Surfacing Bible

SolidWorks Surfacing and Complex Shape Modeling Bible

This book explains some of the elementary concepts of surfacing, and goes on to talk about tools and techniques. The last part of the book has several tutorials done in a conversational style, where I go through how I modeled parts, including how the decisions were made to use various features. This is not just a “do this do that” tutorial where you get the instructions to make a complex shape but never understand why you would do this or do that.

I have also broken the information into Primary Shape Creation Tools, and Secondary Shape Creation Tools, which I think is essential to understanding the surfacing workflow. This book is really written for people who are pretty good with SolidWorks, but want to know more about surfacing and complex shapes.

There is a chapter devoted to splines, in addition to a chapter just on general sketching for surfaces and shapes, and a further chapter on curve features. If you”ve been wondering about how surfaces can improve your modeling skills, this is your book. There is some overlap between this book and the 2007 Bible, but this book is definitely more involved.

PART 1: Laying the Groundwork
Chapter 1 Understanding Basic Concepts
Chapter 2 Surfacing Primer
PART 2: Using Primary Shape Creation Tools
Chapter 3 Sketching with Splines
Chapter 4 3D Sketching
Chapter 5 Creating Curves
Chapter 6 Primary Shape Creation Tools
Chapter 7 Advanced Filleting
Chapter 8 Shelling
PART 3: Using Secondary, Management and Evaluation Tools
Chapter 9 Secondary Shape Creation Tools
Chapter 10 Hybrid tools
Chapter 11 Surface Management Tools
Chapter 12 Using Direct Editing Features
Chapter 13 Body Management
Chapter 14 Evaluating Geometry
PART 4: Using Specialized Techniques
Chapter 15 Modeling a Simple Handle
Chapter 16 Modeling a Garden Tool
Chapter 17 Modeling Blends
Chapter 18 Modeling a Plastic Bottle
Chapter 19 Modeling Decorative Features
Chapter 20 Modeling Overmolded Geometry
Chapter 21 Starting from Digitized Data
Chapter 22 Master Model Techniques
Chapter 23 Post Processing


77 Replies to “Surfacing Bible”

  1. Hi Matt,

    I have recently purchased a digital copy of your surfacing book through First off I gotta say it’s a fantastic resource. I’ve mostly learned SW surfacing through the trial and error method, so it’s great to be gaining a better understanding of why some things work and others don’t!

    I’m wondering if you are able to help me source the CAD files mentioned in it for the tutorials? I’ve done a good bit of searching online for them, and every link I’ve found no longer exists. Wiley does not seem to have any straight-forward way of contacting them regarding this either.

    If you’re able to help at all, it would be much appreciated. Thanks again!

  2. Hello Matt Lombard.

    Just wondering if an updated version of your Surfacing book is in the works and when the release date would be. It’s almost 2019 and the last version was i believe 2011.


    1. Yeah, the surfacing book is the one that’s getting a lot of requests. I don’t think there’s going to be another printed book, but I’m developing a paid membership site and there will be an equivalent of a surfacing section that will roughly equate to the content of a surfacing book. It’s all in planning right now, and I’ll probably do another section first as a free trial.

  3. Hi Matt,

    I’m interested in a few copies of this book for work (though I’d prefer to wait for the updated version you’ve alluded to in the comments if it’s imminent). I can’t seem to find it. It looks like it’s out of print. All the Amazon links are used with insanely high pricing (up to $1000) and I doubt you see a penny of that.

    Is the new book on the way? (I can pre-order if it’ll help move it along) If not, do you know where I can purchase the original? I’m in California. Thanks.

  4. Thicken is sometimes finniky because the solidworks surface has tiny irregulaities, tits and curls tend to appear near corners, edges and singular points. Sometimes the trimmed surfaces have gaps. Usually they are tiny, but I have seen a 1/4 inch gap. Thicken should do something reasonable for corners and creases, but then it would not match the overall bug density of The rest of Solidworks.

  5. Matt,

    We all have regrets in life, and I certainly regret not buying your Surfacing Bible when it was issued. Althoough I find you SW2009 Bible to be very useful, I don’t use surfacing that much. But your Surfacing Bible has surpased gold in appreciation. Who would have thought that?????

    I wonder if Mark Biasoti used it when he created his recently released Prosche CarreraGTmodel,

    which is surfacing extreme. Better yet, please do the new Porsche 918 for us. It’s the latest deal at about $800,000, not including applicable taxes. And the surfaces are way more extreme than on the Carrera GT.

