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# Flattening 3D facets to dimension each face of object?

## Question

Hello,

I've searched the forums to no avail on this topic... several had promising leads but are ten years out of date, and suggested plug-ins that no longer work.

Is there a way to take a 3D facet - in this case, a triangle that I have extruded and then deformed to have a taper, meaning it's a simple four-sided facets (there are NO curves or rounded edges or anything, just the four solid surfaces) - and flatten it so that each side lays down correctly and keeps the correct proportions so that I can dimension it? The goal is to be able to cut out pieces to create dozens of different facets, but I need to lay out each side of each facet and dimension them correctly in order to do so.

I've played around with converting the objects to 2d/3d poly, NURBS surfaces, and several other things, but I just can't seem to get them to break apart into four distinct facets, and then flatten out while keeping their correct dimensions - they all just flatten relative to my screen plane which isn't helpful at all.

Any help on this matter is much appreciated. Thanks folks.

## Recommended Posts

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• Marionette Maven

Hi!

You may want to look at Model > 3D Power Pack > Unfold Surfaces.

I'm not positive of the accuracy on complicated shapes, but I think you should be okay with triangles. Just make sure you've converted your object to NURBS surfaces first.

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The only option I know of in Vectorworks is Unfold Surfaces (Model>3D Powerpack>Unfold Surfaces). It seems to get any results at all you need to convert your object to NURBS surfaces first. Vectorworks stacks all the pieces as screen plane objects so you need to lay them out yourself. They are true size and shape though I've seen a few distortions on complex shapes. ( @JimWcan you give an example of a "CSG object" than can be unfolded by Unfold Surfaces? The help says it is possible. )

Wishes for improvements to Unfold Surfaces have been posted in the past in various threads including these -

If you need to do a lot of unfolding, I would suggest trying Unroll Srf in Rhino. It will give much better results. Here's what you get in Rhino.

Kevin

Edited by Kevin McAllister
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• Vectorworks, Inc Employee

I've only ever been able to get Unfold Surfaces to work with extremely simple shapes. Cylinders, rectangular prisms, cubes and pyramids seem to work alright, but anything with a surface curved in more than two planes (so, most of the results of the Deform tool) often fail with the error message, only returning the simple facets as unfolded polys.

However, in addition to the issues described above, slight inaccuracy (arguably the worst kind of inaccuracy, since it's easier to miss) in the resulting faces dimensions I have filed as a bug currently: VB-125805 and will add this thread to it.

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Ah, that did it! Odd, I had tried that before but It didn't work for some reason... not quite sure why? I must not have converted it to NURBS curves first. Ah well! I appreciate your help, folks! I've got about 20 facets to lay out now for dimensioning. Again, many thanks folks.

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My workflow convert to nurbs > colour each nurbs surface and then unfold. In this way you can code each part and see where it has come from when reassembling it.

Edited by barkest
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8 hours ago, Pat Stanford said:

Since you mention TouchCAD. Yes, you can do more advanced things with it. Here is a recent example, a 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé to be be produced in two copies in scale 1:1 in fabrics for an exhibition. It was a little less expensive that getting the real thing. One was recently sold for 7.25 million dollars... The pictures show the 35 piece kit as flat with super high resolution photo realistic unfolded textures, and as a cardboard model.

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On 5/22/2017 at 12:34 PM, Kevin McAllister said:

The only option I know of in Vectorworks is Unfold Surfaces (Model>3D Powerpack>Unfold Surfaces). It seems to get any results at all you need to convert your object to NURBS surfaces first. Vectorworks stacks all the pieces as screen plane objects so you need to lay them out yourself. They are true size and shape though I've seen a few distortions on complex shapes. ( @JimWcan you give an example of a "CSG object" than can be unfolded by Unfold Surfaces? The help says it is possible. )

Wishes for improvements to Unfold Surfaces have been posted in the past in various threads including these -

If you need to do a lot of unfolding, I would suggest trying Unroll Srf in Rhino. It will give much better results. Here's what you get in Rhino.

Kevin

@Kevin McAllister is this latter unfolding you are showing done in a different program called Rhino? Is there anything like this in Vectorworks that will "unfold"?

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On 5/1/2020 at 1:34 PM, Tshwayder said:

@Kevin McAllister is this latter unfolding you are showing done in a different program called Rhino? Is there anything like this in Vectorworks that will "unfold"?

You can use (Model>3D Powerpack>Unfold Surfaces) but as noted above, it just piles all the pieces on top of each other so you need to sort them out manually.

Kevin

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