Adding Texture to Surfaces - What Program?

I do most of my modeling in SolidWorks. I would like to add a “hammered” texture to a surface feature, and then prototype my part as an SLA. What program would you recommend to import my SWX model into to perform this feature?

I could just SLA the part now (with a plain surface) and add the texture by hand (or dremel) for the final presentation. For manufacturing, I could just submit some samples of the texture to the vendor along with the data, but I thought it would be cool to start getting into textured surfaces in the computer so as not to rely on traditional model making. Also, I could render the part in the computer before committing to an SLA.

Any ideas?

you would never do that with actual geometry. as far as i know what you want to do in 3d is practically impossible…

Almost never…the only products I know of that had a hammered texture modeled in 3D were in that Starck line for Target. As I recall, the engineer who modeled it had a hell of a time making a seamless nonrepeating pattern. I think it was done in ProE.

you could make a finished model, hammer/texture it by hand (a skilled modelmaker’s hand?), then 3d scan it with high resolution? seems like it could be an expensive way to do it though…

I think it would be best to import a texture file for a rendering then texture the mold after.

You can maybe use one of these formica sample images to create a texture file.

If you can modify the sla by hand that might be good.

If you don’t have the mold-tech texture book you can get it for free. You can include a chip from this book.


This is possible with Sensable Freeform Modeling, it is one of the main features that really got me excited about the program and eventually lead to a purchase.

best way is:

1- for one off objects: prototype your model first. add the texture by hand, 3d scan and prototype it again.

2- for mass produced objects: create the seamless texture on a flexible surface, form, scan and add to cad model, then prototype.

in both cases you need to clean up the prototype after it’s done unless the cad model comes out really good.

Yeah, maybe moldtech is the way to go. Give them a 2d file of the texture and tell them the depth I want. Can I engrave a small zinc die cast mold? Moldtech seems to be concentrating on plastic injection molds.

I’m dissapointed nobody suggested exporting my solid as an IGES and importing it into (insert great product I never heard about here).

that’s kind of what i was getting at

you can import iges, stl, parasolid and a various other file types into freeform.

I wouldn’t have started in CAD, but since you did, I’d take it out to something like Maya (which is what I use) and either:

  1. get a hammered texture and apply it as a displacement map then convert back to iges and out

  2. take it over to ZBrush, pull it back in, convert it to iges and out

#1 - I could do.
#2 - I don’t own ZBrush, so how well that would work I don’t know.

If I had to do it in CAD, I probably could using a pretty complicated patterning thing I sometimes do. but it would be a pain.

csven, can you describe your “complicated patterning thing” in a relatively brief fashion? I’m a Pro/E user as well and I’m curious about how you would do this, however painful it might be.

Easiest way to describe it is 3D Calculus. Using two closely-positioned points on a surface and surface normal information, create a localized set of planes. Perform your operations using those planes and Group Pattern.

I’ve never tried this on a surface that doubles back on itself though. A long time ago I might have had a solution to that, but I never tried it and don’t now recall it.

Generates a ton of planes and stuff, but those regen really fast and can be visually turned off.

Thanks csven. That is, indeed very complicated. When you say “Perform your operations using those planes and Group Pattern.” are you talking about your surface transformation as the operations?

We tried to do something similar at my work. Using Rhino it is possible to convert a bitmap to surfaces, but it get’s so muddled when trying to convert to SLA that we totally lost the texture.
Normally a company like Moldtech would do exactly what Lebeau said. They would use one of a couple tecniques to apply the texture to the mold post cutting. With most textures, even a high res. SLA wouldn’t have the ability to give a readable texture.

Group everything from the points to the final feature.

For example, I’ve done holes on complex surfaces in order for a prototype seamstress to sew a fabric to an SLA (if molded and manufactured, the vendor would simply punch through).

Thanks for the clarification csven. Sounds like texturing the mold would be the way to go in volume production.

This got me to thinking… anyone seen a programmed set of relations that randomize a pattern and it’s internal features?

I’m thinking of trying this. Could be a very cool little solution. Hammered metal texture that is unique and looks randomly real.

Someone MUST be doing this already.