Oh, the undulating waves of SolidWorks surfacing bliss! Yeeeeah… ‘bliss’ is hardly the word one would use when creating advanced surfaces in SolidWorks. We thought that would all change with the T-Splines plugin, but a new plugin on the SolidWorks block is about to make a big splash. Next week at SolidWorks World, Integrityware will officially launch Power Surfacing for SolidWorks, a plugin that bring freeform (SubD) surfacing to SolidWorks. This is the real stuff folks. Plus, it’s already available for purchase.

John-Picinich-ring-power-surfacing
Signet Ring created by John Picinich using Power Surfacing for SolidWorks

Power Surfacing for SolidWorks

First, Integrityware brought you Power SubD-NURBS for modo. We sensed hope for working with CAD geometry, but for those who wish to avoid working in another modeling package, it just wasn’t ideal. Integrityware was smart enough to realize this and also pick up on the dismal vibe flowing from the T-Splines acquisition by Autodesk. Hence, Power Surfacing for SolidWorks. The integration and the amount of features in this plugin is nowhere shy of comprehensive. It’s integrated with the SolidWorks Ribbon bar, has it’s own Property Manager and Context menu.

power-surfacing-solidworks-menu

It works just as you’ve likely dreamt of surfacing to work in a 3D CAD package like SolidWorks and if you’re already familiar with SubD modeling software like modo, the tools and surface manipulation will be second nature. You start by creating a Control Mesh from a SolidWorks sketch. From there you have the ability to extrude or create edge loops, with menu options for selection and modifying faces and edges. Each Control Mesh you create acts as a separate feature in the SolidWorks FeatureManager Design Tree. Once you finish editing the SubD surface, the plugin converts it to a NURBS surface that you can then be used as a base for additional features Like other features in the history of the Design Tree, you can go back to edit and change the SubD surface with any child features created after it updating.

power-surfacing-solidworks-convert
The Power Surface SubD geometry is converted to a NURBS surface for use in SolidWorks.

Power Surfacing Workflow

One great feature about this plugin is that you’re not limited to what you create in SolidWorks or what you can import from other packaged. You have the ability to work with both and between the two. Power Surfacing provides SolidWorks users with two primary workflows:

  • Import Workflow:
    1. Import Sub-D models from products such as Modo, 3DS Max, Blender, Z-Brush and Maya
    2. Make adjustments to the shape, surface grouping, and edge creasing of the imported objects
    3. Convert to SolidWorks NURBS bodies then apply standard SolidWorks features such as holes, bosses, fillets, shell, etc.
    4. Optionally export modified Sub-D models in a Sub-D compatible format (*.obj and *.fbx)
  • Design Workflow:
    1. Create initial Power Surfacing objects inside of SolidWorks using a sketch as a reference
    2. Design the shape using the Power Surfacing tools provided inside of SolidWorks environment
    3. Convert the shape to SolidWorks NURBS body
    4. Apply standard SolidWorks features such as holes, bosses, fillets, shell, etc. to theconverted body
    5. Edit the Power Surface shape and the subsequent SolidWorks Features get reapplied in most cases automatically without user intervention

I’ll stop here to complain that functionality like this should have been in SolidWorks since multibodies were possible, but I’m glad to see it now so well integrated into the SolidWorks interface. Power Surfacing for SolidWorks is already available for a a pre-launch price of $750 at the Integrityware web store. A pricey plugin, especially if that’s the pre-launch price, but still a price many would justify to have that surfacing capability within SolidWorks. You?

You may remember Mark Biasotti mention the use of Power Surfacing in the post SolidWorks Doesn’t Do Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

“using Power Surfacing was a refreshing change and with far fewer features as compared to the 2400 feature car body file. I have to say that Sub-D modeling for objects like these really saves time and puts the word “fun” back into modeling.”

I’d agree. Here’s a 15 minute video that breaks down the process of creating and working with surfaces uses the plugin. What for the launch next week and if you’re at SolidWorks World next week, you can see Power Surfacing in action at Integrityware booth #1012 on the right side of the Exhibition hall.

