Design a Carbody with SolidWorks

Concept Car MechDesign Carbody

A car body design is not easy. It takes a lot of patience. After a lot of hand sketches with design ideas maybe you would like to transfer the design in a 3D geometry. I can recommend SolidWorks in that regard only as a CAD tool. Since the 2010 version it is again easier for the Designer. Some improvements have been introduced in commanding generation of free-form surfaces.


A car body has different design characteristics. Use your hand sketches, and define the lines shown in the illustration below. Now it is important that you find the most characteristic lines that make the design of your car body.

Source: Automobildesign.und.Technik.(Springer).(2007)
Source: Automobildesign.und.Technik.(Springer).(2007)

In SolidWorks, the lines 1, 2 and 8 are created as 2D sketches. The character line 11 is created as a 3D sketch. It is important that there are all the sketches of splines. These allow tangential transitions and these can be controlled by vectors.

For lines 1, 2 and 8 illustrate, I created six different sketches. This is necessary for my design to meet the geometry. With the lateral lines you can control the profile of the front, rear and sides of the bodywork. The sketches are on the plane can be moved.


Further, there is at least one character line, number 11. This line pay attention to the proportion. Do you see it at the image above. For my Concept Car Mechdesign I needed three 3D sketches. With these lines you can control the character properties. Athletic, aggressive, powerful and aerodynamic, that I want to pose with my lines.

Now all sketches are ready to produce free-form surfaces and combined these to a car body.

SolidWorks, I believe is a leader in this field. Use the Feature Lofted Surfaces to create a free form surface between to ore more sketches. The lines for 1, 2 and 8 are the Profiles and the character lines, number 11, are the Guide Curves. with the option Start/End Constrains you can set to Normal To Profile. It is important that you click on the sketches in the right order.

The windows and the roof can be created with 3D sketches. Use also the Feature Lofted Surface to create the free form surfaces.

Now you have different surfaces but only a half car body. Use the Mirror and Surface Knit Feature to double the surfaces and knit it together.

At first place it looks easy to build up a car body in SolidWorks. But it needs a certain mass of patience. First you must have good hand-sketched against which you can read the most important design features. Second, the build of the sketches and the free-form surfaces is not the easiest task. But the result speaks for itself.

SolidWorks tastes with some tools to check whether the surfaces have the desired shape. This calls Curvature and Zebra Stripes. See below image.

I hope you are as successful as I am. And now it continues with the detailed design. Lights, mirrors, doors, windows .. etc. Once I'm ready I'll write another blog.

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