If your nerves, family or free-time have been affected by the frenzy of the shiny new iPad from Apple, you’re not alone. In less than a month Apple sold over 1 million of the 10″ touch-screen tablets.

However, only a small percent of those people are obsessed with getting a 3D model of the iPad design, and it looks like you are one of them. Not a problem, because Mike Puckett from SolidWorks took on the task and has made his iPad model available for download. He tells us the process he used, plus offers a challenge…

Can you render it? The winner takes away a 3DConnexion Space Navigator. Download below.

Mike, Why the heck did you model the iPad and how did you choose to go about modeling it?

I was originally looking for the iPad cad drawings on the Internet like the ones you had for the iPhone, but couldn’t seem to find them. So, with that, I used iPad images from the Apple site, and measured the smaller dimensions using a pair of 6 inch calipers and the iPad I have.

Since joining SolidWorks I don’t get to spend as much time in the software as I used too, so Jeremy [Luchini – Certification Program Manager] encourages us to spend some time every now and then to stay fluent. I like to pick one item a month and model it from scratch and the iPad just seemed a fun project. I also wanted to model and 3D print a stand for it to use on the airplane since I travel so much, but I haven’t got that far yet!

When you modeled the iPhone you really showed one of the nice things about surface modeling. There are lots of different ways to use surfacing tools to create models. Is there really a right or wrong way? I like to think not, as long as the geometry is correct. It really depends on how you want it to look. In the case of the iPad the corners on the back are the most complex, but if you look at the model, all it is, is a filled surface. Of course it took me a few iterations to arrive at the solution I did, but again, that’s the nature of surface modeling. I’m sure someone like Mark Biasotti would tackle it a different way, just as you would probably do the same.

The key to get the shape I did on the corners really comes from the back surface. At first it was a surface with square corners, but with the sharp corner going down into the round corner, it just didn’t look right. So I changed the square corners to rounded corners, and the filled surface looked great. Instead of creating an assembly, I created a multi-body part and assigned different materials to each body, a great feature added in SolidWorks 2010, which I used to create the model.

The model itself will more then likely sit on my hard drive for a while, although I did post it to 3DContentCentral where a few people have already downloaded it. At first I had just put it on 3DVIA.com, but someone asked me if I could post the model so they could design some accessories for it. It may also end up in a presentation, or a blog post in the future, and may even end up in a future release of the surfacing exam.

So for now it’s online for anyone to download and play with, and I think it would be cool to see how others would go about modeling it. It would also be cool to see some nice renderings of it.

Great idea Mike. Renderings. How about it? Take a stab at rendering the iPad. Best rendering will win a 3DConnexion Space Navigator. Download the model below and send the rendering into josh@www.solidsmack.com with the subject line “iPad Rendering Contest”. You don’t have to used SolidWorks and feel free to render it in whatever you like. Just let us know what you used. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 21st (midnight CST)

green arrow downloadDownload Mike’s iPad Model (SolidWorks)

green arrow downloadDownload Mike’s iPad Model (.STEP)

If you’re wanting to develop accessories or cases for iPads and create your own iPad model, you can start at the Apple Developer Site with these dimensional drawings.


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, 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.