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Model a tube frame from 3D Shape?

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I'm trying to figure out the best way to model a light tubular steel frame for a 6-facet 3D shape. I modeled the basic solid shape and figured I'd extrude my frame from a 3D path that I created along the edges,  but VW does not seem to allow extrudes along any 3D path which has intersecting lines from separate planes.  I then tried creating a separate path for each object plane, but as you can see in the attached close up pic, there are issues where the separate extrusions intersect. Am I approaching this wrong? any ideas would be greatly appreciated - I have to do this same process for a number of different shapes!

pyramid frame 01.JPG

pyramid frame CU.JPG

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Posted (edited)

How do you think the joints will be made in real life? Here's an example of how I would model it. The basic steps -


  1. I built a wireframe model of NURBS curves formed from 2d triangles.
  2. I created an Extrude Along Path ( EAP ) of one face.
  3. I mirrored the EAP in the front view through the ground plane. I then cut through the ground plane using the Knife Tool to make a clean join between the two pieces. I discarded the extra pieces.
  4. I joined those two pieces and then switched to Top/Plan.
  5. Using some guidelines I trimmed the corner mitres again using the Knife Tool. I discarded all the extra pieces.
  6. Using the Rotate Tool in duplicate mode I rotate/copied the two other pieces.
  7. Finally I made a Solid Addition of all the pieces and deleted my guides.






Edited by Kevin McAllister
Added screen shots of joins.

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Thank you so much, Kevin - great instructions and that image sequence is really helpful too. The steel tubes in the finished product will be welded & ground smooth at the connection points, so using your method I'll be able to produce a model that I can use to illustrate both the overall shape and corner details.

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