The Sweep feature has been a common tool to create a profile and extrude it along a sketched path.With the release of 2016 version of SolidWorks there have been significant functional upgrades:
Consider the following handrail and spindle assembly:
The spindle is incomplete. To make changes to the part we need to first right click in the part (since we are currently in assembly) and select edit part.
Now we can edit the component. To complete the spindle we want to select the Sweep Boss/ Base feature from the features menu.
Once the Sweep feature is selected you may notice that there are two radial buttons under Profile and Path:
The first radial button is Sketch Profile, which is the original sweep that requires two profiles to complete.
The second selection is Circular Profile which allows you to select a path and SolidWorks will fill in the sweep with a default circular profile.
This is a very handy tool and a big time saver since many applications require sweep of a circular profile. The designer no longer has to create a second circular sketch.
However, in this case we want to use the square shaped profile therefore we select the Sketch Profile and fill in the Profile and Path. Please note that there is a new Bidirectional option that will allow sweep to be applied in both directions upwards and downwards.
Once the sweep directions are set, the designer may apply additional options such as twisting in the profile. In this case we have set the twisting to be a full revolution downwards and an opposite full revolution upwards to complete our spindle.
By applying the sweep function and patterning the spindle across the frame we have a completed rail assembly.
The improved functionality to the sweep function is meant to help designers streamline the design process.