Solid Modeling Versus Surface Modeling

Engineering Services CAD DraftingAnyone in the computer aided design (CAD) field will use modeling techniques to create designs.  Two common techniques are solid and surface modeling. Both fall under the same category relating to the shape, design and representation of physical objects, but they are used for different types of projects, depending on what kind of abstraction is needed.

Today’s post will share the differences between the two. If your company needs affordable engineering services, CAD drafting, and BIM services please call Indovance today!

Solid vs Surface Modeling

Solid modeling is for representing solid objects in the areas of CAD, engineering analysis, graphics and animation as well as prototyping and product visualization. It uses mathematical principles to create 3D solid objects.

The object is able to be seen in geographic terms, and is considered a “watertight” model because the internal details of the product are often included. Each part of the model is added one at a time until the complete model is finished. Assembly modeling can also play a part in solid modeling, which is simply when smaller parts of the model make up the whole.

Solid models can intersect, join and subtract objects from one another to create the desired results as far as shape and form.

Surface modeling focuses more on the external aspects of an object. It develops an object by stretching a surface over it with 3D curves created by the designer. It is essentially describing the surface boundaries of the object. It allows the viewer to see at each surface point where the solid interior is located.

This type of modeling is used for creating the external aesthetics of a product or design. It can allow for more free-form shapes and it is considered sleeker by some. It lacks the “watertight” feature of solid modeling because if you were to cut into the design, it would be hollow. This gives solid modeling an advantage over surface modeling because the object can be defined more intricately, giving you a better idea of how the product or design will perform.

Another difference between solid and surface modeling is what they can do while you are developing a design. When developing designs using surface modeling, it can be hard to go back and make changes because they are not parametric. Making changes in one area may not create updates in the whole design. Solid models, on the other hand, are parametric, so you are able to look at the commands you used to create the design.

Each type of modeling serves its purpose depending on the type of design you are working on, so the pros and cons of each should be weighed to see which one will work for the design concept you have so that you can make the best use of their benefits.

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