flattening 3D surfaces to 2D
a spatial measuring tool
- MicroScribe G2 is a three-dimensional measuring tool and 3D digitizer. It is a precision mechanical arm with optical encoders at each of the five joints and connects to the USB (or serial port) of a host computer. A software application interface monitors the encoder position information and knowing the physical dimensions of the arm calculates the location of the hand-held probe tip. The XYZ coordinates of the user selected points are inserted (directly, automatically) into the users active Windows design, control or analysis application.
- MicroScribe G2 is compatible with Rhino ...
and similar applications.
flattening compound surfaces
- An application may require flattening a 3D surface to a 2D pattern for CNC cutting and forming flat material to conform to the 3D surface - composite
fan blades, hull panels for boats, protective and anti-glare films, automobile & truck panels. A 3D surface curved in only one direction (cylinder, cone) is developable and may be simply un-rolled to a 2D pattern.
A compound surface is curved in more than one direction and may be processed by a software application to flatten to a 2D pattern. The material and manufacturing process must be considered. A description of the compound surface may be made using a MicroScribe G2 three-dimensional digitizer and Rhino or a similar modeling application. Digitize a few points for a set of cross-section curves defining the surface. Draw the curves by interpolating between the points. Create the surface by lofting the curves. Open Rhino file lofted surface on glass to see digitized points, curve set and lofted surface. Render, rotate to analyze the surface. Save the file as an IGES file.
- The lofted surface on glass is a compound surface curved in two directions, and cannot be unrolled in Rhino. New Wave Systems' Pilot3D a NURBS 3D modeling program includes a develop plate function - a compound surface flattener. Open Pilot3D, select new, top view, file-data file input, IGES and open the IGES file
lofted surface on glass.
Select develop plate and at the prompt (lower left) pick the surface to be flattened (developed). Review the detail of the flattening process in the window and click OK to display the flattened plate.
- The 2D surface can be saved (data file output) as a DXF file for nesting, CNC toolpath generation. Open the DXF file in a suitable application
lofted surface on glass
- For more information read Steve Hollister's New Wave Systems - Pilot3D paper on Plate Development and Expansion. Review the New Wave web site, download an evaluation copy of Pilot3D and contact Steve at the New Wave web site with your questions.
REMTEK markets and supports the MicroScribe G2 with Rhino - more information at
MicroScribe G2 with Rhino and
our BEAT, a REMTEK newsletter
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