  6. @pooya
    You know, this comes up from time to time. Unfortunately, because of those same rules, I’m not allowed to help you out. I hate not being able to help people, but with the rules as they are, I would cause myself a lot of trouble to send you one. Not sure what to tell you. Very sorry.

  7. hi matt
    i want to buy your book, but because i live in Iran, there is no way to access to ur original book (for some stupid rules and because of Iran’s sanctions!!, they dont sell book to Iran )
    i know downloading pirated copy is immoral, plz tell me how can I have this book in Iran
    thanks a lot

  8. Sometimes solidworks surfaces can have microscopic tits, curls at edges or gaps. Use curvature to see the suggestion of an unexpected curl. Corners of three sided boundary surfaces are troublesome. I try to use only 4 sided surfaces. Shell seems to be more robust than thicken, but the knit to form a solid can be difficult.

    I am designing a new airplane. The suraces are beautiful, and continuous. I use an add in GW3D from The conic surface is fantastic. It is conics everywhere and has nice tangency control at the guide curves. Realview environmental reflections show the shapes beautifully. These surfaces seem to knit and thicken more reliably than boundary surfaces. Trim surfaces are my nemesis with surface modeling, one trim flip and most of the feature tree vanishes.

  9. @Stevan Karanovich
    It’s great to hear that you like this book. My publisher, however, seems only to be concerned with volume. If they can’t sell 10,000 of these in a year, they aren’t interested. I think I sold 10k in 3 or 4 years. I’ve approached them about a sequel, or a new printing, and they rejected the idea.

    I think the solution is to write a new book. I have time set aside for this, but I won’t start for another month or two, so I’ll be done by say April maybe. I’ve had enough requests for this to make sense.

  10. Matt
    Any chance of this going back into print. I really need a copy but the used ones are so expensive.
    Best Regards

  11. Do you know where I can get a print copy of this book? It looks like it is out of print and people are charging $150 – $1000 for it. Is there a new edition of this book coming out soon?


  12. Hi Matt,
    I purchased the surfacing book along with Solidworks Bible 2009 a couple of years back. I have just got round to working through them. I had been using the software for around 5 years and I guess like most people I had developed a level of skills that met my requirements. I realized the software could do a lot more and I wanted to learn how. I can honestly say your books have been a revelation to me, I have benefited a lot from working through the tutorials and examples that come with the books and DVD. I’m still a novice but I have come along loads thanks to you.

    Please consider publishing a book with more worked examples, I’m sure there would be lots of designers eager to purchase a copy.

    Best wishes, Rob.

  13. @Jess
    No, there is no new version. My publisher wanted to start work on a new version, but that hasn’t happened yet. If I do start a new version, it will probably be no less than 6 months from the time I start until publication.

    The differences will be mainly in spline control, more info on the Boundary surface, and more examples. I will probably also give less credit to the Fill surface feature. And some interface differences.

    Oh, and a new cover. I have something cool planned for the cover if the book ever gets off the ground

  14. Is there a 2008 version and a 2011 version of SolidWorks Surfacing and Complex Shape Modeling Bible, if so what is the difference.


  15. Hi,

    Is there a separate forum where we can ask questions about the examples in the book?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I use the sketch picture functionality in several examples. I spend several pages in one chapter actually explaining it. It is a method that is used frequently in the book.

  16. Hi,

    matt just bought your book. Excellent and superb. Just want to know about playing with tutorials. I have been working on Fluorescent blub tutorial for last week. Some how bit struck on 3D skectch step where you used Spline. Is there any pictorial understandng of that protion?

    Regards and Thanks for your time

  17. Hi Matt.
    Just wan’t to thank you for this great book! It really helped me getting into surface modelling in a very good way.
    Ive just ordered your Admin bible, which i look forward to get into !

  18. Is there a sustantial differences among Solidworks 2010 Bible versus Solidworks Parts 2011 and Solidworks Assemblies 2011.
    I have the Bible 2010 and I will like to get the new 2011 only if they have differents excersises and samples
    I use SW 2011 and I am a Fan of your books

    1. Victor, there will be some new videos available in the new books, along with some new chapters. The 2011 Parts book will not be available until the end of April, and 2011 Assemblies will not be available until at least 2 months later.

