The Cutting Edge of Design - Part 5: Working with xShape Data in SOLIDWORKS

By Wayne White on July 13, 2021

As we dive deeper into the production of an electric carving knife handle using the SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we are starting to get a better and more concrete understanding of how all the pieces fit together.

Previously, we created an ergonomic handle design using xShape. In this step of our design project, we will be talking about using xShape data in SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE. One of the great things about this platform is that you can access it from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet from a computer. Once the files are saved, they can easily be utilized by any team member without the hiccups of controlling and managing servers.

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When using the Bookmarks Editor, a nice feature is the option “Allow products expand”. This is important when opening the last task file, which is an item coming from xShape. It lives underneath the top-level assembly, so this will let me see the xShape part in the Bookmark.


Working in a Collaborative Environment

Next, after the file is opened, we want to edit the cordless handle part. SOLIDWORKS Connected warns us that the file is read-only. This is a great first step in understanding work in a collaborative environment.


In this case, the file has been reserved and we inserted a part inside the New Handle Shape part. This is important because it receives the data from xShape. If there are changes to the handle from xShape, we can see those changes in this part in SOLIDWORKS Connected.


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Shelling the Plastic Designed Part

Now that the part from xShape is open, we will quickly apply a constant wall thickness to this part- it will ultimately be 3D printed for both prototyping and injection molding, so a constant wall thickness will ensure its ability for manufacture toward the end of the design stage. In SOLIDWORKS Connected, you can shell the part to the tune of 2 millimeters here.



Splitting the Plastic Part Into Halves

Next, we want to separate this body into two pieces, a left, and right-hand version. Boolean operators have been included in desktop SOLIDWORKS for nearly 30 years. In SOLIDWORKS Connected, it’s quite similar. Users can add, subtract, combine and split the bodies with a convenient selection of the datum planes here.


Fitting the Parts

In the assembly, the handle half matching up to the internal guts of the electro-mechanics can now be seen more clearly. It is starting to look good here. We will account for clearance to the cutting knife and also plastic standoffs for a nice fit between the two halves.


SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE Internal Components Detail

What to Do When You Get Interference

Oh-no, there is interference! We want to run a quick check and analyze for potential problems in our design. Clearly, in this case, the issue needs to be communicated back to the teammate who created the handle shape that it needs to be a bit more ballooned to account for the motor coil area.


That completes this installment. We took the complex handle design from xShape, inserted it into SOLIDWORKS Connected and created more parametric and mathematical design features in SOLIDWORKS Connected including shell, standoffs and clearances to the mechanical components. Because we are using the 3DEXPERIENCE, our team members are quickly made aware of the interference issue and can start working on design changes. 

Video Overview

Watch the video below for a more detailed review of the process of using xShape data in SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE.

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