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3D Deform tool on complicated extrudes

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I have been trying to curve a complicated extruded object by using the 3D deform tool, however, when I try to use it the tool won't even acknowledge the object, but it will with more simple shapes. Is there a reason why this is and is there a way I can get it to respond to my complicated extrude or is there at least another method I could use to curve my object? I've attached an image of what object I'm trying to curve. 

decorative grate.jpg

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maybe there is too much geometry, so several ideas


1. Extrudes as Segments

a.  Make an extrude of the repeating part and another extrude of the end cap(s).

b.  Bend these 2 single extrudes with Deform Tool. Use the numeric controls to produce correct radius.

c.  Make a symbol of the bent "tile" and bent "end cap".

d.  Arrange instances of the curved symbols to produce the long shape with the repeated units.

e.  If desired, Group or Add Solids or other method to make it one group.


2. Bend a planar outline then Shell

a.  Extract the planar surface of your extrude (this creates a NURBS surface), or segments of it and Solid Add them.

b.  Bend the assembly with the Deform Tool. Or bend unit segments and arrange instances for Solid Add.

c.  Shell the bent shape. Might need to Convert to Generic Solid first.


3. Apply a texture with transparency

a.  Save an image of the assembly, crop to the edges.

b.  Import the image to Resource Manager

c.  Create a texture from the image, use the Transparent Mask for any hollow parts

d.  Create a curved shape from extrude or other method.

e.  Apply the texture.


Maybe other methods, too.






Edited by Benson Shaw

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1 hour ago, zoomer said:

What about a surface array as a workaround (?)

Good idea, but probably more work than other methods:

• The instances have to be properly deformed prior to array. Otherwise, they become flat facets contacting the base surface. (or is there a way to make them bend onto the surface?)

• The base surface has to be custom made to match the desired bent shape - height, path length.  Otherwise, the instances scale to fill the available base shape. Scaling the resulting array requires finding deviation from target outcome and adjusting parameters to match.

•   Base surface probably should be a NURBS surface, so might require creating a new surface or converting an existing. Conversion might make a group, meaning that array will not spread over combined area. Therefore need to create a new base surface. 

• Depending on desired final product, Array may need Ungroup then Add Solid which might fail because artifacts from array or other reasons.



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29 minutes ago, Benson Shaw said:

(or is there a way to make them bend onto the surface?)


As far as I saw in a Video,

they use EAPs with some segments in length for non-curved Bars,

so these will be bent too.

Edited by zoomer

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Lots of good suggestions here. If I remember correctly there's already another thread about this by the same poster.


I think one of the issues with the Deform tool may be the scale of your original object. As internal details deform and get smaller (eg. close to zero) it has a lot of trouble. I would suggest deforming a portion of your pattern (eg. maybe a repeat of three), then using the rotate tool to duplicate further segments. You can combine them all as a Solid Addition.


I would also run Modify>Drafting Aids>Simplify Polys on your originating polyline. If you set the Maximum Deviation to zero it will only remove overlapping points.


Also take care as to where things are snapping when using the Deform Tool. I've found the snaps need to be on the same plane or it gets confused and fails.


I've attached a quick example file. I took your graphic and had Adobe Illustrator trace it to get my polylines. Mine example has a little more dead space between patterns because I didn't take the time to make separate end and middle segments.





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