I am sure that more than one person here has purchased Mr Matt
Lombard's Solidworks 2007 Bible. Without ever having seen it, I would
almost bet that he covers the subject of Surface Geometry it's fair
portion. I would appreciate it if someone here who has purchased it
would tell me if it is written more for the beginner to surfaces, or
to the intermediate user.
I like to think that after having used Solidworks for several years,
that I have a fair amount of experience in Solidworks Solid Geometry,
and yet I am not proud to say that the few presentations on Curvy
Stuff and Surfaces in general, that are on the Internet right now,
obviously presented by a brilliant individual, are simply beyond my
skills. I don't even begin to understand much from them and it is
more than plain that I personally would need some presentations or
tutorials geared more towards the fundamentals of it all and the
If anyone here knows of any books, videos or presentations covering
the rudiments of Surfaces, for us neophytes, I am sure that more than
several of us would at least start at the ABC's of the subject, and
hopefully get to the next level where the information and literature
that is available right now would be understandable.
Thanking you all is,
Yes, the bible has a chapter which deals with surface features. Yes, it
starts from what I consider "the beginning", and helps you get your feet
wet with simple surfaced models and builds to the more complex. It has a
section which deals with the terminology which sometimes people writing
about surfacing tend to forget that other SolidWorks users are not
This chapter does not assume that "surfacing" and "complex shapes" are
the same. In fact, it treats "surfacing" as simply a set of surface
feature tools which include the simplest types like Extruded and Planar,
as well as the more complex types, and explains how they work and how to
use them. The chapter is 35 printed pages with 3 tutorials (one easy,
one intermediate and one advanced) along with several examples
(including SW part files on the CD).
This chapter does not get into how to create complete organic models and
all of the intricacies involved. I only had one chapter for the topic,
and I don't pretend it to be more than it is. Another book of 1000 pages
could be written on the tools and techniques and considerations at play
in complex modeling.
Below I have excerpted some of the material (pre-edited state) from the
beginning of the surfacing chapter to give you a flavor for where it is
going. Throughout the book are scattered references to surface
techniques, but most of the "how to" info is concentrated in this one
I go on to talk about terminology, and then to identify and give
examples of each tool.
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, but only the property of 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, 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 can not get the most power possible out of the car by only pressing
harder on the gas pedal, you have to get under the hood and tinker a
little. In a way, that is what working in surfaces is really all about.
With surfaces, you deconstruct the solid, put it together face by face,
and build a new solid.
Surface modeling can start from a blank screen, native SolidWorks solid
and surface features which have been built side by side, or from a
native or imported solid which has been deconstructed into surfaces
The goal of most surface modeling is to finish with a solid. In the same
way in which we learned to refer to solids as “solid bodies”, surface
features can also be knit together into a single contiguous body. This
does not happen by default, however. Solid features, by default, if they
touch one another and can form a single body are automatically merged
into a single body. Surface features do not do this automatically, in
fact, most surface features do not even have the option to be knit (the
surface equivalent of the solid “merge”) together, but require an
additional Knit feature to do this.
Why Do You Need Surfaces?
In the end, you may never really need surfaces. It is possible to
perform workarounds using solids to do most of the things most users
need to do. On the other hand, many of these workarounds are highly
inefficient and very cumbersome. You may not now look at some typical
things that you do as being inefficient and cumbersome, but once you see
the alternatives, you may change your mind. The goal for this chapter is
to introduce surfacing functions for people who do not typically use
surfaces, and for every day modeling. Here I am not trying to show how
surfaces are used in the context of creating complex shapes, although
the same techniques can be used regardless of the complexity of the shape.
The word “surfacing” has often been used (and confused) synonymously
with the creation of complex shapes. Not all surface work is done to
create complex shapes, and many complex shapes can be made directly from
solids. Many users think that because they do not make complex shapes,
they never have a need to use surface features. This chapter shows
mainly examples which are not complex shapes, in situations where
surfaces make it easier, more efficient, or simply possible to do the
While some of the uses of surfaces may not be immediately obvious, by
the end of this chapter, you should have enough information and
applications that you can start experimenting to increase your confidence.
Well I got my copy on Saturday, and I too, do not use many of the Solidworks
But now I will have a go!
I sat down yesterday with a cup of coffee, to have a quick browse, 3 hours
later I was still reading it!
Yes I know, I'm a sad techy, lol
Many thanks Matt, this book, will help me a lot, from what I have read so
I received my copy last week. It's written for all levels IMO. I've
actually started reading it from front to back because I've found that
there are little things that I didn't know about, or have simply
forgotten about. Some things are new to me entirely on the other
hand, and are well explained. It's priced very well for what it
offers to the end user, SolidWorks should really consider hiring Matt
and paying him to do their literature instead! :-)
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