The SolidWorks Secret Weapon: The Wrap Tool

January 2, 2009 37 Comments »
The SolidWorks Secret Weapon: The Wrap Tool

Have you ever wanted to place a logo on a SolidWorks model?  There are of course a number of ways to do this.  If you want the logo to be embossed or cut you probably would first think of the Extrude tool.  But then again what if the surface is curved?  Hmm…well what if you only want the logo to appear like a decal on the model?  One possibility for this would certainly be the Decal function inside of PhotoWorks.  The only problem with that is that you can’t view the decal when you share your model via E-Drawings or other 3D web viewing formats.

Everything I have mentioned above can be accomplished with the Wrap feature!  I am often surprised at how this tool can sometimes be forgotten by SolidWorks users.  Here is the low down.  The Wrap tool allows you to “apply” 2D Geometry to a surface much in the way you apply a sticker or decal to your everyday items.  Extrude and Split Line Operations only PROJECT 2D data to surfaces.

wrap1The REALLY cool thing about the wrap tool is that you have the option to use sketches to emboss, cut, or scribe a model face.  The scribe option is probably the most overlooked.  It is very similar to the Split Line tool in that it splits faces without changing the “shape” of the surface or solid face.  If all you are doing is splitting faces, then the Wrap tool has one key advantage over the Split Line tool in that it can handle multiple closed profiles without using the Contour Selection tool.  If you DO want to use the Contour Selection tool, then it supports that also.  (You must preselect using Contour Selection PRIOR to initiating the feature.)  The biggest limitation with this tool is that it only can be used on single planar, cylindrical, or conical faces.  (Here’s a prime candidate for an Enhancement Request!).

wrap2You can also Emboss or Deboss (cut) solids with this tool.  The only disadvantage of it versus the Extrude is the lack of a built in Draft Option.  It does however allow you to set a pull direction which can come in handy on plastic parts.

While it might not be the most well know feature it sure has come in handy for me more than a few times….so check it out if you haven’t yet.  It just might end up being the Secret Weapon for YOUR next project!

Stay tuned….more to come!

TigerDirect

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  • http://WWW.BARRY-WEHMILLER.COM Rod_Uding

    This is an excellent tool for those who need it. In my line of work, I have never needed to use it and it appears I never will :(. However, it is always good to be reminded of lesser used tools. I may be able to recommend a a solution to someone based on the posts like this one even if I do not have the need to use it. Thanks for reminding us about it Ricky and pointing out the plus/minus of the tool.

  • ecirwin

    Just thought I would add a comment about the idea of using this type of feature on something other than planar, cylindrical, or conical faces. This feature is based on actually “wrapping” the geometry onto the surface. That translates into the real world as being able to lay a sheet of paper or maybe a sticker onto a surface without wrinkling it, or stretching it. Which means that spherical and organic surfaces are off the list.

    I understand the desire for this kind of feature, but I also understand the mathematical limitations. When you consider how the geometry would have to distort to make this possible, then you have to ask where would the distortion happen. Things like graphics and text don't do well when you start to distort them. It doesn't take much to make them look like you are seeing them in a carnival mirror. I don't think that is the desired effect.

  • cadcamstuff

    “Eye twitching”, thought we where talking about Christmas present for a moment.
    Really cool post, I'm defiantly going to play around with this feature, thanks Ricky

  • Richard Williams

    I for one Rick, will use this now. Haven't had a reason before but it seems so easy according to how you taught it here that I'm ready to kick the tires. Thanks Ricky

    Richie

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Hi Rod! I'm glad you liked the post. I'm going to try to zero in on some tools like this that really are handy but don't often get much press, so look for more in the future!

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Yes, I'm sure that there would be some mathematical challenges in expanding this tool in future versions….but SolidWorks does have some really talented programmers….so we will wait and see. :-)

    You raise some great points. It's not the best tool for all jobs…but one that is often forgotten. My hope is that when we raise discussions like this we can help generate some ideas for SolidWorks to use in future versions. Thanks for you inputs! :-)

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    GREAT! It's good to explore features we don't use much. I try to do it as often as possible. Let us know how your experiences with it go!

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Richie,

    Glad to help. Let us know how it goes for you! :-)

    Ricky

  • steve

    its a shame that the wrap tool is three times slower than an extrude on a planer face.

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Yes…I have seen this too. For planar surfaces Extrude is probably better since you have the option to add draft during creation. If you need to just split faces on a planar face, I like the Wrap tool better though since it can handle multiple closed loops much easier vs. the Split Line too.

    Ricky

  • sy

    how can i add a company logo picture on a cylinderical shape surface any idea

  • csonon

    You would use the “Decal” tool available in Photoworks; this is the easiest way to wrap a company logo onto any surface.

