Autodesk acquires T-Splines technology

Autodesk acquires T-Splines technology

Autodesk has just announced the acquisition of a number of technology assets from T-Splines Inc., a surface modeling software company which produced plug-ins for Rhino and SolidWorks.

tsElementsT-Splines is a privately-held surface modeling software company, based in Utah.

In the latest years it has developed plug-ins based on a patented technology called “T-Splines”, which are defined as a “superset of NURBS”.

In practical terms, this technology allows to create 3D models using an approach very similar to polygonal modeling, with some distinctive features:

  • the surfaces created are curvature continuous and particularly smooth.
  • it is possible to match the T-Splines to NURBS curves or surfaces with curvature continuity and to within any tolerance.
  • at any time the surfaces can be easily transformed into NURBS polysurfaces made of a number of untrimmed patches.
T-Splines Car converted to NURBS

A T-Splines model (left) and its conversion to NURBS surfaces

model by Joaquin LabordaThese characteristics make the T-Splines technology very useful in jewelry, industrial design and automotive design, allowing to some extent to directly design in 3D, while being able to have a NURBS final model that can be used for further operations, such as trimming, filleting, etc.

This approach is filling a gap between the traditional CAD NURBS modeling – very precise but less flexible in terms of free-form modifications capability – and the polygonal/subdiv modeling – very flexible for organic shapes but a bit problematic with the typical CAD functions used for production-ready models (boolean operations, cuts, holes, etc.)

Car 3D model by Juan SantoconoUntil today, T-Splines Inc.’s product range included the T-Splines modeling plug-in for Rhino, and the tsElements plug-in for SolidWorks.

Waiting for further developments, below we report the official statements by Buzz Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry at Autodesk.

“The technology acquisition will strengthen our Digital Prototyping portfolio with more flexible free-form modeling and will help achieve even closer integration between industrial design and engineering workflows.”

“T-Splines technology will benefit designers and engineers that require watertight surfaces for downstream analysis and manufacturing.”

For more information about T-Splines, visit

(Source: Autodesk, T-Splines)

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