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Studying the Next Generation of LED Light Bulbs

One of my “geekier” passions (and I have quite a few) is home technology. From home automation to green energy, I enjoy it all. I’ve been looking at home LED light bulbs for some time now but the one thing that has kept me away from them has been the cost… until now.


Last week, I stumbled across an article on CNET which introduces a new, inexpensive LED light bulb that looks and feels like a “regular” incandescent bulb.

Seeing the images intrigued me. How do they eliminate the ugly heat sinks and not have the electronics melt? Well, since I have some of the most powerful modeling and simulation tools in the world here at my fingertips, I decide to do some testing myself.

In this blog series, I will go through how I modeled the bulb using SOLIDWORKS, and set the study up in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation and reviw the results.

A quick Google search gives me dimensions and a rough shape for the light bulb.


Then, using an image from the Cree website, I create my first sketch.

Using Sketch picture and sizing it appropriately (Using the Enable Scalefeature) made it much easier to get into the modeling faster. Pretty close, and certainly close enough for what I need.


Then I found the most helpful image in the model creation. Someone had cut away the outer “bulb” part to expose the circuit boards and LEDs.


To create the circuit board geometry, I created a “plus” extrusion, much larger than the bulb. I then created an offset surface from the inside of the bulb. Using this surface, I cut away the extraneous portion of the boards using Cut with Surface.

bulbs bulbs

Now for the fun part, the vents! I noticed the bottom vents were different sizes as they moved down the bulb. What a great use for Linear Pattern with instances to vary! I varied the spacing AND the slot size in one feature to save time and resources.


For the top vent, I wanted to save some time and didn’t feel like sketching all the cut outs and patterning them. This was a perfect application for the Venttool! I imported a top view image (thank you again, Google), then traced the opening, ribs, and spars. Voilà, top vents done.


As an added bonus, I even got total area and open area measurements.

bulbs bulbs

For the base, I created a simple revolve with helical threads, then shelled it. This was not a critical component to my study, so I just eyeballed it. Here is the final design with appearances and decals. For some added realism, I turned on RealView, Ambient Occlusion, and Shadows. Please note: this is NOT a PhotoView360 rendering! For those of you who attended one of our 2015 Rollouts, Jesse and I did a Photo Rendering session where we discuss that 90% of photo rendering occurs before PhotoView. Stay tuned to this blog for more details on that!


Now that I have finished the model, check out my next blog post where I run some Flow Simulation analyses.

Thanks for reading. As always, if you have any questions on the tools mentioned in this post, feel free to call us. Modeling everyday items is how we stay sharp, so pick up something from around your office or home, and see if you can model it in SOLIDWORKS using tools you have never used before.

Good luck and happy modeling!





Disclaimer: I do not own any of the non-SolidWorks images in this article. Cree did not sponsor or sanction this post.

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