Taking a First-World Problem Way Too Seriously and Solving it with xDesign

Watch as my tiny car sun visor and the earth’s rotation ticked me off so much that it turned into a two-week project and this mediocre blog post.

Image of the sun coming through and hitting my face.


What’s the hardest part of the transition from being a person who loves to sleep until noon every day to Dassault Systemes’ newest product management intern? I wouldn’t say working 40 hours a week or even waking up early to do so is so unwelcome, but this. Every. Day.

Image of sun coming through the other way.


That’s me, by the way, wearing women’s aviators. Hello. Now, you must understand, I happen to live eight miles directly north of Dassault Systemes’ Boston campus. I can’t be the only 8AM traveler on I-95 South literally berating Mother Earth for pointing my driver’s side window DIRECTLY east. The morning sun beams light through over 30 square inches of uncovered window as my lethargic mind knows that my biggest take away from this internship may actually be a right-half short of an extremely tan face. And the worst part is that I’ll have to apply sunscreen to the left side of my face TWICE a day because what do you think happens when I go directly north at 6PM?

So instead of spending money on sunscreen and smelling like a beach every morning, I’ll let SOLIDWORKS xDesign do the work. I wanted to create an extension for my sun visor using only 3D printed parts. I began by modeling my car’s existing sun visor, and designed the extension as three separate parts in a bottom-up assembly.

Some images of the sun visor and the extension.

xDesign made this project extremely easy. With so many different angles, creating and using planes/axes was remarkably simple. The extensive extrude options and draft capabilities made editing parts within an assembly almost invaluable. I couldn’t have been happier using xDesign for this project, and although I just started using browser-based software, I had the .stl file exported and in the fabrication lab by the end of the day.

After several failed attempts to get all three parts in useable condition, it was time to assemble them. I made sure to allow a millimeter of space between each sliding component, and while that seems like a lot, my parts were still sticking, so I had to sand them down quite a bit. I was very happy to see my design assembled together and working! After that all I needed to do was cut my sun visor open, rip out all the insides, and somehow secure the housing (the grey bit) without a) ripping the entire cover off, b) looking terrible from the outside, and c) my mom finding out that I’m destroying my car instead of investing in a half-decent pair of sunglasses. If you’re reading this mom, I’m sorry, but this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done!

In my opinion, rapid prototyping is hindered only by the rate at which you receive feedback. Upon completion, I needed to redefine the problem, make the appropriate design changes, and get a new prototype printed as soon as possible. The cloud-based advantage xDesign has over any other CAD software it that is provides the ability to share all my components in the 3D Drive. I don’t even need to send my assembly to my manager, because he has access to it already. He can view, edit, and share anytime at all, from anywhere in the world. In fact, upon completely destroying my sun visor to get a better look at the inside, my manager and I had to reassess the design and adjust the housing to the unexpected nature of the sun visor’s interior.

It was fast, easy, and fun! I can’t wait to see what else I can do withxDesign during my internship at Dassault Systemes. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy using xDesign as much as I do!


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Ben Arnold

Ben Arnold

Ben Arnold is a SOLIDWORKS Product Management Intern. He is a rising junior studying Mechanical Engineering at UMass Amherst, and recently studying abroad at UCD in Dublin, Ireland. Ben is an avid outdoorsman, an enthusiastic socialite, and a truly pathetic blog-writer.