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Curve, Surface and Solid

Curve Entities
• All existing CAD systems provide users
with curve entities, which can be divided
into analytic and synthetic entities.
Analytic entities are points, lines, arcs and
circles, fillets and chambers, and conies
(ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas).
Synthetic entities include various types of
spline (cubic spline and B-spline) and
Bezier curves.
Tables 6.1 to 6.5 show the most common methods
utilized by CAD systems to create curve entities
• Shape design and the representation of complex objects
such as car, ship, and airplane bodies as well as
castings cannot be achieved utilizing the curves . In such
cases, surfaces must be utilized to describe objects
precisely and accurately. We create surfaces, and then
we use them to cut and trim solid features and primitives
to obtain the models of the complex objects. Surface
creation usually begins with data points or curves.
• Surface creation on CAD/CAM systems usually requires
curves as a start. A surface might require two boundary
curves, as in the case of a ruled surface that we cover in
this chapter. All curves can be used to generate
surfaces. In order to visualize surfaces on a computer
screen, a mesh, say m x n in size, is usually displayed.
The mesh size is controllable by the user.
Surface Entities
• During surface creation on a CAD/CAM system, you
should follow the modeling guide­lines and strategies.
Moreover, you should be careful when selecting curves
to create surfaces. Selecting the mismatching ends of
curves results in twisted surfaces as shown in Figure
7.1. The figure shows how the wrong ruled surface is
created if its defining curves are selected near the wrong
ends. The +'s in the figure indicate the selection
locations. In such a case, the user deletes the surface
and re­creates it by selecting the matching ends. As a
general rule, a CAD system uses the midpoint of a curve
to interpret the user's click on a curve. If he click is on
the right half of the curve, its right end point is selected,
and vice versa.
Figure 7.1 Construction of improper and proper surfaces.

Visualization of a surface is aided by the addition of artificial fairing

lines (called mesh), which crisscross the surface and so break it up into
a network of interconnected patches. The default setting of a CAD
system does not display a surface mesh — the surface is displayed
with its four boundary curves only. In such a case, the mesh size is 2 x
2, (All surfaces that we create define rectangular patches.) We can
change the default mesh size. CAD systems provide users with a menu
that allows them to specify the mesh size.
Figure 7.2 shows surfaces of revolutions with mesh sizes of
4 x 4 and 20 x 20. It should be mentioned that a finer mesh
size for a surface does not improve its mathematical
representa­tion; it only improves its visualization. Finally,
some CAD/CAM systems do not permit their users to
delete curves used to create surfaces unless the latter are
deleted first.
• Following are descriptions of major surfaces:
1. Plane surface: It is the simplest surface. It
requires three non­coincident points to define an
infinite plane. The plane surface can be used to
generate cross sections by intersecting a solid
with it. Figure 1 shows planar surfaces.
2. Ruled (lofted) surface: It is a linear surface. It
interpolates linearly between two boundary
curves that define the surface (rails). Rails can
be any curves. This surface is ideal for
representing surfaces that do not have any
twists or kinks. Figure 2 gives some examples.
Figure 1. Plane surface

Figure 2. Ruled surface

3. Surface of revolution: It is an axisymmetric surface that
can model axisymmetric objects. It is generated by
rotating a planar curve in space about the axis of
symmetry a certain angle as shown in Figure 3.
4. Tabulated cylinder: It is a surface generated by
translating a planar curve a certain distance along a
specified direction (axis of the cylinder or directrix) as
shown in Figure 4. The plane of the curve is
perpendicular to the directrix. This surface is not lit­erally
a cylinder. It is used to generate extruded surfaces that
have identical cross sections.
Figure 3. Surface of revolution

Figure 4. Tabulated cylinder

• 5. Bezier surface: It is a surface that
approximates or interpolates given input data. It
is different from the previous surfaces in that it is
a synthetic surface. It extends the Bezier curve
to surfaces. It is a general surface that permits
twists, and kinks. Bezier surface allows only
global control of the surface. Figure 5 shows a
Bezier surface.

Figure 5. Bezier surface

• 6. B­spIine surface: It is a surface that can approximate or
interpolate given input data. Figure 7.8 shows an interpolating
example. It is a synthetic surface. It is a general surface like a
Bezier surface but with the advantage of permitting local control of
the surface.
• 7. Coons surface: The previously described surfaces are used with
either open boundaries or given data points. A Coons patch is used
to create a surface using curves that form closed boundaries as
shown in Figure 7.9.
8. Fillet surface: It is a B­spline surface that blends two
surfaces together as shown in Figure 7.10. The two original
surfaces may or may not be trimmed.
9. Offset surface: Existing surfaces can be offset to create
new ones identical in shape but with different dimensions.
It is a useful surface to use to speed up surface creation.
For example, to create a hollow cylinder, the outer or inner
cylinder can be created using a cylinder command and the
other one can be created by an offset command. The offset
surface command becomes very efficient to use if the
original surface is a composite one. Figure 7.11 shows an
offset surface.

Figure 7.10 Fillet surface. Figure 7.10 offset surface.

