When you extrude a loop from a sketch, the result is usually a solid. However, you can also generate surfaces using Inventor’s modeling commands. Unlike solid modeling, surface modeling does not require a closed profile, and virtually any line or curve that you sketch can be converted to a surface.
Modeling with surfaces is easy: simply sketch a profile and use any modeling command to turn it into a surface. Any profile that is used to generate a solid can be used to create a surface, simply by selecting the surface option in the modeling command. For instance, a sweep of a circular profile can produce a 3D solid pipe-like object, or a hollow sleeve with a surface defining its boundary.
Surface modeling adds flexibility to your design. The Surface section in the 3D Modeling tab contains all the commands unique to surface operations. For instance, the Sculpt command allows the addition or removal of material to a solid by defining a surface boundary. This allows easy conversion from an airtight surface to a solid. You can also trim surfaces the same way you can trim lines in a sketch. Select the cutting entity, then select the part you want removed. This method allows easy modification of a surface model by removing parts of a surface that intersects another.
Easily form complex surfaces with the Patch command. By defining a sketch boundary or an edge loop, you can make a surface adjoining all the points on your boundary. You can also add “Guide Rails” so that your patch follows a specific curvature instead of taking the shortest route. The computer mouse shown above was created by extruding a sketch profile in surface mode, then using another surface to trim the sides to give the sides a curved profile and completed by patching the gap at the top with the help of a guide rail. It’s that easy!