  • Alex

    How can I do “Wrap” in CATIA like solidworks?

  • Natasha P.

    Thank you so very much for this amazing tip.. have been looking everywhere for more than a week on how to drat logos on parts in Solidworks – (I'm new to the program), but have to do it for my work! – and the paycheck!:).. – Thanks so much.. Very useful info – I feel I should have to pay you for it!!:))) Thanks!!!!

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Alex,

    I'm not familiar with CATIA so unfortunately I cannot help with the Wrap tool in that software. Try searching the net and see what you can find. There are some users who post a lot of CATIA videos on YouTube. You can try contacting one of those individuals and see if they can help.

    Ricky

  • http://www.rickyjordan.com Ricky Jordan

    Natasha,

    LOL! I'm glad you are finding the information useful. This site was started so that we can all share information on SolidWorks. Keep us posted on your progress.

    Ricky

  • Duane

    Ricky

    Hoping you could take a minute and help me out. I have a question on LinkedIn Freelance that I would like you to take a look at. I want to put a logo (text) on a surface by using annotations (lettering) I need it on a rad and to size it to suit the part.
    The sketched letters jump around on me and I am lost at getting the letters on a suitable rad.
    I suppose there is a first time for everything?
    Thanks
    Duane
    duanecooley@ezlink.ca

  • erichunt

    Any suggestions on why when I'm using the wrap feature certain radiuses are not able to be wrapped? For example I was modeling a .07 mm hole (yes I know that's small) and Solidworks would not be able to build the wrap feature, but if I increased the hole size to .078 it would work. Also I was trying to wrap a sketch with a .02 mm hole and the wrap would just ignore the hole and make it solid. This time if I shrank the hole to .0148 mm (nothing larger) then the wrap would build with the hole.

    thanks

  • http://www.dempseygraphics.com/ WebDesignBoy

    very useful tip ha!
    i try to use this with everything i do now ha!

  • Solovee

    Newbie here
    Interesting – thanks for that.
    Rick, can you model a book (like a manual) for me with a coil binding spring as a single part.

    Thanks

  • http://productventures.com/ John

    Any other options? I want to emboss/deboss a logo onto a curved (revolved), sort of spherical surface. An extrude ends up really warping the extremities of the logo because the size size/diameter of the revolve is small compared to the size of the logo . The decal won't help me as I will be using the cad to create either an SLA model or a CNC'd model, so the geometry has to be in the CAD file. Any ideas?

  • http://productventures.com/ John

    Any other options? I want to emboss/deboss a logo onto a curved (revolved), sort of spherical surface. An extrude ends up really warping the extremities of the logo because the size size/diameter of the revolve is small compared to the size of the logo . The decal won't help me as I will be using the cad to create either an SLA model or a CNC'd model, so the geometry has to be in the CAD file. Any ideas?

  • Koksal

    Cylinderical and planer surface OK, but wrapping on to conical surface is not possible with release sw2010.

  • hectorC

    Awesome command! Is there a way to wrap, instead of text, an image? probably in photoworks? idk, i've never used photoworks.

    thank you.

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  • ant

    this command is AMAZING. I just build a new part for my company and they love it. the positivity is exuding from all cracks.

  • Anonymous
  • Gary Shim

    does the wrap tool work for exrtuded cut curved surfaces? I am trying to emboss a measuring scale on a curved angled surface such as on a protactor for a vice base.

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    Thank you for sharing this! I found a few interesting sites here

  • http://www.zenlayout.com company logo

    I do feel your services to be up outstanding and rather cute hope the cost is affordable……considering returns on investment.

  • Richard Chiang

    Hi Ricky: Hope you can help me with WRAP. I am designing a cylindrical die roll. I first emboss wrap a eclipse shape on surface of the cylinder. Then I deboss wrap a smaller eclipse inside to form a oval ring/pocket for cutting. I have no problem making one ring/pocket. But can not linear, or circular pattern the wrap process. Seems the pattern process will not accept deboss on emboss wrap.
    I can do these by using extrude prcess, but the edge of cutting ring is not in radial direction. I am trying to make this using deboss wrap on emboss wrap.

  • Rkonczal

    I’ve been wrapping on conical surfaces since 2005

    It works great

  • Cclark

    Hello Sir,

  • venice

    Nice and interesting site,

  • Professional Admission Essays

    wow i get your blog very informative.the wrap tool. before this i dont know about this knowledge.

  • Nguyen

    Hi Ricky,
    Thanks for the trick. I have another question that I’d like to ask: Do you know how to wrap a multiple curves (texture pattern) onto to multiple – non planar or cylindrical – surfaces?