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Module XUE-4021:
Parametric CAD & Adv Surf Mod

Module Facts

Run by School of Education and Human Development

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Mr Aled Williams

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of the module is to develop and validate students’ practical capability in CAD to a commercial / professional standard. CAD applications enable designers and engineers to rapid and efficiently design and manufacture new products without the need for traditional lengthy prototyping and testing. Skilful implementation of this technology is essential in quickly bringing new innovations market. The module initially focuses on parametric solid modelling of products and their constituent parts. The module progresses onto advanced surface modelling techniques which are highly regarded and sought after within industry. The module also aims to develop students’ ability to generate commercial quality 3D renders and engineering drawings. The module prepares students for SolidWorks CSWA, CSWP and CSWPA – Surfacing certification.

Course content

  1. Reference geometry – planes and axes, sketch conventions and best practices
  2. Feature tree optimisation processes and methods
  3. Advanced sketch features – relations and mates
  4. Boss and cut features, fillets and chamfers, linear, circular, and fill patterns
  5. Inserting components and materials, evaluating properties
  6. Drawings and annotations, 3d rendering, tolerances
  7. Advanced surfacing techniques, continuity and surface type overview
  8. Reverse engineering processes, lofts, boundaries and fills
  9. Intersectional techniques and curve generation, knit and trim
  10. Integrating surface and solid bodies, generating assemblies
  11. Additive manufacturing preparation of parts
  12. C0, C1 and C2 degrees of surface continuity
  13. Freeform manipulation
  14. Flattening, exporting and 2D file generation for manufacture

Assessment Criteria


50-59%: Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the assignment; conceptual understanding is acceptable. CAD modelling work is constructed in a reliable manner, with an appreciation of commercial standards and requirements. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved and solutions are acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound.


60 -69%: Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the assignment and shows good evidence of drawing skill beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. CAD modelling work is constructed in a reliable and efficient manner, with a good appreciation of commercial standards and requirements. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


70% and above: Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the assignment; conceptual understanding is outstanding. CAD modelling work is exemplary and shows a thorough analysis and appraisal of outcomes, with appropriate suggestions for improvement. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a commercial level of skill in advanced surface modelling through creating: complex surfaces with three degrees of continuity, 3D sketching, surface manipulation, manufacturing and aesthetic considerations.

  2. Design and develop virtual creations intended for manufacturing and production, which deliver economic value through optimal solutions.

  3. Demonstrate pragmatism in taking a systematic approach and the logical and practical steps necessary for, often complex, concepts to become reality.

  4. Validate and justify their strategic approaches and design decisions to problem solving.

  5. Prove competence and skill at solving problems by applying their numerical, computational, analytical and technical skills, using appropriate tools.

  6. Demonstrate a commercial level of skill in parametric solid modelling through creating: reference geometry, CAD sketching, feature creation, physical and material properties, multi-body and assembly construction, drawings and annotations.

  7. Demonstrate a commercial level skill in the generation of commercial quality 3D renders and engineering drawings.

  8. Generate high quality CAD outcomes based on scientific underpinning principles of engineering.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Parametric CAD modelling, rendering and drawings 50
Advanced Surface Modelling 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Teaching Strategy: Lectures 12x2hrs

Taught through a combination of lectures and workshops to cover CAD design skills, including parametric and surface modelling.


Teaching Strategy: Seminar 6x2hrs

Review of effective modelling strategies and justification of outcomes against mathematical and virtual data outcomes.

Private study

50hrs assessment + Private study and research

Guided CAD technique research and implementation, skills refinement and exam preparation.


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others


Resource implications for students

A laptop of PC suitable for running CAD software – see following spec. • Ensuring the amount of RAM in the machine is sufficient for the typical size of datasets is important. Running regular, data-heavy Simulations increases the need for RAM, because large amounts of data typically needs to be loaded during calculations. Minimum amount of RAM: 16GB. If running Simulations, 32GB is recommend. • Graphics: SOLIDWORKS requires a professional, fully-certified graphics card which runs the OpenGL engine in order to function correctly (e.g. Nvidia Quadro and the AMD FirePro). SOLIDWORKS has been known to run on “gaming” graphics cards which use DirectX (e.g. AMD Radeon and the Nvidia Geforce cards), however users may experience graphical glitches. • Processor: CAD is predominantly a single core application. It is more effective to buy faster processors with fewer cores. Some processes in CAD do use multiple cores, e.g. opening and rebuilding drawings with multiple views. Rendering also uses multiple cores and will run effectively with eight or twelve. Simulations run efficiently with two or four cores. Recommendation: Intel i7 or Xeon processors • Storage: A fast mechanical HDD (spinning at 7200RPM or above), or a Solid-State Drive (SSD)

Reading list

• SolidWorks (2019) CSWA [Available Online:] • SolidWorks (2019) CSWP [Available Online:] • SolidWorks (2019) CSWPA-Surfacing [Available Online:] • SolidWorks (2019) SOLIDWORKS Tutorials: Advanced Techniques (Available from within the software application via the Help/SolidWorks Tutorials menu. • GoEngineer (2019) [Available Online:] • Hawk Ridge Systems (2019) [Available Online:] • Innova Systems (2019) [Available Online:]

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: