Revving Up Software Training

26 Aug, 2010 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

User Profile: Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn is determined to teach 3D modeling techniques in a way that's challenging, accessible — and fun.

At just twenty-five years old, Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn has already mastered the finer points of 3D modeling: his sports car designs took third place in both the 2007 SolidWorks Design Contest Benelux and the 2008 SolidWorks 3D Challenge Europe. Zuyderduyn's ambitions don't end with his own career, however; he wants to share his expertise with other designers. Earlier this year, Zuyderduyn launched SolidWorksModel, where beginners and pros alike can purchase his SolidWorks tutorials. As they work through all 15 e-books, users build a glossy, curvaceous motorcycle model — and hone their modeling, assembly, and rendering skills.

Cadalyst: You must have gotten started with CAD at a young age. How did you become interested in the technology?

When I was sixteen, I started at school with Inventor to discover the basics of 3D modeling. I found it fun and challenging to create designs in 3D. I thought it was great to see how an idea and shape in my thoughts was converted to a realistic 3D model.

Why did you choose to work with SolidWorks?

I began using SolidWorks about six years ago. I was placed in the top three in multiple international car design contests, and during the contests I learned a lot about the software. SolidWorks is very user-friendly, and it's a great package to learn 3D modeling; many design schools are working with it.

How did you decide on your teaching method and medium?

Students at my school asked me many times how I modeled my designs using SolidWorks. In the summer of 2009, I was searching for a job; in the meantime, I wrote the SolidWorks tutorials to help other users to discover the most important features of the software.

Here, Jan-Willem Zuyderduyn "rides" the custom chopper model he created for his SolidWorks tutorial series.

Brand-new CAD users may feel overwhelmed by how much they have to learn. What advice do you have for them?

Practice, practice, practice! Start with the basics (2D), and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

What's your take on the current state of CAD education?

It's not very good. You can find some tutorials to create a box, a spring, or a candlestick.  When I learned SolidWorks, I couldn't find any advanced tutorials at all; sometimes it was really frustrating. This is one of the reasons that I created SolidWorksModel.

What are your plans for the future? Can we expect more tutorials?

I am currently working on a PhotoView360 tutorial that will teach users how to render a complete car, using my detailed SolidWorks model from the car design contest as the render object. I am sure it will help a lot of SolidWorks users to create amazing renders! In the future, I will write an advanced surface-modeling tutorial for Pro/ENGINEER users.

How do you use CAD in your daily life?

Currently I am working as an automotive designer in Eindhoven, the design city of the Netherlands. I work daily with 3D modeling software to create sophisticated cars. We normally work with Pro/ENGINEER for the advanced surface modeling. I use Bunkspeed HyperShot for renders; we also work a lot with Photoshop and with Maxwell Render and Cinema 4D for design visualizations. We also use HyperWorks for FEM (finite element method) analyses.

3D modeling is one of the most important tasks during my job. It's indispensable for advanced surface modeling. CAD gives you the freedom to create shapes that were impossible previously. It is also a great tool for aerodynamic calculations.

Apart from CAD, what other interests do you enjoy?

I like to drive in my blue convertible! It gives an incredible sense of freedom and clears the mind. (I drive an Alfa Romeo Spider designed by Pininfarina himself.)

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