transparent and others opaque?

A. By default, surfaces are transparent and solids are opaque.

Q. How can I improve graphics quality?

A. In the Graphics performance options group in the Popular screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, select a higher number Rendering quality. You can choose any number between 1 and 7, where 1 is the lowest rendering quality and 7 is the highest, but be aware that a higher setting may impact performance. Click the Recalculate Rendering button to force recalculation of all surface and line rendering.

Q. How can I improve performance?

A. In the Graphics performance options group in the Popular screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, select a lower number Rendering quality. You can choose any number between 1 and 7, where 1 is the lowest rendering quality and 7 is the highest, but be aware that a lower setting may impact graphics quality. Click the Recalculate Rendering button to force recalculation of all surface and line rendering.

Q. How do I save models with external files?

A. Click Save to save the active design as a DesignSpark Mechanical document. A top level assembly file will be created, along with a separate file for each external component.

Q. How do I work in a collaborative environment, with multiple people working from different environments on the same model?

A. Try the following:

  • After making any changes, click the Application Menu, then select Save As > Save As New Version. Different users can now track progress on the model based on the versions you apply.
  • Agree that only one person work actively on the model at a time, which allows you and others to see each iteration model as it develops.

Q. Can I snap to a grid while using the Pull or Move tool?

A. Yes. In the Solids group in the Snap screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, you can change snap options for both incremental or objects settings.

Q. How and why should I use the Groups feature?

A. Use groups to define a set of selected objects or to setup driving dimensions.

  • Select a set of objects and click Create Group in the Groups panel to save the selection for future use.
  • Create a ruler dimension in the Pull or Move tool and click Create Group to save that dimension as a driving dimension.

Q. How can I create a surface patch?

A. Use the Patch blend option within the Fill tool in the Edit group on the Design tab. You can select faces and the Fill tool will automatically create a patch if you also select at least one edge. For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How can I dimension my model?

A.  First, determine if you are dimensioning the model to indicate size and proportion or, if you want to drive changes to the model with dimensions. Both scenarios are described below. Changes to a model are done with tools that use dimensions to define the size of a change. Usually dimensions appear on screen when using a tool to make an edit. For example, when using the Pull tool to change the height of a cylinder, a dimension appears that shows the size of the change:


To create a dimension that measures the height of the cylinder, click the Ruler icon in the Options panel or on the mini-toolbar. Click the bottom of the cylinder to create a temporary dimension that measures the height. Creating dimensions for reference is done with DesignSpark Mechanical Annotation tools. Use the Dimension tool on the RS/Allied tab to create dimensions that measure length, angle, and other characteristics.

Q. How can I render my model?

A. Rendering is not part of the DesignSpark Mechanical software at this time. 

Q. How can I specify a shape for the new surface I create using the Patch Fill tool?

A. Patch Blend in the Fill tool uses faces, curves, and points as input when creating a surface patch. The created patch attempts to fit through selected faces, curves, or points. For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How do I constrain my sketch?

A. Sketches are not constrained in DesignSpark Mechanical because they are not intended to persist. Create a sketch to the correct dimensions, turn it into a surface, and then use the Pull tool to pull it into a solid. For best results, make edits to the resulting solid rather than editing the sketch. For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How do I create a fillet?

A. A fillet is a round in DesignSpark Mechanical. To create a round:

  • Click the Pull tool in the Edit group on the Design tab.
  • Select the edge or edges you want to round.
  • Select the Round option in the Options panel or from the mini-toolbar.
  • Click and drag the edge in the direction of the Pull arrow.

For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How do I create a helical revolve?

A. To create a helical revolve:

  • Select the Pull tool.
  • Select the face or edge you want to revolve.
  • Alt+select a line or an axis to revolve about.
  • Click the Revolve helix option in the Options panel and enter dimensions for the helix.

For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help. 

Q. How do I create a pattern?

A. To create a pattern:

  • Click Move in the Edit group of the Design tab.
  • Select the Create patterns checkbox in the Options -Move panel.
  • Select a protrusion, depression, sketch, points, axes, planes, origins, or 3D curves to be the first member of the pattern.
  • Drag a move handle to copy the first pattern member to the location of the last member of the linear pattern.
  • Type a new value for the pattern count.
  • Press Tab to change the distance or spacing.

For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

>Q. How do I create a rotational pattern?

A. To create a rotational pattern

  • Select the geometry you want to pattern.
  • Click the Move tool.
  • Select the Create Pattern checkbox in the Options panel.
  • Anchor your move tool to the center point you want to pattern around.
  • Rotate the Move tool to create your pattern.

For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How do I dimension my model?