  19. Matt, these recent comments have bumped this thread again and prompted me to say that anyone taking on a new member of staff who is a bit rusty in SW, or moving from another 3D system, should buy all Matt’s books and give them to the new start as on the job learning. In many respects for users already familiar with SW or other systems these books are better than a VAR training course. All you have to do to make them perfect is get rid of all those old fashioned units 🙂

    Looking forward to the 2011 versions – already made the space on my bookshelf alongside the 2007 and 2009 and surfacing versions.

  20. @Tyler
    Flaky software. It is the c2 end conditions failing. After that fails, the fill surfaces lose all their selected edges, and a fillet selected edge changes to a tangent edge.

    Here’s the new part, fixed in 2010.

  21. Hey Matt,

    I’m having trouble with another part in SW 2010. The first loft feature in Ch 17 plastic frame is not working. I tried making the feature myself and had no luck so I opened the completed part and same issue (Loft operation failed to complete.)

  22. Hello
    I have one question for the author of these book
    where we can to bay these book in Macedonia… tanx advanced

  23. Matt,

    My congratulations to you on writing such an illuminating book is long overdue. So anyway, there you have it. It’s rather hard to believe that it took so long for a book like this to show itself, but I suppose the tools in Solidworks had not been quite ripe enough or no one had the guts until you took the reins.

    Anyway, are there any plans to complete a second edition at some point? I know the cost/benefit would have to be appropriate, which might involve Solidworks evolving further beyond what we had in 2008, with some new functionality thrown in the mix to make it worth updating. Any comments?

    Thanks again for the excellent tool.

    1. Luke,

      Wow, thanks for the nice comments! Actually, now that you mention it, I do have a contract to update the Surfacing book for SolidWorks 2011. I won’t start writing until late winter, so the book won’t show up until summer 2011. I’ve enlisted some pretty remarkable help for the update as well, so I’m really looking forward to it. I have to work through an expanded SolidWorks Bible: for 2011 it will be a two volume book: Parts and Assemblies. That’s why I’m not getting to the surfacing book until next year. I guess the publisher saw that the surfacing book was selling well enough to update it after 3 years.

  24. I don’t see a link. It seems that you can not use a curve as the profile for a loft. If I convert the curve to a 3D sketch I can get it to work but not without deleting the loft and all of the dependent items.

  25. balrags :Matt -Excellent tutorial, well written and logical from a 12 year SW solids user. First venture into surfacing. I am working with models converted to 2009 SP 3.0 and find an interesting anomaly in the chapter 15 ladle. Upon editing the initial loft the feature manager only has the curve 1 profile and the start constraint box is empty. If I do nothing and hit accept the loft fails, not surprisingly. If I exit out all is copacetic. If I delete the loft and try to recreate it I cannot get it to loft correctly.Onward and upward. Cheers bob

    Do you have an answer for Bob’s question? I’m having the same trouble with 2010. Thanks!

  26. I tried to open one of the sample models from chapter 17, the stool, and it said the file contained an invalid path. Is there another site from which to download it, or is there some way to fix this?

    1. Download the zip file to your local computer and extract the contents to a folder. No, there is no other site from which I can guarantee you get the right files. Try it again and let me know.

  27. matt if i buy this bible for kindle edition in amazon, can i use it in a pc? the kindle edition is available in color or is black/withe only?

    Thanks so much

  28. Matt,

    I’m finally getting around to buying your books, and I got a couple of questions.

    1. I want a paper and digital copy. Is it correct to assume I would need to buy both separately? No, I’m not that stupid to be asking for free product, just wanna make sure there isn’t a disk included with the paperback.

    2. I’m curious, which better helps you get the green light to make the next release, paper or digital (in case I only buy one format)?


    1. What you get depends on which book you buy. The 2010 bible has a CD, but it only includes sample files, no digital version. The Surfacing book doesn’t have a CD, only a download site. Each has a Kindle version, but with the 2010 Bible, you can’t download the CD data. All of this is stuff the publisher set up. I don’t have anything to do with it. As long as you buy one type or another, one doesn’t count more than the other toward the next release.

  29. hi matt

    i would like to buy this book but im living in mexico and y have a paypal account

    i want to know if its possible to get this book in pdf. of if you know where can i buy this book in mexico.

    send me and email please

    thanks a lot!!

  30. @Jose
    If you want to buy the book, it’s all over the internet. You’ve heard of Google maybe? or possibly Amazon? Dunno, but you might start with one of those.

