3D Modeling Special Interest Group – May 2018


In this session, we explored various tools in the 3D tool set, including the Sphere, 3D Polygon, and Loft Surface tools.

Topics covered:

  • 00:19    We started by making simple 3D shapes: a sphere and a hemisphere. The tools are very straightforward to use: You click to start and click again when you reach the radius you want to finish. You can change the texture. I often use the 3D Polygon tool to fill in a gap in a wall or roof. You can add a thickness to a 3D polygon by using the Shell Solid tool or the Push/Pull tool. We used the Loft Surface tool to make a 3D object that curves in two directions—a bus stop shelter. You simply draw a section through each piece that you want and then loft them together. The Shell Solid tool can also be used to give a loft surface a thickness. You can improve the quality of the OpenGL rendering to smooth the lines of your object. We went back through the loft surface process to look at using other options offered in Vectorworks: for instance, the effect of checking the Ruled option. Next, we compared the different modes of the Loft Surface tool—No Rail Mode, One Rail Mode, and Birail Sweep Mode—going through examples for each. The Birail Sweep Mode can be used to make a very complex shape.
  •  21:49    We needed to add some steel supports to our undulating shape. The Project tool is useful for this. It can project a shape upward or downward to match a curved surface. You have to convert an object—such as a wide-flange column—into a simple shape first so that it doesn’t puncture, instead of matching, the curved surface. There was a question about whether a shape could be projected at an angle, instead of vertically. It worked! We also used the Project tool in Trim Mode, creating some very cool shapes! Typically, you need to use a combination of tools to get the 3D shape that you are envisioning.
  • 33:02    We finished the session by taking a short, vertical post—a bollard—and making its shape more organic. First, we used the Create Contours tool, which created slices through our bollard at a specified increment. Using the first mode of the Loft Surface tool, we created a curving outer surface. Our shape definitely needed a visit to a chiropractor by the time we finished! Creating such a complex shape can be easy if you break it down into its simplest shapes first.

3D Modeling May 201
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  1. JOn, If I wanted to say clad a 3d contour with sheet metal, How could I take this 3d surface and flatten it out to create a pattern to cut out the thin metal so that it would bend into the correct shape?

    1. you might be able to do that. There is un Unfold Surfaces command in Vectorworks, it will only unfold surfaces that curve in 1 direction (like a cylinder).

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