SOLIDWORKS Design Challenge: Build a Cupcake Stand

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE updated August 12, 2016


Recently I got married, during the planning stages my fiancee and I were looking for ways (often subtle) to incorporate elements of our lives into the details of our wedding. As such, I tried to find a way to integrate SOLIDWORKS into our wedding. I could feel the most difficult part of this design challenge was going to be finding something to design. Thankfully, she soon saw a stepped cake stand that worked with cupcakes. Since such things are massively expensive when people add the “wedding surcharge,” we opted to design and build our own. Thankfully, my father-in-law is handy at building things and I have the best design software at my fingertips.

Undertaking my SOLIDWORKS Design Challenge

I got to work designing it. The initial design was circular, but we soon realized that this wouldn’t allow us to do the cupcake pattern design that we wanted. So, I started modeling up a square one. With the circular attempt, I created a series of planes and sketched a circle on each one. For this one, I wanted to try something different. I started with the square plate for my top step, then patterned it down:

Start of Cake Stand design

Start of Cake Stand design

Then I opted to use the Move Face command to modify the size of the patterned instances. I couldn’t use Instances to Vary for this application, since it is a multibody part, and I’ve never used Move Face for a real-world application before. For those of you not aware, Move Face can be found under the Direct Editing tab of the Command Manager:

Using Move Face feature

Using Move Face feature

Completed design

I continued with Boss-Extrudes and Cut-Extrudes until the design was complete:

SOLIDWORKS Design Challenge Completed Cupcake Stand

Completed Cupcake Stand

(The sketch lines represent the area of table we needed for the cupcakes unable to fit on the stand. My father-in-law actually created a 4’x4′ sheet and nailed it to the bottom once we were on-site)

Still, I wasn’t yet done with the design. As I tend to design things that are cantilevered, I wanted to confirm where the centre of mass was.

Determining the centre of mass

Determining the centre of mass

Using the design at our wedding

Of course, when I tried asking the baker questions like “How much pressure do we need to apply to the knife when we cut the cake?” I was unable to get answers, so it’s a good thing we attached it to a base. Anyways, here is the finished result in real-life:

Cupcake stand at my wedding

Cupcake stand at my wedding

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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).