# Dimension Normal

I was detailing a rectangular tube the other day in which the ends of the tube are cut-off at an angle to form a parallelogram. I wanted to dimension
the overall cut length of the tube. There does not seem to be a direct way to do this in SolidWorks. I have to create a construction line from one of the two vertices and make it normal to the intended direction of the extension line.
In SolidEdge, I can pick the two end vertices and a line which then determines the normal direction of the extension line.
I can achieve this in AutoCAD by changing the UCS relative to an object. Anyways, thought it would be useful if SolidWorks added this capability for detailing.
Kman
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Hey Kman,
Just pick the two end points you want and lay the dimension down. Quite easy.
Reaper.
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Picking two vertices as I believe you are suggesting will produce extension lines normal to the shortest distance between the points. That isn't what I was trying to describe or do. Picture a length of rectangular tubing with the end cuts parallel to one another and not normal to the tube length.. Pick the two vertices furthest away from each other (i.e. diagonally opposed). I would like the witness line to be parallel to the tube length (i.e. extension lines normal to the tube length).
Kman

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Kman,
After thinking about your question a bit more I have to assume you are saying for a parallelogram that does not have any sides that are vertical or horizontal.
Yep, looks to be no easy way without adding a construction line to the view/sketch that you wish to dimension.
Regards,
Anna Wood
Anna Wood wrote:

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Anna,
Yes, the part is at an angle (no horizontal or vertical lines).
Kman

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Maybe I don't understand something here, but I can dimension horizontal or vertical to the opposite corners whether the object is sitting straight to the axes or not. When you go to place the dim, just drag your cursor around to see the different dim orientations and click to place, or right click when you see the proper orientation to lock that, and then place where desired. Do I not understand?
WT

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I understand the situation you are describing. However, it is not what I am after. In this case the extension lines are normal to the part line. And the part line is not horizontal or vertical. I want the witness lines (dimension lines) to be parallel to the part line. Take a look at the part drawing Anna provided. Now take that part and tip it up at an angle and try to dimension the same vertices.
The dimension I'm after is the one that would describe the straight length of tube required to make that part.
Kman

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Ahhh, what you want is a parallel dimension to an edge, but select two endpoints that produce a direction that is not parallel to the edge. The construction line is probably the best way.
Another thought, though. If the angle of the lay of the tube is a known, even number, how about rotating the drawing view so the edge is horizontal or vertical, put in the dimension, and then rotate the view back. That will REALLY mess with the next guy! :-) (That might be worth it...) Or, you could just leave the view rotated, if appropriate.
Anyway, sounds like ER time. "When putting in a Smart Dimension, if the user has selected two points, and then highlights an edge, then put that dimension in parallel to that edge."
WT

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Wayne,
Good thought (i..e rotate view) Is there a way to temporarily align the view without knowing the angle? Maybe align to a known horizontal or vertical line?
Kman