Cloud-Based 3D Design with xApps – Part 4: 3D Sculptor and 3D Creator

   By Sarah Taylor on September 6, 2021

In this part of our 3DEXPERIENCE platform circular saw project, we are designing the handgrip for the front of the saw.  The handgrip needs to be ergonomic, and therefore will require the main grip body to be a smooth, organic shape. We will also need more rigid parametric features for the base, stem and mounting holes. So to accomplish all this we are going to utilize design tools from the 3D Sculptor Role (xShape) and 3D Creator Role (xDesign) to create our component. Let’s get started!

See the below video for the full handgrip design process using 3D Sculptor and 3D Creator for this phase of our circular saw design!

Watch full video playlist.

In this article:

Starting in xShape

We will begin by opening the assembly in xShape, the modeling xApp included with the 3D Sculptor Role. Our goal in xShape is to form the ergonomic handgrip feature. One approach when working with subdivision modeling is to start with a rough sketch to use as a guide. We have already sketched out our idea for the main body’s profile shape and size, so now we will insert that scanned image into the modeling environment.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Adding a Sketch to the Modeling Environment

>>  Related Article: What is xShape and How Does it Work?

Inserting and Manipulating a Primitive Shape

The first step in subdivision modeling is to insert a “primitive shape”. This is the starting shape of the body, which is then manipulated through freeform pushing, pulling and dragging of entities on the body. Here, we are starting with the primitive shape of a cylinder.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Inserting a Primitive Shape

We will need to reorient and resize this cylinder to make it more like the elliptical profile we had in mind from my original hand-drawn sketch. We will apply a 90-degree rotation so that the cylinder is horizontal, and in the image below you can see the new elliptical shape and size of the body after applying a non-uniform scale.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Applying a Non-Uniform ScaleThen, we will drag the body into place and rotate it so that it matches up with the guide image.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Using Guide ImageOnce the body is in place, I am going to select the outer edges and use the quick scale on the triad to shrink the selected entities. Then, I’ll drag the selected edges down and back. This quickly produces a unique freeform shape which would be far more time-consuming using parametric surface modeling tools.

3DEXPERIENCE xShape Quick Scale3DEXPERIENCE xShape Dragging EdgesSwitching to xDesign

To create the stem and base for the handgrip, we will switch over to xDesign, where we can add sketch-based, parametric features. This is the modeling app included with the 3D Creator Role. Switching to xDesign from xShape is easy – just press “x” on the keyboard. The same file will remain active for editing, but an entirely different set of design tools will be available.3DEXPERIENCE Switching from xShape to xDesign

>>  Related Article: An Introduction to SOLIDWORKS xDesign

Creating In-Context Features

For the base of the handgrip, we want the profile shape to match up perfectly with an existing face on the outer red housing of the saw. We can create an in-context feature that uses the existing face as the profile input for an extrusion, rather than creating a new, separate 2D sketch. Using this face as the profile for the Extrude tool means that if the geometry of the original red face is ever modified, the new extrusion will be updated as well.

3DEXPERIENCE xDesign In-Context FeaturesThe next feature will be an elliptical profile extruded “up to” the handgrip body.

3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Elliptical Profile3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Elliptical Profile ExtrudedUtilizing Super Features

Super Features are a unique capability in xDesign which allow the user to edit an existing feature and change what type of feature it is (i.e., Extrude, Revolve or Sweep). This way, the user does not have to delete the original feature and add in a different one, which often leads to broken downstream references. For the handgrip, we decided on a curved, sweeping stem, rather than a straight extrude. After sketching a Sweep Path, we simply edited the original Extrude feature and changed it to a Sweep.

3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Sweep Path3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Change Feature to SweepFinishing Touches

In order to mount this handgrip to the outer housing, we will add a few cuts and holes to the base. 
3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Adding Holes3DEXPERIENCE xDesign Hand Grip Design

And lastly, add some fillets to smooth out any sharp edges. Upon saving this file, the latest version of the assembly and the handgrip will instantly be available for the rest of our team.

If you want to create shapes and curves for an ergonomic or organic-shaped design that you just can’t get with traditional solid modeling, the 3D Sculptor Role on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is the solution of choice. Learn more in the below on-demand webinar “Next-Gen 3D Modeling – Understanding 3D Sculptor and xShape!”


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Sarah Taylor

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