A. To create dimensions for annotating a part, use the Dimension tool in RS/Allied tab.

  • All dimensions are placed on an annotation plane in design mode, which you can toggle on or off for display purposes.
  • You can use the Ruler option in the Pull or Move tool to create temporary dimensions while editing a part. You can save these dimensions by creating a group in the Groups panel. These dimensions can then be used to drive changes with the Pull or Move tool.

For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. How do I get back to my sketch?

A. DesignSpark Mechanical does not save sketches for future edit. Once you create a solid from a sketch, DesignSpark Mechanical recommends that you use the Pull and Move tools to edit the solid instead of editing the sketch.

Q. How do I make assembly models?

A. You make assembly models by placing each solid in a component. Simply right click on a solid in the Structure tree and select Move to New Component, and then name the component. Components can take on assembly conditions, whereas solids by themselves cannot have assembly conditions. With click and drag, components can be rearranged to reflect any desired assembly structure.

Q. How do I package multiple components into one assembly to send to a client?

A. In order to send a client an assembly model properly, you need to make sure that all your components have been internalized. Click on a component in the Structure tree with the right mouse button and select Use Internal Copy to make it internal. Finally, save your assembly and send the resulting DesignSpark Mechanical document to the client.

Q. How do I use the Wrap around target option in the Project tool?

A. The Wrap around target tool allows you to take planar curves or text and wrap them onto planes, cylinders, and cones. You may choose a surface target or establish a direction for the wrap. Curves can be wrapped onto geometry with per-existing imprinted wrapped curves. Surfaces may be used for wrapping, however only the surface edges are used to wrap around the target. 

To wrap a curve, text, or a surface around a target object:

  • Click the Project tool
  • Check ON the Wrap around target option
  • Click the curve, text or surface you want to wrap
  • Click the Select Direction tool guide and choose a direction, you will see purple lines on the target as a preview
  • Click the Complete tool guide or press the Enter key

Q. What does Style Painter do?

A. Style Painter paints display properties from one object to another. The tool applies color and transparency intelligently from one object type to a different object type, for example, you can copy body colors and textures between geometry or font styles between notes and annotations.

Q. What is the difference between the Mirror tool in Sketch mode versus 3D mode?

A. You can use the Mirror tool to mirror bodies, faces, and sketch curves. The Mirror tool can be used in Sketch mode or in 3D mode. In Sketch mode, you can also create a mirror line: draw a line and select Set as Mirror Line from the right mouse button context menu. If there is a mirror line in your current sketch plane, all new sketches will mirror across the line. In addition, if you make a change to a mirrored curve in the sketch plane it will modify the curve and its mirror.

Q. What´s the difference between Pull and Move?

A. In the simplest sense, Pull creates or extrudes, and Move translates or rotates. For example, if you pull a hole, the size of the hole changes:


But if you move the hole, the location of the hole changes:


Only in the case of Pulling or Moving a planar face is the behavior similar.

Q. When I try to pull multiple faces, why do I get surfaces instead?

A. This may occur if you continue to hold the Ctrl key. Try the following:

  • Hold the Ctrl key to make a copy of a face as you drag.
  • Hold the Ctrl key to select multiple faces, and then release the Ctrl key before using the Pull or Move tools.

Q. Where do I perform Boolean operations?

A. Use the Combine tool in the Intersect group on the Design tab to perform Boolean operations. For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. Why are solids grayed out in the design window?

A. The solids may not be included in an active component. To activate the document level component, click the right mouse button on the top level component and choose Activate Component.

Q. Why can´t I combine a solid with a surface?

A. The surface must extend through the solid. Use the Pull tool to extend the surface until it fully intersects the solid.

Q. Why does a face change in size when I pull it?

A. Most likely you are pulling on a face without also selecting its neighboring edges. Try selecting the edges along with a face and then pull. The face stays the same size and extrudes that geometry. By default DesignSpark Mechanical uses the adjacent faces to influence how to pull a face.

Q. Why does my solid turn into a surface when I hit the Delete key?

A. The Delete key removes geometry from a model. If you delete a face, the solid turns into a surface with a hole where the face used to be. In this scenario, DesignSpark Mechanical recommends that you use the Undo tool to return your design to the solid state. If this is not possible, the Missing face tool in the Fix group on the Repair tab can help you search for holes in the model and will attempt to patch over them.

Q. Why does one solid in an assembly automatically move every instance of that component throughout the assembly?

A. If you have multiple placements of the same part (component containing a solid) in an assembly, also referred to as an instance, they will all share the same geometry. If you select a solid in one instance and move it, it is considered changing the geometry and the solid will move in each instance. You should select a single component in the structure tree and move it only if you want to change the location of that instance.

