Show/Hide Navigation

Solid Modeling

Solid modeling is the process of creating a three-dimensional computer model of an object.  A solid model uses mathematical expressions in order to create a virtual representation of nearly any type of object, ranging from large scale structures to atomic particles. Various types of computer aided design (CAD) software packages can be used to build solid models.  CAD software can be used to create a stand-alone component, or can be used to integrate multiple components to create complex assemblies such as an automobile or an industrial machine.  Solid modeling allows the user to manipulate a model at will, showing a visual representation of an object from any viewpoint.  If desired, solid models can also be used to produce two-dimensional engineering drawings.


Once a solid model is created, it can be used with other software applications to enable various types of computational analyses to be performed, such as stress analysis, fluid flow analysis, or electrical simulation analysis. A solid model can also be used in the production process to determine the consequences of modifying a given part dimension or part feature.   This enables refinement of an object’s design without having to build it first, which reduces time and cost in both design and production. In the case of assemblies, dimensional modification allows for testing of potential problems such as interference.  For prototyping applications, a solid model can be used to generate an instruction set for various types of equipment, such as 3D printers or CNC machines, which can enable a fully-functional component to be produced.

A National Resource and Center of Excellence

More Information

Capability Statement

Tri-Fold Brochure (PDF)