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Pushing and Pulling Shapes in xShape

Rotating a chair built in SOLIDWORKS xShape

Rotating a chair built in SOLIDWORKS xShape

What Is xShape?

xShape is an exciting cloud-based subdivision modeling tool that runs on a browser on the 3DExperience Platform. xShape allows users to generate freeform shapes in 3D using a workflow that feels more like sculpting than CAD modeling.

After creating a model in xShape, users can import the model into SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD and add additional prismatic features to complete the design. This SOLIDWORKS to xShape connection is ideal for creating manufacturing-ready or 3D printing-ready models. Additionally, the relationship between the two modeling apps allows users to change the organic model within the xShape app and then reload that model into SOLIDWORKS.

xShape launch screen from a user's interface

What Are the Advantages of xShape?

The main advantage of xShape is the user’s ability to maintain continuous curvature from one face to another. A finalized xShape model has smooth continuous surfaces without visible edges, blemishes, wrinkles, or deformations. This smoothness comes from the ability to sculpt, or push and pull, a shape to form it rather than the traditional method of combining individual faces.

Users can achieve a similar smoothness with standard, more traditional surfacing techniques. However, it is a lengthy process, and each surface must be modeled separately, then knitted together. Further, matching one surface face’s edges to another can be problematic to achieve a high-quality continuous surface.

xShape’s subdivision modeling removes this burden. With subdivision modeling, the faces maintain their continuous curvature automatically. This constant curvature ensures a smooth surface finish, which most modern consumer product designs require.

Combining the organic modeling features of xShape with the standard surfacing techniques of SOLIDWORKS allows for a wide range of flexibility and possibilities for industrial designers.

The xShape "robot" used for pushing and pulling shape faces

How Do You Push and Pull Surfaces?

Modeling within xShape starts with a primitive shape. For the most part, this shape will either closely resemble your final model or allow you to achieve your final model more easily.

Once you place your foundational shape within the workspace, you can subdivide it. The subdivision of a shape allows the designer to select an edge or a face with a “Robot.” The “Robot” resembles a triad that enables users to push, pull or scale any surface selected with it.

xShape users can orient the “robot” in several directions on any edge or face of the model. After that, you can then drag, push or scale the edge(s) or face(s) as needed. It’s that simple, much like art; you need to visualize the end shape as you progress through your design. The process resembles that of shaping clay but in a virtual environment.

A computer mouse modeled using xShape and rotating

If I Can Model the Concept in xShape, Why Do I Need SOLIDWORKS?

xShape is not a replacement for SOLIDWORKS, but it enhances SOLIDWORKS. It will allow designers more freedom during the design process and save them hours when creating complex surfaces with standard surfacing tools.

SOLIDWORKS allows you to use all of the other tools needed for the prismatic features and add any additional accessories or components required to make the design functional.

SOLIDWORKS also has exceptional drawing capabilities to document your design for manufacturability. There are no drawing capabilities within xShape. It is only used to create the organic shape and provides additional tools to refine your 3D model.

Can I Install xShape on My PC?

xShape runs on a web browser, so if you have access to the internet, you have access to xShape. There is no software to install, and it runs on any device with an internet connection.

By now, you may have many questions not addressed within this blog. For example: How do I gain access to xShape? Can I lease it, is it a SAAS product (software as a service), and how much does it cost?

If you are already using SOLIDWORKS, you can leverage this technology. If you do not, we have a version of SOLIDWORKS you can have installed, but there are PC requirements to run SOLIDWORKS, and it is installed locally on your PC. We can address these questions and provide any training courses if needed.

Want to learn more? Connect with us.

Alternatively, check out our Release Your Creativity with xShape and SOLIDWORKS webinar.