The Cutting Edge of Design - Part 4: Subdivision Modeling with xShape

By Sarah Taylor on July 12, 2021

The SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE platform can empower you and your team to create impressive designs using a real-time ecosystem that connects people, ideas and data. We're going to show you how that applies to a real-life project with this ongoing series.  

Recently in our carving knife handle project, we discussed the connection of those design elements and how this collaborative ecosystem makes project elements available to your whole team. Today, we will be getting into the creation of an ergonomic handle design for our electric carving knife project. As a designer, you will see there are some great tools that it’s hard to do without, one of which is xShape.

This article covers:

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 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.

xShape Rough Draft

Transforming the Shape

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.

xShape Subdivision Modeling

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

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

>> What is XShape and How Does it Work?

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

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 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 Detail

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

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.

Video Overview

Want more detail? Watch the video below to get the full walk-through on creating this handle!

TriMech’s dedicated team of engineers helps businesses solve their trickiest problems at any stage of the process, whether it is in design, scanning, simulation analysis, data management or bolt-on additive manufacturing solutions. Learn more about what we can do and how we can help your company today.

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