3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Tutorial Part 4: Subdivision Modeling with 3D Sculptor (xShape)

Article by TriMech Solutions, LLC updated July 13, 2021

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In this edition of our ongoing 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS Tutorial series, we will be creating an ergonomic handle design for our electric carving knife project using the SOLIDWORKS 3D Sculptor Role (xShape App).

3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS can empower you and your team to create impressive designs using a real-time ecosystem that connects people, ideas and data. In the previous tutorial we discussed the connection of those design elements and how this collaborative ecosystem makes project elements available to your whole team. As a designer, you will see there are some great tools that are hard to do without, one of which is the 3D Sculptor. Watch the video below to get the full walk-through of creating the ergonomic handle:

Rough Draft

Before jumping into the CAD modeling environment, we took a pencil and paper and sketched out a rough idea for the handle design. Scanning this image and inserting it into our 3D modeling space in SOLIDWORKS 3D Sculptor (xShape) gives us a digital version of this draft. This will serve as a guide while working on the CAD model. The black lines sweeping across the handle represent sharp edges, and the faces between them will be smooth and continuous.

Sketch of the proposed handle design

Sketch of the proposed handle design

Transforming the Shape with SOLIDWORKS xShape

After inserting the guide picture, we inserted a primitive shape into the subdivision modeling environment. The primitive determines the number of subdivided faces in the X, Y, and Z directions, as well as the overall size.

Sketch imported into 3D Creator / xShape

Sketch imported into SOLIDWORKS 3D Creator / xShape

This shape is only a starting point and will be transformed quickly. In this case, a Quadball is inserted. In the next step, we will drag to elongate it in the Y direction.

xShape Quadball

SOLIDWORKS xShape Quadball

xShape Elongating in Y Direction

SOLIDWORKS xShape Elongating in Y Direction

Manipulating Faces and Edges

After this, the workflow for modeling in xShape is much like modeling clay. Unlike in parametric modelers, there are no sketches or dimensions driving the geometry. The solid body is manipulated by selecting specific faces, edges, and vertices and dragging them with your mouse to influence the overall shape. In the subdivision modeling environment, all of the faces on the model are curvature continuous, which allows the user to produce high-quality freeform shapes with ease. However, certain tools can be used to crease model edges or create flat faces when needed.

Manipulating Faces and Edges

Manipulating Faces and Edges

Using Symmetry and Transparency

Turning on Symmetry ensures that all the changes made will result in a model that is perfectly symmetrical across the YZ plane. Turning on model transparency allows the user to work with the hand-drawn sketch as a guide while pushing and pulling the model into position.

Model Symmetry and Transparency

Model Symmetry and Transparency

Quick Align

Most of the magic of xShape lies in the ability to artistically click and drag directly on edges, faces and vertices on the model. But there are other advanced tools like Quick Align, which quickly snaps selected points to a sketched curve as seen below..

xShape Quick Align

xShape Quick Align

xShape Quick Align Results

xShape Quick Align Results

Adding Elements

The last thing needed for this design is the finger grip. We will extrude some extra material on the underside of the model, then adjust its size and the surrounding curvature.

xShape Adding Elements

xShape Adding Elements

xShape Adding Elements Detail

xShape Adding Elements Detail

Then, after some final tweaks and touches, the design is complete!

Final Handle Design

Final Handle Design

That’s it for this segment. In the next part of this series, we will discuss how to work with this data in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Interested in the 3D Sculptor (xShape)?

Visit our website to get a quote for the SOLIDWORKS 3D Sculptor and learn how 3DEXPERIENCE® SOLIDWORKS® connects the industry-leading SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD Desktop solution on the 3DEXPERIENCE Works platform, a cloud-based product development environment.

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TriMech Solutions, LLC

TriMech provides thousands of engineering teams with 3D design and rapid prototyping solutions that work hand-in-hand, from sketch to manufacturing. Javelin became a subsidiary of TriMech Solutions LLC in 2021.