Beyond Direct Edit: Surface and Hybrid Modeling

Update 2-16-16

I was just talking to fellow that is looking to ZW3D for some furniture design and had bought the wrong CAD system because he wanted to do free form surfacing.

I was introduced to surfacing decades ago with a 3rd party add-on to Cadkey called Fastsurf. We had to learn surfacing because it was the only way to create machinable surfaces for the new 3 axis CNC. We used surfacing from 1988 until 1995 when solid modeling showed up for the PC.

Surfacing is not simple like solid modeling, it is very tedious precise design that take quite a bit of knowledge depending on the job. It the beginning it was just putting surfaces on wireframe, today we are designing auto bodies in Alias.

But I don't see generic surfacing training available. Like solid modeling there are basic processes that are the same through out all of the standalone surfacing packages. It is presented like everyone understands the basics or not at all.

I am looking to create some basic training based on ZW3D. ZW3D can be a standalone surface design package integrated with solid modeling on a hybrid level.

Keep an eye out, I will be posting these lesson soon. Luckily we have Phil Procario, Jr to help us out. He is one of the more knowledgeable surface designers.

Feel free to give us a call for any information and would like to be put on a list to be notified.

Joe Brouwer
206-842-0360 or info@tecnetinc.com

Back to the Article

Part design is the basis of engineering. PLM, PDM, MBE, PMI, realistic rendering etc, have little to do with increased productivity, more than likely hinders it. Yet, these are the things the Major CAD systems are focused.

Most industrial/mechanical design can be done with the constrained sketching world with the popular Solidworks Clones. A few have stepped out of that box are are using direct edit functionality with a standalone package or add-on direct edit functionality if viable in their solid modeling package. But very few programs have access to standalone freeform surfacing.

A hybrid modeler has to be designed from the ground up. There are very few programs that are considered true hybrid modelers. It requires 2D/3D wireframe, freeform surfacing and both history and direct edit solid modeling. ZW3D is the only systems that meets those requirements and includes precision morphing. The only other system that comes close is NX. It is still a kluged together system where all of these features do not work smoothly together.

Hybrid modeling opens doors to a more flexible design process. It offers much more design freedom than the current Solidworks clones. They can only imitate this functionality with separate modules or 3rd party programs.

Who Needs Hybrid Modeling?

Only about 15% of engineering need hybrid modeling.

Industrial Designers/Product Designers

Many industrial designers think they need clunky advanced surfacing programs, like alias. After the concept is done, you have to move it to a solid modeling program to create the documentation to deliver to manufacturing. There is probably less than 3% that "need" advanced surfacing. Much of advanced surfacing seems to be so much fluff. When, what they truly need a good hybrid modeler can do the complete job. Add the Multi-Object environment and integrated documentation you have cut the project design time in half.

Boat Design

Boat designers have to use both surfacing and solid modeling to achieve their goals. I have seen many boat design companies only using Rhino and Autocad or they have opted for an overkill with NX or Catia. But they only look to others in the same industry and none ever step out of the box. I just sold a ZW3D Standard to replace Fusion 360 to an individual that is designing a boat.
This is what he said.

Peter Doering, was having a problem with some surfacing. Peter rented a seat of ZW3D Standard and within a couple of days I got this email.

Thank you very much!

As it pertains to examples this project is what Phil and I am working on.


The initial hull design was done in Rhino, which for some reason is a standard in the boat industry. The surface already had a few problems!

It was imported into Fusion 360 and I did some of the early concept design work, but when it came to surfacing, I hit road blocks every way I tried it.

At this time Phil was not part of the project, but I suggested to my client that we needed Phil's help.

Phil also hit road blocks in Fusion 360 even using some of his unique re-topologizing workflows and T-Splines.

The rest is history, as they say.

Thanks to ZW3D paired with Phil’s surfacing skills we now have tooling for the hull created.

You should see the images. Perfectly smooth reflections!


Peter Doering

This is hybrid modeling success. Phil actually referred ZW3D to Peter. Phil also moved from Fusion 360. Phil is one of the most talented 3D CAD designers I have ever seen. We will soon have some images of his projects with ZW3D. I think I have had two support requests. ZW3D is very familiar to the Solidwork clone user which Fusion 360 is one.

Aircraft Design

Much of the aircraft design came out of the boat design industry. Boeing built boats before moving to aircraft. Aircraft design is not conducive to the constrained sketching  limitations of the Catia 5. It needs a hybrid modeler to keep from being put in design corners. Very few straight lines in aircraft.

Here is an example of an aircraft design. This started in Solidworks and the designer instantly hit road blocks with its limitations. I sold Jeff a hybrid modeler and he is now doing a great job with no limitations. Look at the image not one straight line. Hybrid modeling is a much, much simpler design process. There is good reason the Solidworks designer quit.

Jefferson's Airplane



Today, the automotive industry mostly jumps through the many hoops that
Catia demands. I am sure it is a horror show. They probably don't even know it. Will they investigate? Some have moved to NX from Catia, a great move, but it is only from the fire to the frying pan. The level of ignorance in engineering today is truly shocking to an old draftsman. Beside the limited 3D CAD packages, the documentation and document control it truly a non-standardized mess.

You can see how easily a complete car can be created. Take a look at what I consider one of the best presentations of hybrid modeling. Selcuk uses every function ZW3D has to offer to do his creations. Nope, this isn't a $20,000.00 program of even a $5000.00 program it starts at $3000.00 or an annual rental of $1200.00, they even have a six month rental available for $650.00. You truly cannot afford not to at least take a look.

When you are done with the conceptual design, you just take the surfaces and move it into reality with the history/direct edit solid modeling in the same integrated hybrid modeling system, including integrated documentation. Imagine all of the sub-assemblies in a Multi-Object environment in a single file? Of course, you can't. But I can assure you that the engineering systems based on this design paradigm would cut overall engineering costs 30% minimum. Go ahead trust those that have not spent one moment in engineering and have virtually no applicable knowledge of engineering. Sadly, this lack of knowledge is now infiltrating the engineering design process.

Large companies now depend on the CAD company for guidance and in Boeing's case Dassault has even have taken over the complete engineering process. It is quite shocking that large companies like Boeing with a rich history in engineering would allow these CAD companies with a complete lack of applicable knowledge take charge.

Why don't we already have this?

All of the popular 3D CAD systems are based on a dated paradigm designed in 1988 by PTC called Pro/e. Its selling point was faster documentation (drawings). It can never become an effective hybrid modeling system due to its strict parametric and feature based history. Sadly, the feature that brought Pro/e (Creo)to fame is now the feature that will lead to its demise. NX is the closest of these packages to hybrid modeling but still a mish mash of functionality.




If there is a "Master" in the art of 3D CAD, Selcuk Ozmumcu is it.

3D CAD Hybrid Modeling Defined

Learning 3D CAD
Besides offering great Conventional History and Direct Edit design, ZW3D Standard offers much more design flexibility with it's powerful surfacing, morphing and wrapping.

• Class-A surface modeling, such as: Blend face, UV curve mesh
• Surface matching, merging, smoothing and control point editing
• N-Sided & FEM blends with continuity control and gap detection
• Smart surfacing - rails, splines, drive curves
• Advanced lofting & variational sweeps
• Emboss a high precision surface from a raster image
• Support solid, surface and STL data to do flexible morphing and wrapping

Surface Modeling Telephone

Introduction Surfacing in ZW3D

Hybrid Modeling - A Step Above!!


Convert Images into Surfaces

Wrap Feature Introduction

Precision Morphing


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