Class A surfaces

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Class A surfaces is a term used in automotive design to describe a set of freeform surfaces of high efficiency and quality. Although, strictly, it is nothing more than saying the surfaces have curvature and tangency alignment - to ideal aesthetical reflection quality, many people interpret class A surfaces to have G2 (or even G3) curvature continuity to one another (see freeform surface modelling).

Class A surfacing is done using computer-aided industrial design applications. Class A surface modellers are also called "digital sculptors" in the industry. Industrial Designers develop their design styling through the A surface, the physical surface the end user can feel, touch, see etc.

A common method of working is to start with a prototype model and produce smooth mathematical Class A surfaces to describe the product's outer body. From this the production of tools and inspection of finished parts can be carried out. Class A surfacing complements the prototype modelling stage by reducing time and increasing control over design iterations.

Class A surfaces can be defined as any surface, that has styling intent, that is either seen, touched or both.

In an automotive application that means everything on the outside excluding the under body and the interior. This can also include beauty covers in the engine compartment.

In the product realm it can be a hand drill to plastic laundry detergent bottles to kids toys to furniture.

Aerospace has some styling considerations like bezels for air vents and lights.


Clay Modelling[edit]

Class A surfacing / digital sculpting is similar to clay modelling with the added advantage of computing power to change or incorporate design changes in existing/new design.Categoryed design