Sometimes when you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can throw mashed potatoes through a propeller blade. Or, you can throw propellers through a wall of mashed potatoes. Other times, you can sit down for a few minutes and model up a propeller in SolidWorks while eating mashed potatoes.

Azim Hamid did just that, although, in his case, I don’t believe overcooked starches were any part of the process. Nonetheless, he’s put together a video that takes you through the steps of creating some bladed bliss using a very unique feature in SolidWorks – one you may not be too familiar with.

Model a Propeller

You can view the quick 5 minute video tutorial on Azim’s YouTube channel. It’s worth the repeated watch, because it goes into the setting of the Flex command in SolidWorks. You can use the feature to bend, twist, taper and stretch a solid along an axis. Azim shows you how. In addition, you can download the propeller [SolidWorks 2011 file] from Azim’s GrabCAD page.

Do you use The Flex Command?

If you’ve ever wanted to form your models like mashed taters, the Flex command gives you just the right amount of options. While it gives you quite a few fields for numerical adjustment, there are no point to point type of adjustments to make the model follow along a certain edge or surface. That’s about the only thing I can think of that would make this a better feature. You’re also limited to using Flex on bodies… not to big of a deal. Simply makes sure you create multiple bodies (uncheck “Merge Results” in the FeatureManager) when creating a feature if you want the Flex feature to only affect certain portions of your model. How do you use it?

Uing the flex feature allows you to bend, twist, taper or stretch solid geometry. (Click to Enlarge)
Uing the flex feature allows you to bend, twist, taper or stretch solid geometry. (Click to Enlarge)

Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.