Subdivision modeling is a completely different workflow from your typical CAD with parametric dimensions and history-based feature trees. In this tutorial, I will walk through the steps of designing a new handle using sub-d designing in xShape from start to end.
We will start by giving the project a name. We will select Insert New Component into the Assembly and call it “new handle concept”. The first step, to give me a guide for this Sub-D model, I’ll insert a picture. In this case, it is a hand-sketch that was done ahead of time. A napkin sketch. I will use my on-screen points to adjust the scale of this image to those points. I’m going to put this in place so that it covers that new battery pack in our assembly, and this picture will serve as our guide as we design this new component.
The subdivision modeling starts with a primitive shape, and this is really the starting point. It’s not important what shape you pick at first because you can always go in and make more changes. The shape changes rather quickly. From this point, it’s a lot of picks and clicks, and you’ll notice it is completely different than what you might be expecting to see in the traditional SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software.I’m starting to make some selectable faces and edges that are going to help me later in my design for things that I am pushing and pulling on much in the same way as an artist modeling clay. The Quadball is now stretched out and we have a different a shape forming. I can crease some of these edges to remove the surface continuity. When I do that, it’s going to leave behind these blue edges (shown in the image below) to let me know that those are no longer the same smooth, continuous surfaces that we are seeing everywhere else. I’ll do that again at the top of the model – just to a few of these faces. I will subdivide them further with a quick box selection. I can subdivide them, meaning I’m inserting a new ring of faces.
Learn more in this article “What is xShape and how does it work?” >>
Next, I am going to make use of different selection types, and I also want to make use of symmetry on this model so I can apply symmetry across the YZ plane. That’s going to leave behind a green outline to let me know where the symmetry has been applied. We’ll crease one more set of edges along the side. And these edges that I’m creasing are ultimately going to be dividing the faces on the side of our model. At this point, it’s not looking like an ergonomic handle yet, but we are getting there.
I need to start scaling down that size before I make the shape more ergonomic. Let’s show the bounding box and I can make a non-uniform scale of my bounding box just to re-constrain myself to my goal dimensions. Next, I am going to move it in place. I really want that left edge to be in line with the front plane where our image is sitting. Now comes the real magic of xDesign. I’ve done some setup, creasing some edges. When you start selecting faces and dragging them with the triad, you will get pushing and pulling. So, I’ll go around here and select some of these side faces and change my triad to my X, Y, Z directions. Then I’ll start pushing it down to try and match up with the solid black lines on my guide image. And then it’s just a matter of pulling on my points and edges until it starts to look like the product I had envisioned when I sketched it on a napkin. This is revolutionary when you consider how long this may have taken if you were using standard surface modeling tools.
Read more in this blog “The Cutting Edge of Design: Design Changes in xShape” >>
For those of you who are familiar with surface lofts and boundaries, you might be thinking, how long would this have taken me in SOLIDWORKS? The answer is a long time. We are able to save a significant amount of time using these tools, and it’s a completely different workflow than entering those parameters for every single feature.
I’ve noticed, I creased these front faces so they’re flat. In order to make them match up with the front plane, I will highlight the area and align them using the Line Align tool. That will snap them all into a straight line that I can move and scale, and I will put that in place. Another type of alignment I can do is a line by curve. I can sketch a loosely-shaped curve and use the Sketch Quick Align tool. Next, I am going to add a finger grip on the bottom. I can add an extrusion. It’s going to just take the face and extrude it with surrounding faces. I’ll scale it down to make the end face a little smaller, take it in at the sides and add more tweaks until the position of the edges are all complete.
Finally, I want to look at the model from the top. I’ve been mostly working on the side face. So, when I look at it from the top, the shape is still consistent from left to right. To make this more ergonomic, I want to select Edge Loops that run around the model and I’m going to shrink the loop a little bit towards the front, and then I’ll take the loop towards the back and scale that out. Now that my model is complete, I can exit my subdivision modeling environment. This adds two features to our tree but it’s not that history-based feature manager you might be thinking of when you think of CAD and SOLIDWORKS. Lastly, my next task is to update our SOLIDWORKS assembly of the carving knife with this new shape.