SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design has been garnering a lot of industry buzz since it was first teased almost two years ago at SOLIDWORKS 2014. In the months since, we’ve had a lot of questions from our customers about what the product really does and how it might serve the many challenges faced by consumer product designers on a daily basis. This article is intended to satisfy many of those questions.
SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design might be right for you if you prefer to work with digital concept sketches. SWID works seamlessly with the popular (and fun-to-use) Wacom tablets, which are common tools for artists in the consumer products industry. Using your Wacom, you can easily create your concept sketches within the SWID interface. The ability to adjust line weight and color allows for an easy transition between rough initial sketching and more complete ideas. Optional smoothing capabilities make automatic line, arc, and spline generation extremely simple so that you can create more finished looking sketches with minimal effort.
These concept sketch entities can also be easily converted into parametric sketches for dimensioning and constraining true to the SOLIDWORKS tradition. This geometry can then be leveraged to create many of the common parametric SOLIDWORKS features we know and love right within the same interface. The ability to float seamlessly between concept and parametric sketching in SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design perfectly mirrors the subtle balance of art and engineering required in this line of work.
SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design might be right for you if you struggle to create complex organic geometry using the SOLIDWORKS surfacing capabilities. Over the years SOLIDWORKS has continued to nourish and grow its library of surfacing tools to make complex surface modeling in SOLIDWORKS more intuitive and powerful than ever. However, anyone who has used these tools knows that creating the beautiful organic geometry demanded in the consumer products industry still requires an advanced knowledge of SOLIDWORKS surfacing and the experience to back it up.
On the other hand, SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design comes with a complete palette of extremely intuitive freeform modeling tools that makes the virtual sculpting of a design fun and easy. On top of that, all freeform bodies generated in SWID automatically retain C2 curvature continuity to ensure surface smoothness. This means the road from concept ideation to aesthetically pleasing 3D geometry is short and direct, void of the many ‘bumps’ industrial designers are accustomed to dodging along the way.
SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design might be right for you if the import of 3D geometry into SOLIDWORKS from another program is a necessary step in your workflow. We don’t all rely solely on SOLIDWORKS to model our designs from start to finish. In fact, for the consumer products industry, many users chose to leverage non-parametric 3D programs, such as Rhino, to easily generate organic shapes before further refining them in SOLIDWORKS. The problem is, though SOLIDWORKS is among the best programs for importing foreign files, sometimes the geometry saved out of non-parametric 3D software simply does not cut it for easy manipulation in SOLIDWORKS.
The good news is, SWID makes initial concept ideation and creation extremely efficient and then allows for a (literally) smooth transition into SOLIDWORKS. This work flow results in a high quality import so you can immediately proceed to adding the necessary engineering and manufacturing design intent. No more wrestling with bodies that imported bad faces or unhealed gaps. Finally, if modifications or redesigns are later done on the initial concept level, the new geometry can be re-imported into your SOLIDWORKS file without requiring extensive rework.
Having learned a little more about it, do you think SOLIDWORKS Industrial Design might be right for you? If so, please let us know and we’ll be happy to learn more about your consumer product design needs. Still not convinced? It’s a lot easier to convey the magic of SWID through video.