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Flattening surfaces


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For 3D modelling power VectorWorks will struggle against FormZ. Both are very quirky modellers, but FormZ is built for 3D and has a wealth of features that VectorWorks cannot match.

If you can make use of VW hybrid modelling tools (eg wall, floor slab, roof, column, and the plug ins etc) then VW is more productive. If you are modelling from scratch and for high end visuals then FormZ will be a better, more flexible, option.

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In my ongoing debate with a Form?Z addicted colleague, one argument I can't seem to counter is Form?Z's ability to unwrap a 3D object onto a 2D surface with one command. This is handy for creating a flat elevation of a curving wall of inconsistant height, or determining the shape of a graphic to be applied to a compound curve.

Can anyone enlighten me if this something that's possible in VW so I can thumb my nose at my colleague?


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  • 3 weeks later...

This should be on the wishlist.

I manually unwrap items at least once a week by translating an object into 3D polygons and rotating them in succesion. I start by selecting all polygons minus one and then deselect them one by one as they are folded into place. I have a calculation method for dealing with bends in sheet metal, so I can alocate the right amount of material for these.

Touchcad seems to be too expensive for this one feature, unless you need it on a daily basis.

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  • 3 months later...

I normally do both 3D modeling and unfolding directly in TouchCAD and export the respective results to VectorWorks

The point of using TouchCAD for both 3D modeling and unfolding is that it is five-dimensional by nature. formZ is not. This gives the distinct advantage of instantly seeing changes done directly in the Unfold view. In this way, the unfolding becomes an integrated part of the design process. TouchCAD's unfolding features are also far more extensive, parametric and directly controllable than formZ's features. It is also designed to process very complex free-form shapes.

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