SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer Parametric Features [VIDEO Series 4 of 4]

Article by Dimos Siagoulis updated July 24, 2015


Hello everyone, and welcome to the fourth and final post in this getting to know SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer video series. Over the past few weeks we have gone from beginner to intermediate level skills in the software by practicing with the contests. The past contest was to create a statue that could hold any object. If you have participated and are interested in viewing my statue please click the show contest button.

[showhide type=”post” more_text=”Show Contest” less_text=”Hide Contest”]

Bookworm Pencil Holder

For this contest, I decided to create a pencil holder bookworm.

Worm isometric

Worm isometric


I began by creating a reference sketch of my statue, then inserted a cube freeform object and manipulated it into shape. Then by using the extrude faces command I created the spikes on the worms back.

Worm spikes

Worm spikes

By using the sharpen edges tool I as able to make the spikes on the back more defined.

Worm front

Worm front

The arms were also created by freeform objects, however they were mirrored along the right plane in order to have perfect symmetry while the worm holds the book. I used the same technique for the book, and glasses. Finally I added some books on the side of the worm for some additional details, and combined all of the pieces together to create one solid object.

Worm Model

Worm Model

Overall this project took me just under an hour to complete and was very fun to make! I might end up 3D printing this one day to hold my pencils!


SWID Parametric Features

A very important step to making your object attractive is the last few details that are added allowing the object stand out. In the video below, you will see how adding parametric features to your freeform objects can drastically change its appearance.

Improving your Freeform Object

Freeform objects suit their purpose very well. They can be manipulated quickly to make Industrial designing much easier. Now that the general shapes are out of the way, it’s time to get into the small but important details. No matter what object you create there can always be parametric features added to it, complimenting the original design.

These are my favourite tools that I use regularly in freeform designing, and I do want to note many of these are in the desktop version of SolidWorks, but they’re important tools and they all work very well with freeform objects. Many of the parametric features are self explanatory, which is why some might not be included.

  • Combine: As mentioned in the previous blog post,  this feature should be used whenever you have two or more freeform objects and they are touching. The combine feature will add a definitive line where the freeforms meet, creating a new part consisting of both freeforms. This will allow you to use fillets and chamfers if needed.
  •  Fillet and Chamfer: A lot of the times, when combining one or more bodies, you will add a fillet to them as shown in the video above, and mentioned in the previous blog post. The capabilities of fillets are endless, rather than trying to manipulate the freeform mesh of two separate objects to seamlessly overlap each other, you can just fillet them with a large or small radius to create your desired connection. Not only does this look much nicer than manually joining two or more freeforms, but it is much quicker! Chamfer does a very similar job, but i’d recommend using it to create those desired sharp cuts around edges and holes as it is intended for.
  • Shell: This is a pretty standard feature, however I’ve got to add it because of how powerful it is. Simply click the face you want shelled and it will cut out excess material and basically make a thin wall around your feature following each curve. Here’s a quick tip: Shell out your feature before making it fancy, there’s nothing worse than having a very detailed part and trying to shell it afterwards. It’s wise to add those extra features onto your object using a new freeform object and the combine feature!
  • Thread: This has got to be one of the most amazing features yet. You’ll never worry about making a thread again, If you’re familiar with SolidWorks, the only way to make a thread is to create a helix and then the profile of the thread and extrude around the helix. No longer are you going to be spending an hour trying to figure out how to use a thread. This tool is so simple it takes a matter of seconds to click the edges you want your thread attached to, enter some parameters and voila it is done!
  • Spring: Similar to the thread, you can now create a spring very easily. Simply choose compression or extension spring, click the spring attachment points, and spring axis if needed and change around some parameters then your spring is complete. Both the spring and thread commands are going to please a lot of people, they are very intuitive and shave off a lot of time, kudos Dassault Systemes!
  • Extrude: The Extrude command in the features tab –  not to be mistaken with the extrude and extrude faces commands in the freeform tab – works exactly as it does in SW desktop. A neat capability I would like to mention is that you can extrude sections on your freeform object which will be extruded as a non freeform object meaning it cannot be manipulated. This is shown in the video with both extrude and extruded cut.
  • Revolve: This feature behaves exactly as the extrude command does above, you can use it in the standard way to revolve a sketch around an axis, or you can revolve a freeform face around an axis.
  • Split: Allows you to split your object into two or more parts along a line that you create. This can be both a curved or straight line.


Believe it or not, these objects were made in 2 minutes

Believe it or not, but these objects were made in a total of 2 minutes!

What’s next?

Now that you have been following this blog series and have finished a few competitions, you should have the fundamentals of Industrial Designer on lock. That wasn’t too hard, was it? You should now be experienced enough to take on a majority of your tasks with ease. As Industrial Designer gets updated, I will be posting more SWID related blogs, so stay tuned!

Final Competition

This weeks final competition is very open ended. The competition this week is to create a design, anything you desire but it must incorporate at least 3 of the parametric features described above. Bonus points if you include more!  You can even use a previous project with added parametric features. Post links to your screenshots in the comment section below, I’m very excited to see what everyone comes up with, get creative and detailed!

Get a Free Trial of SWID

If you or your company are interested in a free trial of SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer software,visit our web page and complete the form to request a trial. NOTE: We can only provide trial copies to Canadian individuals and companies.


On behalf of Javelin Technologies I thank you for taking an interest in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer, if there are any questions please leave a comment and I’ll reply as soon as possible, thank you!

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Dimos Siagoulis

Co-op student from McMaster University on my second work term at Javelin Technologies Inc.