Beer Glove Modeling Challenge Part 1: using SOLIDWORKS

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated April 6, 2016


I recently had the honour of attending SOLIDWORKS WORLD (2016) in Dallas, Texas. I’d like to share with you three memories involving a modeling challenge that I had when I was there.


The first one I’d like to share is during one of the general sessions. One (or should I say two) of the presenters were Laura and Sophia of Trusst Lingerie. They had used SOLIDWORKS to design a bra for plus-size women that does not have an underwire. Now, in the context of providing training and technical support for SOLIDWORKS, I’ve seen a lot of unique uses for SOLIDWORKS and a lot of complex shapes, but nothing as complex as these women had managed to create. The challenge of building a 3D solid model of a plus-sized woman’s torso in SOLIDWORKS upon which to design a bra would take days – even weeks. I spent the next few hours trying to think about how to model, not just a woman’s torso, but any organic shape in SOLIDWORKS. The only time I’ve ever tried to model up an organic shape in SOLIDWORKS was a chicken wing for a related blog article.

Organic Shapes with SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer

The second memory I’d like to share was seeing the enhancements in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer. The presenter was effortlessly able to manipulate the shape of a solid model to give it a very organic shape. The aforementioned design challenge that would have taken days or weeks in SOLIDWORKS would surely take mere hours with SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer. I devoted the rest of my time at SOLIDWORKS WORLD to attending every session about Industrial Designer and learning as much as I could about it! I just couldn’t wait to get back to Oakville and get it installed on my computer and start playing with this incredible program.

My Beer Glove

The third memory I’d like to share was toward the end of the event. There was a cocktail hour before the Value Added Reseller awards dinner. Now, it was unusually colder than I had expected Dallas to be. It was cold enough to need proper coats. Now, since I keep my gloves in my coat pockets and I noticed everyone else carrying their beer with napkins, I used a glove. Don’t believe me? Behold:

Keeping my hand warm holding a beer

Keeping my hand warm holding a beer

Of course, people made their comments about how strange I was, but I came prepared whereas everyone else was caught gloveless. It also started many a conversation, which turned into an idea for a beer glove: a glove you wear on your hand (obviously) that keeps your hand warm and your beer cold. It would be open at the back as to attract less attention that I was. It could even have a beer logo on the palm for easy ordering. Of course, in order to do this, I needed to model up a hand first.

My Beer Glove SOLIDWORKS Modeling Challenge

So when I got back to Oakville, and played with SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer, it was time to put it to the test. I figured for comparison, I’d spend about 90 minutes in each of SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer modeling up a hand. I started in familiar territory: SOLIDWORKS.

I began by creating a sketch in a new part and placed my hand on the monitor, then proceeded to trace my hand.

solidworks modeling challenge - beer glove

Just straight lines, nothing fancy. I’ll connect the dots with splines in a different sketch.

Since creating curves, arcs, and splines meant clicking beneath my hand, I figured I’d start with a reference sketch, then connect the dots in a second sketch using splines to give it a more organic shape.

Boss extrude with draft, then add some fillets.

Boss extrude with draft, then add some fillets.

The result was exceptionally flat and although it may look like a nice, organic shape in the screenshot above, a side view does not look organic by any stretch of the imagination. Still, after messing about with the spline to get it just right, I’d used about half of my allotted 90 minutes. Now I have to bend the fingers such that I can show the hand holding a bottle. It’s not sheet metal, so I can’t just use a Sketched Bend. It occurred to me to use the Flex command. I’ll admit, I don’t often use the Flex command.

Rebuild time: 19.5 seconds

Rebuild time: 19.5 seconds

In fairness, the fillets played a large part of why the rebuild time was so high. However, everything I tried from this point on didn’t lead to a better result. Naturally, it occurred to me AFTER the 90 minutes that I could have split this into multibodies and easily manipulated the positions of the fingers to get them to where I wanted them to be. However, I knew that the result would not look very organic unless I was prepared to use more than 90 minutes on it.

It also occurred to me after the fact that I could have gone to 3D Content Central and searched for a 3D model of a hand. In fact, there are a few good ones, although none are in the exact position I want, I could potentially manipulate them using the multibody technique I mentioned.

Check out part 2 of my SOLIDWORKS Modeling Challenge to see how I do in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer.

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).