When working on the cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we get total control and full accessibility to our files. However, it still leaves us with the need to have files to work with. Many of us are familiar with working with text and data documents online, but how about when it comes to creating, updating and collaborating on actual CAD files?
Good news! There’s a whole suite of tools for browser-based modelling and designing, categorized as xApps on the platform.
In this article, we will look at xDesign and xShape, which are both included in the 3D Designer package.
xApps just needs an internet connection
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a collection of cloud-based applications. This includes applications that helps us with document storage, project collaboration, communication and 3D design.
While there is full integration between your desktop installation of SOLIDWORKS and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, there are also tools to work with SOLIDWORKS and 3D CAD directly in your web browser.
Since these tools run through your browser, it means that you do not need to install the software to get it running. All you need is your 3DEXPERIENCE login and a smart device with an internet connection and you are good to go.
This inherently means that you are no longer held back by hardware requirements or operative systems, and you can enjoy high performance modelling even with your standard laptop or tablet.
Get solid modelling capabilities with xDesign
The platform role 3D Creator includes the app xDesign. This application has a lot of similarities with the regular desktop version of SOLIDWORKS CAD software. It is a solid modeler that utilizes a parametric feature-based approach.
This means that we define our geometry by dimensions and relations, and we also get a history tree of the sketches and features we create in a logical order. This allows us to use design intent to control how parts should respond to changes and updates to the geometry.
xDesign is a single modelling environment where we create components. This means that parts and assemblies starts the same way, and structures can be created by inserting one component into the other. We can also break out separate features from a component to divide it into a new component if the design requires it.
Needless to say, we get full control of how to set up our structure to create the parts and assemblies we need.
The models are saved to a collaborative space on the cloud and can then be easily viewed, used and modified – including all the PDM functionality that comes with the Collaborative Industry Innovator role.
Read more: 3DEXPERIENCE – Data Management Reinvented
Try out free forming modelling with xShape
Subdivision modelling is a technique that is completely different compared to the workflow of typical CAD with parametric dimensions and history-based feature trees.
You can use this method, subdivision modelling, with the app xShape which is included in the platform role 3D Sculptor.
Instead of creating 3D geometry based on 2D sketches, this type of modelling directly starts off with a blob of 3D Geometry. Many also compares this with the phrase “clay-modelling” due to the free forming capabilities.
Depending on the average shape of the model we are about to create, a similar shape can be selected to start with – for example a cube, a cylinder, a sphere etc. Each face of this piece of geometry is then split up into several horizontal and vertical subdivisions, which can all be controlled separately. From this point on, it’s all really simple to start designing your shape by moving one or more subdivision nodes at a time.
If you need more control, add more lines. If you need less, remove some.
Need a quick turn in geometry? Add and merge (or subtract) another piece of clay!
The interface is intuitive and the learning time to get started is merely minutes.
If you already have a pencil sketch of a concept, it is a good idea to insert that as a reference image. This will give you a much easier time controlling that exact shape.
Combine the apps any way you’d like
Because these specific techniques are quite different from one another, there are times where you would wish to utilize them both within the same model. No need to worry! Switching between xApps is as simple as the push of a button.
Create parametric geometry for those mechanical components using xDesign, then switch over to xShape to design the housing, or that organic-shaped handle. The combinations are endless!
Although we’ve only discussed xShape and xDesign in this article, you can combine this with other xApps as well – for example xSheetMetal to include that metal housing with correctly simulated bends and folds.
But it doesn’t stop there. CAD files that are already created in desktop versions of, for example, SOLIDWORKS can also be opened in most xApps to truly combine its full potential.
So, no matter if you are already using SOLIDWORKS desktop or not, the 3DEXPERIENCE portfolio offers a lot of modelling alternatives to get you started – or continue your journey with an extended toolset, directly in your browser!
Brings new capabilities to educators and students
Not just a solution for commercial companies and organizations, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform empowers the education world with all the necessary tools to maintain learning continuity, teamwork, and knowledge acquisition.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides a suite of connected tools and apps specifically cultivated to the broader toolkit required by the designers and engineers of tomorrow.
Empower your students with essential skills and knowledge using the industry-standard 3DEXPERIENCE platform and give them an edge in their future careers.
Learn more: Reach out to our team
Free guide: 3DEXPERIENCE for Education
In today’s competitive job market, students need every advantage they can get. That's why we offer a digital platform to prepare the workforce of the future.