I was wondering what the curvature mode shows you precisely, in the help file it is somewhat explained:

"You can display a part or assembly with the surfaces rendered in different colors according to the** local radius of curvature**. Curvature is defined as the reciprocal of the radius (1/radius), in current model units. By default, the greatest curvature value displayed is 1.0000, and the smallest value is 0.0010."

Some other programs use different terms, and have a few different modes of showing curvature with colours.

"Alias help file:

- Mean – Average the two principal curvatures at each point on the surface.
- Gaussian – Multiply the two principal curvatures at each point on the surface.
- Principal Min/Principal Max – Use the minimum or maximum curvature values (that is, the curvature of the steepest or flattest curves that pass through each point).

Mean or Gaussian curvature is most useful for detecting surface irregularities.

Principal Min or Max curvature is most useful for detecting inflection points."

Now...which of all these terms relates closest to what Solidworks is using?

and what do these all even really mean?

I am impressed the Help file said that much.

I have asked questions before about exactly how accurate SW curvature combs are and how it relates to the real world - ie how much to worry about the apparent waviness and the scaling...of course you never get an answer to things like this...but you can ponder it again as you read about it in some other application Help and it sets you wondering about the bits that are carefully guarded secrets in SW rather than open user knowledge...

At one time - now years ago- we were relatively happy IDers naively making simple wishes for finer control over splines and even daring to propose auto smoothing routines for combs etc etc. If I remember Think3 picked up on that idea...

Then there was a divine moment in the UI redesign department when the CAD world changed as they decided everyone should forget about technical ambitions and that curvature would be henceforth displayed by the relative curliness of hairy caterpillars. Apparently the existing curvature outline had suddenly become too inaccurate and boring to use.

I cant remember what the details of the last forum discussion about curvature display were about now... perhaps it was relative curvature where 2 surfaces meet..I seem to remember doing an illustration for an idea for it or something.

Anyway it turned out to be another one of those contributions we make in good faith only to be beaten down in the marketing priorities by the shininess of mouse gestures...

It would be nice to think that SW might eventually tackle such things as this and offer more display options but I fear they are about number 4832 on the list of enhancements. ie 19 releases away and all the original proposers will have long turned to dust....