  31. Hi Matt,

    Just got the book and so far it make useful reading! I’m sorry if I’ve missed the obvious but where can I find the tutorial models etc to download?

  32. Matt,
    Love the book and about halfway thru it. I downloaded all of the tutorial parts including those for Chapter 10. It seems like some of the 3D sketches and the Surface-Extrude 1 are missing from the “start part” used for Tutorial 10.2: Finial. Anyways I took it as a challenge to “finish” the part on my own. I guess they were intentionally left out?! Do you happen to have an updated part that includes all these features?

  33. @Bill
    the biggest difference is that the Knit feature in 2010 enables you to use tolerances to help knits knit. That requires a whole new discussion of tolerances with regards to surfaces. The publisher ultimately schedules updates.

  34. @matt
    Thanks for the reply Matt! There probably arent many game-changing differences (surfacing-wise) between the 08 and 10 version anyway, at least as I’ve noticed anyway.

    So I am definitely getting this! 🙂

  35. A friend of mine got this book recently and it looks really great! I am definitely getting a copy really soon, only wondering though… I am using SW2010, is there a newer version of this book around the corner, or should I just get this one asap?


  36. Hi Matt:
    Great book. Just wondering what website your examples are referring to in the book. Can you send me a link to the example models.

  37. matt :
    2. Well, In the US, I would go to Tell them you need a SW box, and they’ll hook you up.
    You’d actually be better off at this site: asking about computers.
    Best of luck!

    Yea, this info is burried… It should be on the inside of the book or something. I’ve been looking for nearly an hour. Not cool.

  38. @matt
    Thanks for that, Matt.
    I understand what you are saying. Clearly you’re not calling the shots on this issue.

    If you care to email me Wiley’s Editorial Manager’s address, I’m happy to take this up with them

    As for “I know it’s illegal but I cannot afford to buy it”

    I think rahul needs to look up ‘non sequitur’.

    The second part of his sentence has no influence on, or relation to, the first

    The MOST respected member of this forum is the person whom you have disrespected in the worst way, so your ‘respected members’ are the words of a weasel.

  39. respected members can anyone of you is willing to share this book with me I know its illegal but I need it for my B.Tech project and I cannot afford to buy it…..looking forward for help thanks in advance

    1. Just because you are a student doesn’t mean you are entitled to my hard work for free. Are you so clueless that you would post a request for pirated material on the author’s blog?

  40. @Simon Job

    Firstly, GREAT book, best single SldWks-related volume I’ve yet to get my hands on (and that includes the official training books).
    It’s great that you are even-handed about what does and does not work; my biggest beef about SW Help used to be the extent to which it glossed over limitations and constraints
    (To be fair, I think they’ve greatly improved, both by making Help more comprehensive, and by elevating a lot of constraints)

    Furthermore, I very much like your non-prescriptive approach in shaping the content. It’s great not to be hemmed in by the writer’s preferred line of attack, especially given that SolidWorks offers so many routes to the same broad destination. (Something I regret when dealing with the plain-vanilla, geometric primitive creation tools, but becomes an asset when you get into surfacing and such, where, as you rightly warn, methods 1 and 2 may not work as designed.)

    OK, I could go on forever with bouquets but I have work to do (shoque, horreur!) so just a wee brickbat.

    I’m going to take up the cudgels in support of Simon.
    Prior to purchase I was personally aware of, and happy with, the 2008 linkage (which happened to be the version I was at)
    At this remove, I can’t recall how I knew that, and the book itself offers scant help on this. No date on front or back cover, the only date mentioned in the Preface (several times) is 2007 (citing the 2007 Bible as a companion volume)
    As far as I can see the ONLY clue is the tiny copyright date on the flyleaf, and these are not always reflective of a publication date, moreover, not everyone can get a magnum opus on the market as fast as you, so even the publication date is not a reliable guide to the version covered.

    Given that the date is part of the title of your Bibles, would it put too big a crimp on future sales to specify, prominently, the earliest version your Surfacing books tie into?
    [eg: Front cover: “Complete example models (v2008)]
    [or (perhaps too clumsily) Title: SolidWorks – Surfacing and Complex Modelling (2008 on)]

    And even if that did compromise future sales, is that not preferable to people buying information they might believe to be up-to-date, only to find it is not?

    I think it’s also telling to note that reading Simon’s post was the only way a reader of this page could have known what version the examples, models and detailed procedures were based on.

    None of this , as I said, impacts on me personally, and I pass this on because I greatly respect both your work and your business model.