Q. Why won´t solids combine together?

A. The operation may fail because of errors in the body geometry. You must remove the bad geometry before attempting to combine solids. Select the solids, and then select Check Geometry in the Inspect group of the Measure tab to identify any bad geometry.

Q. Can I filter my selection?

A. Yes. Click the white cursor arrow in the bottom right corner of the design window on the status bar to display the selection filter, which is a drop down menu that shows all selectable entity types. Turn off Smart selection, then toggle which entity types you would like to remain in your selection. Changing tools turns the filter back to Smart. DesignSpark Mechanical retains these settings the next time you enable the selection filter.

Q. Is there an easy way to select multiple faces on a model?

A. Yes. You can select one or more objects quickly and easily by using the Select tool. Click the first face of your design, hold down the Ctrl key, and then click each individual selection you want to add to or remove from your original selection. For more information, refer to the DesignSpark Mechanical Online Help.

Q. Can shortcuts be customized?

A. No. Keyboard shortcuts cannot be customized.

Q. How do I change the Zoom/Spin/Pan controls from the default settings?

A. In the Navigation screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, you can set your keyboard and mouse controls. Select a control, choose an option from the control setting´s dropdown, and click OK.

Q. How do I rotate views without knowing which way is the top view, for example?

A. While in 3D mode, you can use the Snap View tool, located in the Orient group on the Design tab. You can click a face to view it head-on, then click, drag, and release the mouse towards the top, bottom, or sides of the design window to ‘throw´ the face to that side. To display a straight-on view of a planar face, select the face and click Plan view in the Orient group on the Design tab.

Q. How should I use the Properties panel?

A. The Properties panel shows information about a selected object. Use this panel to view and edit characteristics of an object. In addition to components, surfaces, and solids, you can use the Properties panel to modify property values for sketched objects, inserted images, patterns, and sheet metal.

Q. My DesignSpark Mechanical Options menu doesn´t display. How do I fix this?

A. Try the following:

  • If you have multiple displays, check to see if the menu displays on another monitor.
  • Try using a shortcut to move windows on to another display: Hold down the ALT and spacebar keys. Select Move, then press the arrow keys on the keyboard or move the mouse to bring the panel back into your preferred display.

Q. My DesignSpark Mechanical panels and tabs don´t display where I want them. How can I adjust them? How do I customize my window layout?

A. In the Appearance screen in DesignSpark Mechanical Options, click the Reset Docking Layout button to reset the layout. To customize the layout of your panels, click and drag a panel to a new location. You can also click and drag, and then pin, a panel to a DesignSpark Mechanical window edge.

Q. DesignSpark Mechanical looks like a Windows application; does it have similar cut, copy and paste functionality?

A. Yes. You can work with these functions from the Clipboard group on the ribbon tab, or, use shortcut keys such as Ctrl+C to copy, Ctrl+V to paste or Ctrl+X to cut.

Q. What´s the difference between a solid at the top level of the design and a solid within a component?

A. The major difference is that you cannot make assembly conditions between solids at the top level of the design. You can only do this with solids within components. Having components within your design:

  • Confirms that you are making an assembly. You can move components around in the design window and also use components to make sub-assemblies of a larger model.
  • Allows you to create assembly conditions. You cannot use assembly conditions between solids which are not in components
  • Prevents solids from merging unintentionally in the Pull tool.

Q. Where is the feature tree?

A. DesignSpark Mechanical is a direct modeling software package, and as such, uses a Structure tree to list all of the objects in the design window. The Structure panel contains the Structure tree, which shows you each of the objects in your design. Objects are displayed in the order in which they were created, or, in the order in which they were imported.

Q. Where is the world origin located? Can I change its location?

A. World Origin shows the X, Y, and Z zero location in designs and drawing sheets. By enabling this feature, you can display the axes that set the default orientation of the design in the Design window. In DesignSpark Mechanical, you can turn on the world origin by selecting the World Origin checkbox in the Show group on the Display tab. The position of the world origin cannot be changed, but geometry can be moved up to, or dimensioned from the origin.




  • zhaomin8050 Avatar zhaomin8050

    Posted by zhaomin8050 at

    DesignSpark 2.0新建设计后显示“图形不可用”图形驱动程序也装了,请教各位一下!

