The Cutting Edge of Design - Part 7: Handling xShape Changes

By Wayne White on July 15, 2021

SOLIDWORKS xShape is an excellent modeling tool on the SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE that is wonderful for creating designs that require organic shapes with very smooth transitions. This app allows industrial designers, digital artists and engineers to create innovative products in a new way, using a collaborative space.

In our last session,we updated the handle design using xShape. The geometry is fairly complex and it's not a native SOLIDWORKS file. We need to make this a usable form from a manufacturability standpoint by making the file visible in SOLIDWORKS so we can make changes quickly. With a simple reloading of the handle from the platform (in the SOLIDWORKS Connected app), our references are maintained and all that’s left for the mechanical engineer to do is to recheck for clearance and fit.

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Designs adapt and change. Something that was created 20 years ago may have gone through dozens of adaptations to keep up with the market. Identifying design changes and working between CAD applications has always been a laborious task to export in one format and then find the necessary import options to get the CAD file to behave well. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform gives users a homogeneous environment, one that mitigates much of the export/ import issues and limitations of necessary design changes of years past.

Master Modeling Technique

In SOLIDWORKS we can bring those changes back down from the platform by editing the part in context.


As you can see in the next image, this is simply a master modeling technique that all experienced CAD users will identify. It gives the user the opportunity to select what information he or she wants to pass into the master container.

SOLIDWORKS 3DEXPERIENCE Master Modeling Technique

>> 15 Ways to Speed Up Your Design Process

Reference Checks

But, because our changes are significant, we see a dangling reference in a sketch for the extrude cut for the knife blades. This isn’t a problem. Because 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS is very similar to desktop SOLIDWORKS, rectifying this issue is very quick. (see below)


A quick check of interferences sees that we have the necessary clearance between the handle and our internal components.


Creating a Shareable Link

It’s that simple. Seeing the latest version of files, even for those coming from the platform’s xApps, is very efficient. For good measure, we will plan to 3D print this part and test it for fit and function prior to manufacturing. We will create a shareable link to those external collaborators that may not necessarily be part of our internal design team. This can be done in the 3D Drive app. (Think OneDrive or Google Drive - the typical cloud apparatus that allows for the ‘old-school’ sharing by way of a hyperlink.)


Identifying and consuming design changes has been and will always be a principal component of data management. As we saw in this article, two very different design members can effectively co-exist. A complex shape was made simply by using xShape. That’s no problem working within SOLIDWORKS to add more well-defined parametric features.

Video Overview

Watch the video below to get a complete picture of how to manage xShape changes in SOLIDWORKS.

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