Hands-On With the New SolidWorks Power Surfacing Plug-in with Paul McCrorey


As previously reported by SolidSmack, the Power Surfacing for SolidWorks plug-in was bound to be a game changer for anybody looking to add a little more fun to their modeling workflow. Paul McCrorey of McCrorey Digital gave a presentation at SolidWorks World 2013 last week on using this powerful new plugin–specifically through giving us two real-world examples of modeling a spoon and a game controller. We also got a chance to interview Paul about working with Power Surfacing and how it might step up your workflow.

Using Power Surfacing for SolidWorks

In these two videos, Paul gives us the rundown of working with Sub-D in SolidWorks. For those of you with previous modo or other Sub-D modeling experience, things might look familiar to you:

Modeling a Spoon with the Power Surfacing plugin

Modeling a Game Controller with the Power Surfacing plugin

Interview with Paul McCrorey

How would you compare the new PowerSurface Plug-in to preexisting CAD loading systems with modo?

The PowerSurface Plug-in is totally contained within Solidworks. It is better than the PowerSubDtoNurbs plug-in in modo because you can edit the geometry in Solidworks. It is superior to tSElements because it has much more capable tools. tSElements can only select geom, push/pull points…PowerSurface can generate geometry, adding edge loops, beveling, extrusions, etc. You have all the tools you need to build an SDS model from scratch. Further, you have a larger set of manipulation tools.

Additionally, the plug-in will allow you to bring in an OBJ file AND manipulate the geometry. I don’t think tSElements will allow you to edit the geometry on an imported obj file.


What kind of a designer or engineer will find the most use out of the PowerSurface Plugin?

Any engineer or designer who uses SW surfacing will greatly benefit. Any engineer or designer who doesn’t use surfacing but would like to produce ergonomic shapes but hasn’t been able to produce them in SW surfacing.

Bottom line, anyone who may deal with swoopy shapes can benefit.

How easy is it to learn?

Part of the beauty of the plug-in is that is extremely intuitive. It is like molding clay. There are a few ‘rules’ to learn but then you can just start having fun. The user can take the complexity level to whatever level they feel comfortable. As things get more complex, the users will have to become more familiar with the nuances of SdS topology.

I am not a surfacing guy and have been able to produce some very complex shapes that are beautifully blended and fully integrated.


Anything else you’d like to mention about the PowerSurface Plug-in?

The combination of SDS modeling INSIDE of Solidworks is really revolutionary. The workflow advantages are the ability to take advantage of the best of SDS modeling (free-form organic shapes) and best of NURBS (CAD) modeling (details such as extrusions, fillets, cuts, etc “Hard surface features”). The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.

Feeling good about it? Try Power Surfacing for yourself here.

Paul McCrorey is a CG artist and Engineer who runs a 3DVisualisation company, McCrorey Digital, producing stunning visuals and animations. An ambidextrous thinker, Paul is a domain expert in the area between CAD and Ad 3D market sectors being able to speak both languages fluently. He is passionate about visual communications and helping people ‘get it’. He has written industry articles on the SDS and Nurbs modeling workflow. He has appeared in trade magazines such as Develop3D, Machine Design and 3D Artist. He’s also the Founder and President of the SolidWorks Louisville User Group.


About simon

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.

Simon on google+

  • Rob

    Very helpful, thanks a lot!

  • Kevin De Smet

    The game controller, how well does it Shell?

  • Adam

    I don’t have that model here, but it should shell really nicely. The only exceptions are very sharp cusps, which can cause failures. Otherwise shelling works beautifully.

  • diverso

    How much is this Plug-In? pretty awesome stuff.F

  • Paul McCrorey

    Model shells beautifully. Also – non surface guy Paul McCrorey was able to produce this…if it makes me look like I know what I am doing, you know it’s good stuff. :)

  • Paul McCrorey

    I know at Solidworks world, it was 700 ish…sale may still be going on…I think it will be in the $1500 price range

  • Adam

    Right now it’s in the $750

  • Jay

    Great Article, need to get my hands on the is plugin to test it out. Anyone interesting in solidworks cswp training, click the link below I have two tutorials around the exam. Hope they help. More are on the way

  • Ari

    Isn’t that gamepad Edgar Gidoni’s (AKA Ragde) original model?
    Just sayin’…

  • Pingback: Power Surfacing Plug-In for SolidWorks | Silicon Valley SolidWorks User Group

  • Roger

    From what I’ve seen in their site and their sample movie, the software doesn’t have built-in shell/offset commands, however, the other rival T-Spline for Rhino has an independent offset/shell.

  • Adam

    Why would you need that if SW has the same tool already built in?

  • Roger

    First of all, sorry for my bad information, I saw a demo which showed Thincken command in Power SUrfacing.
    Second, many NURBS poly-surfaces which are created in T-Spline or nPower cannot be shelled or offset in one go whether in Rhino or SolidWorks. You should do this while in tsplne edit mode or in subd edit mode. TSpline have offset command with which you can offset complex and organic shapes on the fly and easily in Rhino. Converting to NURBS wouldn’t allow you to offset those poly-surfaces.

  • Adam

    True, but a SubD offset is not a true dimensional offset, which may mean variable wall thicknesses. In many cases this won’t matter, but it’s important to be aware of it.