Solid models are known to be complete, valid,
and unambiguous representations of objects.
Simply stated, a complete solid is one which
enables a point in space to be classified relative
to the object, if it is inside, outside, or on the
object. This classification is sometimes call
spatial addressability. A valid solid is one that
does not have dangling edges or faces. An
unambiguous solid has one and only one
interpretation. Solid modeling achieves
completeness, validity, and unambiguity of
geometric models.
CAD systems offer two approaches to creating
solid models: primitives and features. The
former approach allows designers to use
predefined shapes (primitives) as building blocks
to create complex solids. Designers must use
Boolean operations to combine the primitives.
This approach is limited by the restricted shapes
of the primitives. The features are more flexible
as they allow the construction of more complex
and elaborate solids than what the primitives
offer. Some CAD systems offer both
approaches, while others offer only the features
• Consider the object shown in Figure 9.1 to illustrate the
two approaches. We can create a block and subtract six
cylinders from it using the primitives approach. Or, we
can create a rectangle with six circles inside it in the Top
sketch plane and extrude it using the features approach.
The resulting solid is the feature in this case.

Figure 9.1 A typical solid model.

Geometry and Topology
• A solid model of an object consists of both the
topological and geometrical data of the object. The
completeness and unambiguity of a solid model are
attributed to the fact that its database stores both its
geometry and its topology. The difference between
geometry and topology is illustrated in Figure 9.2.
Geometry (sometimes called metric information) is the
actual dimensions that define the entities of the object.
The geometry that defines the object shown in Figure 9.2
is the lengths of lines L1, L2, and L3, the angles between
the lines, and the radius R and the center P1 of the half
Topology (sometimes called combinatorial
structure) is the connectivity and associativity of
the object entities. It has to do with the notion of
neighborhood; that is, it determines the
relational information between object entities.
The topology of the object shown in Figure 9.2b
can be stated as follows: L1 shares a vertex
(point) with L2 and C1, L2 shares a vertex with
L1, and L3, L3 shares a vertex with L2 and C1,
L1 and L3 do not overlap, and P1 lies outside
the object. Based on these definitions, neither
geometry nor topology alone can completely
define objects.
While solid models are complete and unambiguous, they are not unique. An
object may he constructed in various ways. Consider the object shown in
Figure 9.3. Using the primitive approach, one can construct the solid model
of the object by dividing it into two blocks and a cylinder. We can add the
two blocks first and then subtract the cylinder (Figure 9.36), or we can
subtract the cylinder from a block and add the other block to the resulting
subsolid (Figure 9.3c). Figure 9.4 shows two alternatives (create different
cross sections and extrude them) if we use the features approach.
Regardless of the order and method of construction, the resulting solid
model of the object is always complete and unambiguous. However, there
will always be one way that is more efficient than others to construct solid
models, as is the case with curves and surfaces.
General types of solid
More explanation on solid
Solid Entities
The entities we use to create solid models
depend on the approach we use. The
primitives approach uses primitives and
the features approach uses sketches.
Many CAD systems provide both
approaches to increase their modeling
domain. Let look at the basics of
Primitives are considered building blocks.
Primitives are simple, basic shapes which
can be combined by a mathematical set of
Boolean operations to create the solid.
Primitives themselves are considered valid
off­the­shelf solids. The user usually
positions primitives as required before
applying Boolean operations to construct
the final solid.
There is a wide variety of primitives available
commercially to users. However, the four most
commonly used ones are the block, cylinder,
cone, and sphere. These are based on the four
natural quadrics: planes, cylinders, cones, and
spheres. For example, the block is formed by
intersecting six planes. These quadrics are
considered natural because they represent the
most commonly occurring surfaces in
mechanical design which can be produced by
rolling, turning, milling, cutting, drilling, and other
machining operations used in industry.
Following are descriptions of the most commonly
used primitives
• 1. Block. This is a box or cube whose geometrical data is its width, height,
and depth. Its local coordinate system XL,YL,ZL is shown in Figure 1.
Point P defines the origin of the XLYL,ZL system. The signs of W, H, and D
determine the position of the block relative to the coordinate system. For
example, a block with a negative value of W is displayed as if de­block
shown in Figure 9.5 is mirrored about the XL,ZL, plane.
• 2. Cylinder. This primitive is a right circular cylinder whose geometry is
defined by its radius R (or diameter D) and length H. The length H is usually
taken along the direction the ZL axis. H can be positive or negative.
• 3. Cone. This is a right circular cone or a frustum of a right circular cone
whose base diameter R, top diameter (for truncated cone), and height H are
• 4. Sphere. This is defined by its radius R or diameter D and is centered
about the origin of its local coordinate system.
• 5. Wedge. This is a right angled wedge whose height H. width W, and base
depth D form its geometric data.
• 6. Torus. This primitive is generated by the revolution of a circle about an
axis lying in its plane ZL axis in Figure 1. The torus geometry can be defined
by the radius (or diameter) of its body R1 and the radius (or diameter) of the
centerline of the torus body R2, or the geometry can be defined by the inner
radius (or diameter) R1 and outer radius R0.
• All these primitives can be created using the
features approach. They are all 21/2 D objects.
The block, cylinder, and wedge are uniform
thickness. The cone, sphere, and torus are
axisymmetric. This explains why some CAD
systems such as Pro/E,SolidWorks and CATIA
do not offer them — the user can generate them
via sketching. This simplifies software
development as there is no need to write
separate primitives' functions.
Figure 1. Most common primitives
Two or more primitives can be combined to form a solid.
To ensure the validity of the resulting solid, the allowed
combinatorial relationships between primitives are
achieved via Boolean (or set) operations. The available
Boolean operators are union (U or +), intersection (n or
I), and difference ( ­ ). The union operator is used to
combine or add together two objects or primitives.
Intersecting two primitives gives a shape equal to their
common value. The difference operator is used to
subtract one object from the other and results in a shape
equal to the difference in their volumes.
Figure 8. A typical solid and its building primitives
End of lecture