  • zehnderandy Avatar zehnderandy

    Posted by zehnderandy at

    Many thanks for this great tool! I have been using this now for a while and it is absolutely great!
    Are there any plans to integrate some tools to work with sheet metal? This is something i am really missing and I guess, there are a lot of other useres they would also love to have this add on....
    regards, Andy

  • yuanyuan1117 Avatar yuanyuan1117

    Posted by yuanyuan1117 at

    图片3.png (284.86 KiB) 还未被浏览

  • hakki Avatar hakki

    Posted by hakki at



  • hiroto Avatar hiroto

    Posted by hiroto at


    DSMにはベンドの機能がありません。DSM v1のヘルプには色々と削除漏れがあり、その中にベンドもありました。しかしDSM V2のヘルプには記載がなくなっていると思います。

  • 陆峰 Avatar 陆峰

    Posted by 陆峰 at

    DesignSpark Mechanical入门有半个月了,跟着教程做两个平面或三个平面融合不成功,即拉动整合按键能自动高亮,但是没有出现打勾确认按钮,而教程视频当中却能看到有打勾确认按钮,我的版本是1.0的.试过安装2.0版本失败,后来知道原因是2.0版本不兼容XP系统.

  • syouzan Avatar syouzan

    Posted by syouzan at

    DesiignSpark Mechanical 2.0

  • feiante Avatar feiante

    Posted by feiante at


  • wudianjun2001 Avatar wudianjun2001

    Posted by wudianjun2001 at


  • lwysz Avatar lwysz

    Posted by lwysz at


  • melodyguigui Avatar melodyguigui

    Posted by melodyguigui at


  • yuanjingna Avatar yuanjingna

    Posted by yuanjingna at


  • wu925671008 Avatar wu925671008

    Posted by wu925671008 at


  • yuanxiaoxiao Avatar yuanxiaoxiao

    Posted by yuanxiaoxiao at


  • yyhf Avatar yyhf

    Posted by yyhf at

    很好的技巧介绍,我是这方面的新手,请问有精度方面的信息么 能达到什么程度呢,谢谢

  • fhl0000 Avatar fhl0000

    Posted by fhl0000 at

    this a really cool tool,help full and more important free

  • slotg Avatar slotg

    Posted by slotg at

    不错的 Q&A ,很有参考价值

  • treasuredog Avatar treasuredog

    Posted by treasuredog at


  • tc9319 Avatar tc9319

    Posted by tc9319 at


  • digitaltek Avatar digitaltek

    Posted by digitaltek at


  • chooseds Avatar chooseds

    Posted by chooseds at

    刚开始使用这个软件,平时不喜欢看冗长的说明书,习惯于操作中自己识别摸索,这个常见问题倒是个很便捷的学习操作的途径,比如尺寸标注,之前还不清楚怎么在模型上作尺寸标注,看了第19问豁然开朗。不过,可能其它软件先入为主的缘故,总觉得DS Mechanical的菜单设计不够人性化和便捷,不然我之前就能一下子找到标注方法了。因为标注是最基本的功能,应该添加到右键菜单,或者直接放到主设计窗口的显眼位置,比如跟画图工具放一起。

  • 丫丫艳 Avatar 丫丫艳

    Posted by 丫丫艳 at


  • yjglwyyjg Avatar yjglwyyjg

    Posted by yjglwyyjg at


  • yjglwyyjg Avatar yjglwyyjg

    Posted by yjglwyyjg at


  • jianke Avatar jianke

    Posted by jianke at

    如何在DesignSpark Mechanical中插入文本??

  • 胡言乱语英雄 Avatar 胡言乱语英雄

    Posted by 胡言乱语英雄 at


  • andygadget Avatar andygadget

    Posted by andygadget at

    So many negative comments for what I'm finding to be a great piece of software - Absolutely brilliant considering the price!

    I am new to CAD and was looking for a package to use for designing 3-D model for my printer. After finding the parametric approach of OpenSCAD somewhat long winded, I was looking for a more interactive CAE program. (Some people work best with numbers - I prefer seeing something in front of me.)
    My son mentioned SpaceClaim which he has used at school - No way . . . I'm looking for free software. Then I came across DesignSpark and have been using it for the past few weeks.
    Understandably, there are many more tutorial videos on YouTube for SpaceClaim, but what I'm finding is that all the functions (that I've needed) are there in DesignSpark, but not necessarily accessed in the same way. I am getting more adept at navigating around the user interface and currently working on the chassis of a robotic mouse. (The cat's Christmas present!).

    What I'd say to new users is stick with it and don't make a snap decision about it - There is a learning curve, especially so for first-time CAE users. Print off the 2 page functions 'cheat sheet' and refer to it. I've found redefining the right mouse click as 'spin' helped a lot in navigating around. Also, search the SpaceClaim YouTube videos to find techniques and then use the F1 search from DesignSpark to see the equivalent DesignSpark method (e.g.. Screw threads using a helical pull command.)