Filed under: CAD NEWS

  • http://twitter.com/quigdes Kevin Quigley

    Josh at $750 this is a bargain! The alternatives for SDS workflows are:

    SolidWorks+tsElements ($495)+SDS modeller like Modo ($1195)

    or

    SolidWorks+Rhino($800)+TSplines for Rhino ($645)

    And those are USA prices…In the UK tsElements is £475 plus tax, TSplines is £625 and Rhino is around £800 – Modo is the same (funny that, how a small software business can manage one worldwide price from a WEB STORE!!). But price alone is not the issue. With these other tools, you have to invest serious time in learning Rhino/Tsplines and/or Modo modelling.

    Over the last 2 years this is exactly what we did – we have tsElements, Rhino and Modo. Yet I still bought this plug in, because it finally offers what was promised with Tsplines – within SolidWorks.

    I have used this product for a couple of weeks now and in that time not even opened Rhino/Tsplines….and that’s the thing. This product will kill sales of tsElements (assuming there are any). Why would you buy it now when Power Surfacing offers so much more for the same price (or less if you live outside the USA).

  • Adam

    So excited about this… it’s a game-changer, particularly the fact that it accommodates both import-based and native-modeling (not to mention hybrid) workflows. I’m most def saving me up some $750!

  • Josh M

    Thanks Kevin, yeah, I started looking at those numbers too. Definitely a deal. There’s no way I’m getting TsElements.

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    Conversion to NURBS appears to be slow even on the simple model shown in the video. Is conversation able to use multi-threading? Is multi-threading planned for the future? Pretty much everything in CAM these days is going the multi-threaded route.

    I wonder why the SolidWorks Triad isn’t used and instead IntegrityWare uses their own?

    Integration with the SolidWorks UI looks very good.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    TSElements for SolidWorks and HSMWorks for SolidWorks both have very questionable/shaky futures despite what Autodesk or HSMWorks resellers claim.

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn

  • http://jbaredesign.com/ jeff bare

    good looking curvy stuff. I’d trade half my modo license for that. I like being able to stay comfy in one program and not have my workflow jumping back and forth between others.

    I wonder about using more than 1 reference sketch on different planes.

    And I 2nd Josh’s complaint of this not being built by Solidworks ages ago. Thank you Integrityware.

  • Mark Biasotti

    You can create and edit multiple power surface features (Sub-D’s) within your history of your Feature Tree.

  • Kevin De Smet

    I would have been much more impressed if it wasn’t for PTC’s Freestyle in Creo, they did already nearly a year ago and it’s official; not some plug-in from a third party vendor.

    Never the less, it looks good and I’m glad something is here for SolidWorks! the T-Splines plug-in was lacklustre anyway because you had to rely on data import.

  • Adam

    This is actually way more capable than the PTC offering. I wouldn’t be able to use Creo Freestyle for various technical reasons, but this is perfect!

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    Agree very strongly that it would be much better if this wasn’t a plug-in and that PTC not using a plug-in for Freestyle is a big advantage.

    There are several third party plug-in’s that SolidWorks should buy / should have purchased years ago. One is CAMWorks.

  • Scott Jones

    Catia V5 has had a module called imagine and Shape for about 7 years now.

    Why are they against sharing this technology with solidworks.

  • Adam

    I don’t think they’re against it, they just can’t easily port it so long as CATIA and SW are on different kernels. Once SW makes the jump to the V6 kernel, IMA technology should be available to them.

  • Ben_Druce

    Yeesh! NPower Website update req’d.

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    Hopefully that will change soon after SolidWorks World 2013 is over.

  • Rob

    Finally a integrated free surfacing solution! And 750,- is a bargain indeed, just bought it.

  • Josh M

    cool Rob. Would love to see what you do with it!

  • Alex

    Got it. Only used it for an hour so far and like it a lot. Very simple to pick up.

  • http://jonbanquer.blogspot.com/ Jon Banquer

    Best stuff I have found so far on IntegrityWare’s Power Surfacing For SolidWorks:

    http://vimeo.com/58013292

    http://vimeo.com/58014188

    Jon Banquer
    CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LInkedIn

  • http://www.facebook.com/rdchilders Roy Dale Childers

    I was hoping for this back in 2005 when I first bought SolidWorks. I kept trying to find the commands that would make it work this way. I frustrated many a tech support person by asking them how and why.

  • Peter

    Off to buy this now. Finally may be able to model something more complex than a metal bracket without writing the CAD equivalent of War and Peace.

    At $750 it’s worth a punt.