Freeform Modeling in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design

Conceptual design of stylized products often starts with hand sketches, and may involve several disconnected software applications for sketching, surface modeling, and sharing the concepts with others.

SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer streamlines that process with a unified workspace where hand sketches, photos, and even existing 3D models can be combined.  Our client has provided some initial artwork and a 3D assembly.  They need our help designing a new body for this electric carving knife.


Traditional parametric surfacing tools are not always the best choice for generating quick concepts of complex shapes.  In SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer, we use freeform modeling to easily sculpt the shape of the knife handle.  It all starts with placing a primitive shape such as a cube or cylinder.

Now the fun begins.  Using the on-screen manipulator, we can easily translate, rotate and scale the various control points to match our existing artwork.


Manually adjusting the control points with the triad is easy, but the patented Quick Align tool makes the freeform shaping even easier by matching the form to a mouse or pen stroke.


SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer generates freeform shapes with C2 curvature continuity.  This helps designers create great looking models.  However, sometimes a hard edge is needed.  The crease tool works great for creating sharp edges, like this parting line.


With a few more push/pull adjustments, we’ve got a nice looking shape.  We can use some of the built in shading styles to display this concept with a little artistic flair.


Come to think of it, as easy as it was to model this first idea, we might as well keep going.  With just a few push/pull adjustments to the shape, here is an alternate concept to present to the client.

Coming up with multiple design ideas is fast and easy, and our client should be impressed with the quick turnaround.  No matter which one they choose, we will deliver a great looking product and shorten the overall development cycle.

Stay tuned for the next installment where we will use SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer to continue refining the design.Interested in getting more information on SOLIDWORKS Industrial Designer?  To learn more check out Industrial Designer page our on website or request a live demonstration.


Brad Williamson is a Senior Industry Process Consultant with Dassault Systemes who has been helping customers learn, use and succeed with SOLIDWORKS since 1996. Based in the Music City, when he’s not designing in SOLIDWORKS, you’ll find him out playing drums in the Nashville music and theatre scene.

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