    If they were to become even better, (with or without my interference!) I would be absolutely stoked. (Now that’s showing my age! At least I didn’t say … “thrilled” 🙂

    1. Andrew,

      Thanks for the comments! That book remains my favorite

      About the date: Yeah, I agree, the date should figure in there somewhere more prominently. I’m just an author writing for a big publisher, and the publisher sets the title. They specifically left the date out of the title because this was a niche book, and they did not plan to update it every year, so they wanted longer shelf life.

      It was written on a beta of 2008, but even in 2010, there are fewer than a dozen things that I would change due to new or changed functions. I would change more than that based on stuff I’ve learned.

      I won’t defend my response to Simon. Maybe it was right, maybe it was wrong.

  41. I really like this book a lot. It uses my favorite classical car ever, Shelby Cobra. The ironic part is that one of my students stole the book from my book case. Just when I started to get into it.

  42. @matt
    maybe later , the reason for this question was wether its practical to buy the surface modelling bible now or wait for the next release ,
    thanks a lot,

  43. Hello Mr. Lombard ,
    thanks for the great books,
    is there an updated or new version to be expected of “the Surface and complex shape modelling book” within time ?
    this on behalf of the people working with SW 2009/2010 and service packs as the current book was published in 2008

    1. GJ,

      No, there is no update for this book planned at this time. Since 2008, there have been few updates affecting surfacing in a major way. I don’t see the need for an overhaul through 2010, but hopefully 2011 will bring us more stuff to write about. Did you have questions about anything in particular?

  44. Dear Customer,

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  45. Hi Matt,

    Could you please answer on two following questions:
    1.I have your book SolidWorks Surfacing… Where can I download models from?
    2.Can you recommend trustedconfiguration of strong PC for Solidworks 2009?


  46. Matt –
    Excellent tutorial, well written and logical from a 12 year SW solids user. First venture into surfacing. I am working with models converted to 2009 SP 3.0 and find an interesting anomaly in the chapter 15 ladle. Upon editing the initial loft the feature manager only has the curve 1 profile and the start constraint box is empty. If I do nothing and hit accept the loft fails, not surprisingly. If I exit out all is copacetic. If I delete the loft and try to recreate it I cannot get it to loft correctly.
    Onward and upward. Cheers bob

  47. Matt,
    I just received your Surfaceing book last week. It is extremely well layed out and I am impressed with the clarity with which you present concepts and use of surfacing tools, Something about your writing style is connecting really well with me, so I appreciate all your efforts! This book has far surpassed my expectations!

    Thanks to you Matt, and to those who you mention in the book acknowlegments!

    I have been using SolidWorks since 1999, but never before now have I followed any of the SW related sites such as yours or Mike Wilson’s.
    I am amazed at the caliber of brilliant and helpful people the SW community is comprised of.
    Kind Regards,

  48. Love this book, it’s fantastic!!!!!! My only PROBLEM is the thickening feature and i can’t figure out why, when i follow your steps and make a model identical to yours, the feature thicken fails every time? i’m siting chapter 16, modeling a trowel.

    What are reasons for this not happening? is thicken just extremely finicky. i can’t even do a proper offset without the surfaces gettin gall messed up. very sad.

  49. Dear matt
    i know this might be out of context but as your blog header says that it discusses mechanical engineering too(not just industrial engineering and styling) i’ll be so much appreciated if you share some of your knowledge on bringing complex shapes and models into real world (processes and manufacturing methods).

  50. I have just purchased this book and I am sure it’s great, however nowhere does it say prior to buying this book that the sample files can only be opened in SW 2008. I only have SW 2007, Not impressed at all.

    Well, sorry about that, but honestly, what version did you expect the files to be in? Plus, the reverse compatibility problem is not my fault. The book had to be written on the latest version of the software. Doing anything else just didn’t make sense. Some of the techniques cannot be used in previous versions. Not all the parts could be built using the same techniques in 2007.

    Anyway, if you have questions, I will make an effort to answer them. I’m glad to see that the books are making it out to NZ so quickly.

  51. So the Surfacing books arrived – 1 personal, 1 for department. It looks amazing! Now all I need to do is to find the time to begin working thru it. I don’t suppose the “extra time” is being shipped separately, is it?

    Oh, yes! I’ve got a whole box of extra time here. I just pull out a couple handfuls every time I need it. I’ll send you a box full.

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