Flatten curved/twisted surfaces for CNC

Please follow the format below for requesting a feature.

I would be able to take a complex shape made of curved surfaces and send the flattened version of them to a CNC plasma table for cutting.

If I were to select a surface, I could click a button that would create a flattened version of that surface for placing in a 2d drawing and send it to a fabrication shop where the shape could be cut.

The application, Rhino3D has such a function, but I am not nearly as fond of the rest of their app. A demonstration of the function can be seen here: https://youtu.be/cTgsRFlR2sw

Edit: Similar Solidworks functionality:https://youtu.be/XbYUaB_IuOs

I am able to do great renderings and visualizations with Shapr3d, but there is a disconnect between that and fabrication.

Shapr3D is fabulous! I love it!


I could also use this feature. For my particular use case, I have an object essentially used as part of an ergonomic backing applied to a medical device via velcro. The “ergonomic” shape of the surface of this object is full of curves, upon which we apply a velcro sticker. This velcro sticker is cut from a larger velcro sheet via a steel-rule-die. The shape of this velcro sticker must be the same shape as the ergonomically curved surface…but expressed as a flat surface.

If this sort of functionality is ever added to shapr3d I would imagine it being organized under its opposite corollary “project”…so “project (a plane upon a curved surface)” or “flatten (a curved surface upon a plane)”

Since shapr3D doesnt have a button I can press to do all the mathrobatics , I currently do a hackers work around like so:

  1. 3d print the object
  2. Place “blue painters tape” over the curved surface that I need to get a flat rendition of
  3. Trim the excess tape from the perimeter of that curved surface
  4. Peel the tape from the surface and apply it to a flat sheet of paper
  5. Take a perfectly square picture of the blue tape on the paper (tricky…there are apps that help square)
  6. Import the image of the tape-on-paper into shapr3d.
  7. Trace the blue tape’s perimeter.
  8. Export that perimeter as a DXF for my steel rule die maker to make me a stamp for the velcro shape we need for our medical device.

I really like shapr3D. Add my vote to getting a “flatten” feature like this. It would definitely be very very useful for my own work as well.