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Surface Modelling Tips: How to Convert Solids to Surfaces in SOLIDWORKS

Friday October 20, 2023 at 8:00am

The quickest way to convert a solid body to a surface is to use the Delete Face command.

As you become more familiar with surfacing techniques, you may find situations where you need to convert a solid to a surface.

This may be the case when a single face on your solid model hasn’t been built to the quality you desire, so you may want to re-model that one face while leaving the parts history of features untouched.

HOW TO USE DELETE FACE COMMAND

Delete Face is found on the Direct Editing tab and is a simple command to use. We pick a face to delete and choose how we want to interact with it from the 3 options.

This part has creased geometry that needs smoothing.

We can delete the faces and leave a void opening with Delete. This converts the rest of the solid body into a single surface body.

The opening can then be patched manually using tools like Surface Loft, Surface Boundary or Surface Fill.

We can use the Knit command to join the new surface bodies together, and a solid can be created using the Create Solid option in the Knit command.

Check out our previous blog on how to convert surfaces to solids for more techniques!

The remaining two options of the Delete Face command are:

  • Delete and Patch - This will delete the selected faces and attempt to extend and trim the adjacent edges to repair the hole and restore the solid body.
  • Delete and Fill – This option deletes the selected faces and restores the geometry with a surface fill. The edges created with this option will be contact edges.
    TOP TIP: Zebra Stripes can be enabled from the Evaluate tab to check tangency.

These options can maintain curvature and tangency using the tangent fill checkbox and be used to repair geometry for manufacture.

HOW TO USE COPY SURFACE TOOL

Another easy way to create a surface from a solid body is to create copies of the model faces. Existing faces can be copied using the Offset Surface command found on the Surfaces tab.

This tool creates a new surface offset from an existing face to a user-specified value.

If the value is set to 0, the command changes to become the Copy Surface tool and will create a perfect surface copy of any face you select.

If you use this feature on the face of a solid body, you will be left with the solid completely unaltered and a new surface body copied from the face or faces selected.

This method does not affect or change the solid body, as the Delete Face tool did.

Looking for More Tips?

Sign up to our CPD-accredited training courses.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.

We also have a load of free SOLIDWORKS tutorials across our site, or you can check out our YouTube channel for more tips and tricks.

Don’t forget, with a SOLIDWORKS subscription, you can contact our expert Technical Support team to help you out with new commands and modelling tips.

Call us on 01926 333 777 or drop an email to support@solidsolutions.co.uk and one of our certified SOLIDWORKS Engineers will be in contact.

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