    Thanks SpaceClaim / RS for such a great tool (but I'd really like to see the full SC toolbar on the screen #;¬)


  • celsun Avatar celsun

    Posted by celsun at

    DesignSpark is definitely a cut-down version version of SpaceClaim. It even includes many inaccessible features like the 3D mirroring and drawing sheets in *.scdoc format.
    Models etc created with SpaceClaim cannot be imported into DesignSpark, but the other way round is possible so *.rsdoc works in SpaceClaim. So why does RS not therefore offer an upgrade route the purchase as proper fully functioning version? Until then DesignSpark cannot be really used for anything too complicated. A better solution seems to be PTC Creo Elements Direct (CoCreate) which does have a fully populated toolset ribbon unlike DesignSpark compared with SpaceClaim.....

  • davidcj Avatar davidcj

    Posted by davidcj at

    Thank you for a very powerful piece of software. I'm sure it will improve as time goes on, but at the moment I am finding using DesignSpark Mechanical frustrating. The help section is often misleading, leading a user to expect a certain functionality that is not present.

    For instance, instructions are given for adding layers - in fact this cannot be done.

    And, in the FAQ section, under the heading "Why won´t solids combine together?", the following line appears:
    "Select the solids, and then select Check Geometry in the Inspect group of the Measure tab". I can't find any of these - the only "Measure" item doesn't have any children.

    And, in the two page cheat sheet you provide, instructions are given for mirroring - which is only possible while sketching (I understand though I haven't tried it).

    Another item I found is that files are sometimes saved even though you, the user, have specifically asked that they not be.

    A combination of the above features have caused me to lose complete drawings. I will persevere with this program because it holds such promise, but I do request that the documentation makes it clearer what is and is not possible.

  • liamlynch Avatar liamlynch

    Posted by liamlynch at

    Started using 3D mechanical recently. Like it alot. But how do I add text to a solid model? Sometimes you need to label things.

  • sandmann Avatar sandmann

    Posted by sandmann at

    i read on your Hompage for Designspark Mechanical....

    "And best of all, it's completely free! This is not a cut down version of an expensive product or software with a time-limited license."

    This is why i tryed your Software. But i was very long searching to setup an drawing sheet....
    So your support told me in this version there is no feature for drawing sheet, yout can find only in the commerciasl version of Spaceclaim.

    So this is not a cut down version of an expensive software??????

    Pls dont kidding the poeple here with this bullsh...t talking of completly and free CAD software.
    I was really really inpressed first of a good programmed software and now im disapointed from this .... untrue presentation....

    Sadly regards..

  • sandmann Avatar sandmann

    Posted by sandmann at

    In Design Spark Mechanical, how i set up a drawing sheet with frame e.t.c. ? I cant find any Helpfile for this. I know there is a Folder with scdoc Files in a Format of A0 - A4 e.c.t. but how i get this in my drawing. An how i make a isometric Print of this in a drawing sheet. Thnx for your Help

  • sinjuku24g Avatar sinjuku24g

    Posted by sinjuku24g at

    Mirror tool does not see, but to where they?

  • caseybralla Avatar caseybralla

    Posted by caseybralla at

    Great software. Thank you formaking it available.

    I'm a Linux user who runs Windows 7 on a virtualbox virtual machine. I've been unable to get the graphical portion of the DesignSpark Mechanical screen to display (the error message says that "SpaceClaim has encountered a problem").

    I understand that your web sites says that virtual machines are not supported, but this would be really fantastic if I could coax it work. Do you have any suggestions that might make it work, at least minimally?

  • jamestrounson Avatar jamestrounson

    Posted by jamestrounson at

    I see this software seems to be provided by a big company.
    What is this companies motivation in providing this software?
    Where did this software come from originally?
    How long has it been in use?
    How many people using it?
    Who or what company wrote it?
    Are all these programs on this site under active development/
    If I report a bug will it be fixed?
    Can I make a feature request or suggestion?
    What file format is used?
    Is file format open or closed?
    What file formats can be imported or exported?

  • zehnderandy Avatar zehnderandy

    Posted by zehnderandy at

    * How do I create a 2-D drawing with all the measurements and a 3D view,, put it on a defined worksheet, so that I can use it in our company to get quotes from mechanical producers? (as it is possible with Solidworks....)
    * Is it possible to export STEP - files from finished parts?

  • wangelis Avatar wangelis

    Posted by wangelis at

    How can I make a bend in Metal sheet?

  • ghare Avatar ghare

    Posted by ghare at

    Will DesignSpark mechanical integrate with DesignSpark PCB so we can do complete mechatronic design flows?

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