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Despite the addition of a range of surfacing tools in mid-range, design-centric modellers such as Solid Edge, SolidWorks and Inventor 4, there can still be times when parts of a product need more extensive freeform design capabilities.
From a 25 year background of developing a surface modelling technology, MultiSurf for designing ships and boats, AeroHydro Inc.
now offer mainstream Windows native surface modelling packages.
Principally launched as an add-in for SolidWorks, it is also available as a stand-alone package offering the same modelling functionality under the name SurfaceWorks Solo.
A SolidWorks Integration Module is also available to allow stand-alone users to upgrade from Solo to a fully integrated SolidWorks solution if requirements change.
Aimed primarily at mechanical engineering and industrial design applications, extensive tutorials are available to explain the intricacies of surface modelling, such as tangency control, given their significant differences to solid modelling.
The SurfaceWorks modeller can be launched independently or from within SolidWorks in which case sketch entities can be pre-selected for transfer.
Bi-directional associativity ensures that any edits in either modeller can be automatically reflected in the other so that for instance changing the size envelope of the mechanical elements of a design in SolidWorks can drive the surfaces based on it.
The required surfaces can be selected for returning to SolidWorks, subsequently appearing in the feature manager as imported surfaces that can be used in any appropriate SolidWorks commands such as cut with surface or thicken into a solid.
Right clicking any such surfaces in the Feature Manager allows them to be reopened directly in SurfaceWorks.