CATIA, Component Based Design, Computational Design, Research

High LOD Glazing Panel Creation

It’s a constant struggle with most modeling programs to create truly high LOD models. And this is especially true if the shape or design being attempted is not rectilinear or a quadrilateral. Fortunately, there some great tools, such as xGenerative Design, Assembly Design, and Building 3D Design to help with this, as well as this super helpful video, which I highly recommend to watch.

The Design

Rhino model imported into xGenerative Design, with each reference surface

I used a design of a skylight done in Rhino; the model had the base surfaces which represent the glazing panels. In order to add more detail to this model, I looked at the detail drawings provided by the client, which gave important info such as the type of glazing, size of panels, and offsets for things like sealants — turns out, the glazing panel is triple pane with 1/2″ offset between panels for the sealant!

Creating the Panel

The glass panel was created using Assembly Design, and the Covering element type contains all the different parts of the panel.

Tree Structure

The panel’s basic structure within Assembly Design

The tree structure is made up of two parts: the Skeleton and Plate. The skeleton contains all the inputs and base geometry required to build up the panel, such as the axis system, points, boundary curve and surface. The ‘Plate’ mostly contains references from the Skeleton, in order to further build up the geometry which makes up the panel.


View of panel, highlighting the inputs which make up the panel

The inputs are crucial in order to create a template, which will be referenced in the overall design later on.

Panel Construction

The Thickened Surface tool, highlighting the linked surface

To create the glass panels, the surface from the Skeleton is copied into the Plate as a link. Then, using the Thicken Surface tool, the first glass panel is created. The rest of the panels are made in the same way, with the offset distances varying depending on its location.

One thing to note is that the ‘Offset’ of the surface is controlled by a formula, which has some associated parameters which can be changed. This isn’t so important as it’s unlikely that the glass panel type, and therefore thickness, will change after the design development phase, but it was a nice exercise in creating a more parametric model.

Plate Construction

View of a Sketch, for the profile for the sweep which represents the sealants

Another parameter that drives the overall shape of the panel is an ‘Offset’, which allows room to add a profile for the sealant. The boundary is constructed using a polyline, created using the input points. The profile is constrained by a point on the polyline, as well as the linked surface.

In the next post, I’ll go over how to create an Engineering Template from this model. Stay tuned!