Outer Shell Tool: Creating an outer shell

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Creating an outer shell

The Outer Shell tool is used to remove and clean up geometry that is on the inside of overlapping groups or components (all outer faces remain). The Outer Shell tool is often used, for example, to to remove unneeded geometry on the inside of a model of a structure to improve the model's performance in Google Earth. An intersection can be performed on two or more intersecting groups or components.

The result of an outer shell is similar to the result of a union. However, the result of an outer shell can only contain external faces while the result of a union can also contain internal geometry.

The following image shows two square tubes on the left, a union of the tubes in the center, and an outer shell of the tubes on the right:

Activate the Outer Shell tool from the tool palette (Mac OS X), the Solid Tools toolbar (Microsoft Windows) or the Tools > Solid Tools menu.

The following image shows two groups:

The following image shows these two groups when they overlap:

The following image shows the overlapping geometry of these two groups using X-Ray mode:

To create an outer shell:

  1. Select the Outer Shell tool (). The cursor changes to an arrow with a circle and a slash () if you are not over a group or component or a arrow with the number 1 () if you are over a group or component.
  2. Click on the group or component. The first group or component is selected. The following image shows the right group selected:
  3. Click on the second group or component. The outer faces remain.

Note: The Outer Shell tool will only operate on geometry that has watertight volume (no holes).

The Outer Shell works on nested components and groups (one level of nesting).

Creating an outer shell by preselecting groups or components

You can also preselect the groups or components before performing an outer shell. To preselect groups and components and perform an outer shell:

  1. Select the Select tool (Select Tool). The cursor changes to an arrow.
  2. Select all of the intersecting groups or components. The selected entities are highlighted in blue.
  3. Context-Click on one groups or components. The context-menu appears.
  4. Select Solid Tools > Outer Shell. The outer faces remain.