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Glen S. Gardner

?Nurbs in 9.01?

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I am new to using nurbs. All I seem to get are grey lines that can neither be filled shaded or textured. There is so little info included on this subject and I realy would like to find out how to do anything useful with this feature. I am a sculptor and complex curves and surfaces are important in my design work. What gives? Can I generate rendered surfaces with these tools?

Sincerely Glen G.

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VW currently doesn't have an interface for nurbs surfaces, just for curves. You can use vectorscript to create surfaces. More functionality will appear as time goes on.

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Glen, I have been a Minicad/Vectorworks user for a long time and as an industrial designer I have been looking for many of the same things. VectorWorks 9.01 is a fine cad package and the new nurbs features are a great improvement but if curves and blended surfaces are what you are searching for you have to make the jump to FORMZ . I am presently using both. If I want to build basic shapes and dimensioned layouts fast I use VW. If I need to create plastic formed shapes for stereo lithography I use FORMZ. The 2 programs are for different things. If you are using a Windows PC there are a lot of other 3d sculpting packages that will do what you looking for but for. As for the Mac platform its really only FORMZ.

P.S. It took me almost 2 weeks of reading manuals before FORMZ started making sense but now I can blend, fillet, warp, bend, and revolve in more ways than I can remember. I still have to revert back to VectorWorks for Drafting. You can see my early Minicad work on this web site in gallery under Robert Tiedemann, Stamford, CT (a pump cutaway drawing)

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Judging by the demo, the NURBS capabilities of VectorWorks 9 are indeed rather limited (although very nicely implemented).

As far as I am aware, Nemetschek will be launching a new product called Engineer in the near future which will fully leverage the capabilities of the SMLib modelling library - i.e. Skinning, fillets, shelling etc.

Currently, the best NURBS modeller on the Mac and one of the best on any platform is Vellum Solids. It has a standard Mac interface and is infinitely more powerful and easy to use than FormZ. It is also orders quicker than VectorWorks 9 for solids operations. The company which produces it can be found at http://www.ashlar-vellum.com/.

They are about to release a new product called Argon which will be OS X native and will cost $1000. It will have all the NURBS modelling capabilities most people need plus reasonable rendering. It does not, however, have the drafting and architecture related features of VectorWorks.

It will also give Nemetschek/AutoDessys (FormZ's publisher) a major headache given the price and feature set.

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Further to my previous post, which only really addressed the issues raised by the second post, the term 'NURBS' is a catch-all for a series of mathematical tools which are used by computer modelling applications to describe perfectly smooth 3D curves and surfaces. As far as I can see, VectorWorks 9 currently uses NURBS for the following tools:

?NURBS curves (smooth 3D polylines - imagine a bezier curve where you can move the points and handles in three dimensions but which does not have a 'Fill' colour or pattern).?Extrude along a Path.?Tapered Extrude.?Solids Modelling.

Unfortunately, it does not allow you to create NURBS surfaces directly. In most 3D packages this is done by using a Primitive (like the Spheres and Cones in VectorWorks but in this case a NURBS surface in the form of a grid which can be pulled about to create the desired shape) or by extrapolating a surface between selected NURBS curves. You are generally able to reshape these NURBS surfaces by moving their control points and handles - again rather like a bezier curve.

The only way I found to create NURBS surfaces in the VectorWorks 9 demo (I add this caveat because they may have added features in subsequent releases) is to ungroup a Path or Tapered Extrude. Regrettably, there does not seem to be any facility to edit the resultant surfaces.

You might also want to try Lundstrom Design's MCNurbs plug-in for VectorWorks. You can find details of this at http://www.algonet.se/~ludesign.

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Thanks to all who responded. I think I have a better idea of what "nurbs" generally means. I still don't have any idea what the use of just generating a nurbs curve would be as implemented in vw 9. I have a free copy of Amapi which I think I will play with for now. In the end, my hope is to be able to generate real working templates for the relatively complex sheet metal I create as a sculptor. I know about "McNurbs" and their 3-d unwrapping plug in, "Touch 3-d" I have played with their demos but as I am not an engineering per se I seem to spin out on the learning curve pretty often.Thanks again. Have a good holiday.

Glen G.

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As VW continues development, many current tools will have expanded functionality for future releases. The nurbs tool is one of the tools we are hoping to expand functionality of.

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