Chapter 27. Working with Surfaces


  • Why do you need surfaces?

  • Understanding surfacing terminology

  • What surface tools are available?

  • Using surfacing techniques

  • Tutorial: Working with surfaces

From a CAD point of view, a solid is defined as the volume enclosed by a surface boundary. To enclose a volume, the boundary must have no gaps or overlaps. The skin or surface of the boundary itself is infinitely thin, and has no volume, although it has a surface area. In this way, surfaces are one of the building blocks of solids.

In many respects, there are no real differences between a solid model and a surface model. If you export a SolidWorks part to IGES format and read it into another capable modeler, or even back into SolidWorks, then that file can be read in as either a solid or a surface. There is no way to distinguish which it was when it left the originating modeler. The real difference between the two is how the modeler handles the data internally.

It is possible to drive a car without knowing how the engine works, but you cannot get the most possible power out of the car by only pressing harder on the gas pedal; you have to get under the hood and make adjustments. In a way, that is what working with surfaces is really all about.

Surface modeling can start from a blank screen, from imported geometry, from native SolidWorks solid and surface features that have been built side by side, or from a native or imported solid that has been deconstructed into surfaces.

The goal of most ...

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