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HELP! Does VW2010 have a limit for the number of subtractions from a solid

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Im jut wondering whether VW has a limit to the complexity or number of, subtractions from a simple rectangular prism....

Ive been trying to create a crystalline-esque face on one side of the prism simply involving creating a traingular pyramid form through multiple extruding and then subtracting that solid from the top face of the main rectangular prism.

it works absolutely fine until ive done quite a few, then when i press subtract solids on about the 10th time, i get the error message

"you have tried to create a solid which cannot be computed. Edit the geometry to resolve this condition and try again"

does anyone have any ideas how i can get around this problem? i.e can splitting be perfomed in more than a straight line?

im really stumped and would appreciate if anyone had any ideas.

the document in question is attached

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hi mike,

gave that a go, but again didnt work.

ive started from scratch and made the entire face's triangular prism, but didnt do any subtraction or addition along the way. finished the face, then selected all the ones in which i would subtract from the face, however that same message came up.

tried selecting all the ones i was going to add, and adding, and again, got the same message.

basically, if i could get it to work (its going to exported as a stl file for a 3D printer) it basically has to end up finished looking similar to crinkled paper.

how i can achieve that, im thinking ill struggle but if anyone can find a solution i would be unbelievably appreciative

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I think what you're trying to do is possible in Vectorworks, but there may be a better way to approach it. The work I did on this -


especially its centre crystal, is very much what you're trying to do (the finished shape has a lot of variation in the material surfaces, but the original templates were planar).

Adding/Subtracting can do some of the work, but its not the best method. Does your shape always fail at the same place? It may really be an error. I would try a method using Nurbs or 3D polygons. Because your shapes are mostly triangles, it is actually easy to build this way. For each intersection, place a 3D loci and move it up or down in 3D space using 3D move (Modify>Move>Move 3D) depending on how you want the surface to go. Using either the 3D Polygon tool or the Nurbs Curve tool (set your curve degree to 1 in the preference from the mode bar), carefully connect your points making each triangle individually. Be very careful with any surfaces that have more than 3 points as they will probably twist, even if you can't see it. If you make all the surfaces carefully, making sure the points snap, you can combine them into a solid if needed, using Model>3D Powerpack>Stitch and Trim Surfaces. You can also use the work you've already done by selecting your objects and choosing Modify>Convert>Convert to Nurbs. If you don't start fresh, look closely to see if you can discover what is causing your error.

Which version of Vectorworks are you using? I would suggest adding a signature that details your computer and Vectorworks info. I did my original work in Vectorworks 2009. It should be much easier to achieve in a newer version.

I'll be curious to see how you make out.


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Here is another way:

Draw 3d closed polygons with the 3d Polygon Tool on the plan view. Most will be triangles, but other shapes are fine, too. Be sure they snap, so end points are coincident. Select all, Menu>Convert>Convert to Mesh. This creates a flat Mesh object, ready to get bumpy.

Adjust the individual points on the mesh with the OIP: Select the mesh (single click). In the OIP, set the Move pull down to Selected Vertices. Draw a selection marquee around a single vertex, and adjust the xyz values. Press Tab or Return to "save" the final value change. Marquee select another vertex, repeat. You can use the flyover tool and view modes to get a convenient view for each change. The values will change relative to the ground plane, not the screen plane.

If you have to add more polygons or change colors/textures of some/all polys, dbl click the Mesh to enter the edit mode - now you have access to the individual polys. Draw additional objects with the 3d Polygon Tool, or select certain ones for attribute/texture changes. Exit the Edit mode.

Frames can be created (many of these are glazing, right?). Dupe the Mesh or copy>Paste in Place. Put the dupe in its own layer, Ungroup (so it's not a Mesh anymore). Use the 3d polys as paths for Extrude Along a Path - profile is frame cross section.

This will get things started. If you need shop drawings, refinements are required.

Good Luck with the structure! Post back when you get it.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

I know this thread is from a while ago, but here are results I had using polygons + tapered extrude:

Just create 2d polys then select them in groups of 3 or 4 at a time and chose model -> tapered extrude with varied parameters each time.

This literally took 10 minutes to create & texture.



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