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Help needed with thickening surface


Help needed with thickening surface


I'm trying to thicken a surface such that is it normal to the surface (figure 1). But I get an error saying that the feature cannot be created as defined, and suggestins using Special Handling Definition (figure 2). When I select Automatic Fit, the thickening is not normal to the surface (figure 3). Do you have any troubleshooting tips? Perhaps I need to investigate the quality of the surfaces i created? Thanks for your help!

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Help needed with thickening surface

This is just my $.02, but as a general rule, I never use the Thicken
command unless I'm working with very simple geometry. In complex
geometry, the Thicken command always gives "funky" edges.

To get the best results with nice clean edges, you have to build it the
hard way... Offset your quilt for thickness, then use a combination of
extrudes, sweeps, boundary blends, and merges to build the edges that you

Good Luck

Bernie Gruman
Owner / Designer / Builder

Help needed with thickening surface

I would have to agree with Bernie. The thicken tool can be very powerful and useful, but as any of the tools in the software, it has it's time and place.

Good luck.

John Bennett
CAD Business Administrator
(801) 728-1272

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Help needed with thickening surface

I agree that the thicken tool isn't going to produce desirable results here. You might try removing the small fillet seen on the right of you images (between the 'handle' and the 'bowl' looking elements) and then you may get it to thicken, however you aren't likely to like the results. It looks like that radius is smaller than the thickness.

You might try offsetting the 'bowl' and 'handle' separately and then building the edge surfaces in between, merging them and then solidifying.

Without seeing the entire form (which I understand you may not be able to share) it's hard to say what is going to work best.

Doug Schaefer | Experienced Mechanical Design Engineer

Help needed with thickening surface

I agree with Bernie's comment about thickening giving you no control over
the edge geometry. We frequently see parts containing a very small cut in
an attempt to trim of this out of control edge.

A better general approach is to create the shape like a fully enclosed box
with surfaces, solidify and then shell. The enclosing surfaces determine
the shape of the edges and result in very clean geometry. I can't see your
entire model, but I suspect that you may want to back up the model tree a
little, add your new surfaces, add some enclosing box walls, merge to
existing geometry, solidfy, and then shell.



Patrick M. Harris | Tel: 630 663-1642| Fax: 630 663-4552 |
Product Design, Inc. | 5133 Washington St., Suite 9 | Downers Grove, IL

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RE: Help needed with thickening surface

Got it.

I tried to offset my boundary blend (see newly attached image, the extending flange on the left is separat from the hemisphere). As you can see, there is a gap between the two surfaces. Is there an easy way to connect the flange to the hemisphere?

Help needed with thickening surface

Thicken will create side surfaces that are normal to the original
surface/quilt by default.

If you use automatic offset be sure to query the created geometry to be
sure if creates some thing that satisfies your needs. Automatic takes some
liberties to create the surf.

Help needed with thickening surface

Yes, you may need to create side surfs with a variable section sweep.
"Pivot dir" sweep in pre-wildfire terminology.


1. Create offset surf
2. Extend edges of offset surf if needed.
3. Create side surfs via variable section sweep that will maintain
manufacture-ability ( draft angle if molded or cast)
4 merge surfs together.
5. Solidify

RE: Help needed with thickening surface

My 2 cents is:

thicken works and does provide a good tool for defining constand thickness parts (we make deep draw sheet metal stamped parts).

If a thicken feature fails try "options>exclude surfaces" and see which surfaces, when excluded, allow the thicken feature to work.

Make sure all the radii are larger than the thicken feature (only matters when thickening the radii inward)

The biggest help when thickening complicated surfaces is play with model accuracy trying to get the tightest possible accuracy.

Good luck,

Ross H. Liberty

Factory Pipe