“Computer Aided Design of Sculptured Surfaces” by Simon

  • ©Richard L. Simon




    Computer Aided Design of Sculptured Surfaces

Session/Category Title: Applications to Civil Engineering and Architecture Session




    Have you ever designed a molded product with one or more intricately curved surfaces? If you did, chances are that you had a difficult time getting the idea on paper and communicating to those who would manufacture it. This dilemma does not have to be one if innovative and relatively easy mathematical computer techniques are applied, One does not have to be a super mathematician or programmer to implement the methods described here.

    Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques have been used by Industry, university, and the government with ever increasing frequency to solve a variety of engineering problems. The aerospace and automotive industries have been the major contributors to mathematical surface generation techniques [1], [2], [3]. These techniques employ various surface patch interpolation schemes based on parametric cubic polynomial curves and other higher order curves. Initial work in this area was carried out by Stephen Coons [4] and expanded by others [5],[2]. Characteristic of these CAD surface techniques is a heavy investment in mathematical description and software development. The smaller firm of individual most likely cannot afford such an Investment in developing a CAD surface system, but he can conceive a less sophisticated surface technique suited to the needs of one or more design problems. In doing so he can implement the rudiments of the sophisticated CAD surface systems.


    1. Parslow, R., D., Advances in Computer Graphics, Plenum press, London, 1971.
    2. Armit, A., P., “A Multipatch Design System For Coons’ Patches”, IEEE International Conference On Computer Aided Design, Conf Publ., 51, Southampton, April 1969.
    3. Prince, David, Interactive Graphics For Computer Aided Design, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, Mass., 1971.
    4. Coons S., “Surfaces For Computer Aided Design Of Space Forms,” MAC-TR41, MIT 1967.
    5. Forrest, A., R., “Curves And Surfaces For Computer Aided Design,” Doctoral Dissertation, University Of Cambridge, July 1968.
    6. Simon, Richard, L., “A Sculptured Surface Program You Can Write Yourself,” Machine Design, August 6, 1974.
    7. Albert, David, “New, Low-Cost Interactive Graphics,” Machine Design, January 25, 1973.

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