6 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2014 9:40 AM by Chris Dordoni

    How would you model this?

    Charles Fried



      So I've been using solidworks for a few years and recently built myself an fdm printer.

      I want to start modelling little more "arty"  stuff in solidworks a bit like this.

      Is Solidworks really not the program for it? Something is telling me T-splines in rhino would be ideal but the though of learning two new software is really off putting.

      If not how would you go about modelling something like this?


      Thanks in advance for the advice!



        • Re: How would you model this?
          Eric Irwin

          You could start by drawing a mushroom and then spend a lot of time with the Freeform (Insert/Surface/Freeform) tool.  It will take a lot of time, but it may be possible.

          • Re: How would you model this?
            Mark Kaiser

            That would not be something to do in SW.  Really not sure if any MCAD software would be good for this.

            • Re: How would you model this?
              Andrew Kronquist

              I would use the free version Sculptris by Zbrush for that kind of work. You start with a "clay" ball, and work it like clay with your tools. After that you need to convert it to .stl using Meshmixer so you can slice it up for your printer.

                • Re: How would you model this?
                  Chris Dordoni

                  T-Splines and Power Nurbs (Power Surfacing) for that matter, use the polys for pushing around a nurbs surface in ways you can't do easily with standard nurbs tools. They are not really intended to convert poly models to Nurbs. They both have limits to the amount of polys they can handle, and that limit is far lower than anything you would get from 3d scanning or sculpting in ZBrush or other poly modeler.


                  If the intent is to 3d print this only, do it in a poly modeling program.


                  If you really needed the sculptural shape as nurbs (ie for tooling), you would still model it in polys, then use a high end tool such as Geomagic Studio or RapidForm to convert polys to nurbs.

                    • Re: How would you model this?
                      Charles Fried

                      Thanks for all your answers!


                      Ok, just so I can understand this properly;

                      Poly modelling refers to shape generated from triangle surfaces? ( Best for 3D Graphics)

                      Nurbs shape are generated from mathematical calculations based on curves? ( Best for accurate modeling)


                      What category does Solidworks fall into?


                      Could you suggest a software most suited for creating artistic shapes with some level of accuracy control?

                        • Re: How would you model this?
                          Chris Dordoni

                          Polygon modelers use triangles, or coplanar surfaces made of more than 3 points. The 4 point poly is often referred to as a quad, and is generally preferred because it produces the best rendering results.


                          There are some poly modelers that are CAD like in that thay allow you to draw or move things at specific distances or angles, and allow you to get this information about specific parts of your model. 3DSMax, Cinema4D, Modo, Hexagon (and others) give very good numerical control, similar to CAD.


                          ZBrush, Sculptris and other more "organic" modelers give you very good control over the surface to make it look the way you want, but don't have the tools put things at specific distances or angles.


                          Nurbs modelers like SolidWorks, use mathematical curves to describe objects. The tools they provide for freeform surfacing (ie sculpting) are very limited. Which is why there are products now like T-Splines and Power Subd Nurbs, so you can get control of the nurbs surface using a poly model as a base object that can be manipulated as polys.