In CAD, a surface is an infinitely thin feature used to define complex shapes (think the curvy front end of a sports car). In fact, surface design is generally what gives most consumer products their aesthetic appeal.
How can designers create a manufacturable model when there’s no mass? Typically, you use tools and various editing techniques to thicken or otherwise create the solid model from the surface. Here is what you should know to master working with surfaces:
Copying and pasting a surface creates an overlay copy of the surface which you can then manipulate. You can select any surface or surface set (e.g., quilt or solid) to copy and paste. Surface set types include the following:
The offset surface remains dependent on the original surface. In addition to specifying the offset distance, you can flip the direction the surface is offset. When offsetting surfaces, the following options are available:
When creating an offset surface with the expand option, you must specify the surface quilt to be offset and the sketch that is to be expanded. The original surface is literally offset, so an expansion is seen on one side, and a depression is created on the other side. You can also offset with Draft Feature. This option is similar to the Offset Expand option, except it adds in the capability of the draft angle. You can flip the offset direction and also specify a draft angle for the expanded surface.
With the Thicken tool, you can offset a selected quit to create or remove material. The following basic controls are available:
You can use the Solidify tool to add solid material to a model, based on a surface quilt. Select the Fill with solid option in the dashboard. To solidify a surface quilt to add material, it must define an enclosed volume, for example either an enclosed quilt or an open quilt bounded by existing solid material.
Katelyn Stevens, Senior Content Marketing Specialist, has worked for PTC University since 2007. A graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA, she has her bachelor’s degree in English Literature with a concentration in Linguistics. Katelyn worked as a professional editor and manager for more than 10 years before switching over to content marketing. She is a regular contributor to the PTC University blog spot and writes in depth interviews and articles on emerging technologies in the education space. In addition, she manages PTC University’s social media platforms and creates original content as a thought leader in the industry. Katelyn currently resides on the south shore of Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and golden retriever.