14 Replies Latest reply on Aug 31, 2011 5:41 AM by Dusan Falar

    display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?

    Brent Racine

      I'm using SolidWorks to create a surface model of a welded structure from the manufacturing assembly model.  Some of my surfaces are centered, and some are offset.  I will move this model into ANSYS for analysis, and I need to know the direction to offset (Trial and error will work, but it's a real pain).

       

      Is there a way to make SolidWorks 2010 SP4 display different colors for the positive vs negative side of each surface body?  I do not have Simulation.

       

      Thanks

        • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
          Deepak Gupta

          You can color the surface as required. Right click on the surface and select appearance and then apply the required color.

           

          Not sure but try to use draft analysis if that works (View > Display > Draft analysis) as running a draft analysis will add color based on negative and positive draft.

            • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
              Brent Racine

              draft analysis is only showing me +/- relative to the part coordinate system, not the individual surface bodies.

               

              Thanks

                • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                  Deepak Gupta

                  Can you post your files here as how they look like and what exactly you need.

                    • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                      Brent Racine

                      No go on original files, but I've attached a simple example

                       

                      The way I defined these surface bodies, I expect one of them to have surface normal <0 1 0> and the other surface normal <0 -1 0>

                       

                      Each of these surfaces has 4 corners, 4 edges, and 2 faces.  Each face has a normal vector parallel to the surface normal, but one of the faces has opposite direction.  I am calling the face with the same normal vector as the surface the positive or front face, and the face with opposite normal the negative or back face.

                       

                      In the example, I am displaying  the planes with the front side blue and the back side kind of yellow.  I want to apply the same visualization from the planes to the surfaces.

                       

                       

                       

                      The Reason:

                      when I transfer the original file to ANSYS, I will have to input surface thicknesses and offsets.  Thicknesses are easy.  Offset magnitudes are easy.  Offset directions require me to determine surface directions.  My model has 150+ surface bodies, and perhaps 70 of them will require offsetting.  Working fast without distractions, I can probably get all 70 offset directions correct by trial and error in under an hour, but this is becoming a recurring problem in my life.  Could I just use all midplanes and skip the offsets? Yes, but that provides a new set of problems... lower accuracy on modal testing as model verification, more complicated connection elements, etc.  Any answer that involves "use SW Simulation" will not work for me since simulation is not NQA-1, 10CFR50, or 10CFR21 compliant.  I have to transfer to ANSYS, or I have to do it all by hand on paper.

                • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                  Charles Culp

                  To make sure we are clear. Each face has to have the same color on both sides. If it is a solid body, opposing faces can be colored as Deepak showed, however if it is just a surface body, each face can only have one color/appearance, and it will show on both sides. As far as I know this is ubiquitous between all 3D programs.

                    • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                      Brent Racine

                      I am working with surface bodies, not solids.  Are you saying SolidWorks surfaces only have one face, not two?

                       

                      I previously worked for a CATIA development partner company, and we had the ability to view surface normals, although that may have been an inhouse module.

                       

                      I have used software (can't for the life of me remember which package) that when I box selected a bunch of surfaces, the positive side would glow with the selection color, and the negative side would stay with the original color. 

                       

                      What I was hoping for was a document level setting, like with planes (tools>options>document properties>plane display), where the plus side gets color A and the minus side gets color B.  I think what I'm hearing is "SolidWorks doesn't do that."

                       

                      thanks.

                    • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                      Brent Racine

                      I sure do feel dumb now.

                       

                      As it turns out, the program I was talking about that highlights the front face of a surface and only the outline of the back surface is ANSYS (see attached).

                       

                      Still not as good as if SolidWorks would do the same, since it takes a while to transfer 3d geometry, and I want to look at the surfaces in conjunction with the 3d model for determining thicknesses and offsets.

                       

                      ANSYS has come a long way in user friendliness, but they've still got a lot of catching up to do.

                       

                      Thanks for everybody's input

                       

                      Brent

                      • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                        Matthew Perez

                        SW draft analysis has the ability to color surfaces different colors on different sides, but applying appearances does not.   Draft analysis and undercut analysis may help in the case for you.  Unfortunately you will need to select a reference plane(or face), but before you OK the Draft Analysis dialog, dragging the cursor over your surfaces will give you its angle relative to that plane(even on complex surfaces).  It might be a quick way to identify things but i dont believe its exactly what you are looking for.

                         

                        There is another round about way.  Deviation Analysis will show you face normal directions but you need to have an edge to select.  You can create these edges with splits but again this is going around your elbow to get to your thumb.  It will allow you to change colors depending on deviation degrees but it smore useful in other instances.

                         

                        Hopefully i understood your qeustion right.  Unfortunatly I couldnt open the 2010 file as im using 2009 on this machine.

                          • Re: display surface normal / surface direction / two colors per surface?
                            Dusan Falar

                            Hi all, I know it's quite a long time ago, but I make this topic back to a life because now I also needed to recognize the direction of the surface for sheetmetal simulation and found this discussion. I found that if I make the mesh for surface, the surface is collored by 2 colors as Brent requested - The grayed side is the top face of the elements (that may represent negative surface normals) and light brown/orange is the bottom face (this may represent positive surface normals). The top/botom can be switched, but only within the Solidworks FEA I guess. Hope this is helpful for You.

                            Surface normals.PNG