Soft material templates?

Hello I make props and animation sets using flexible 2D materials like foam board, plastizote or corrugated cardboard. It would be SOOO useful if I could unwrap a flat cutting pattern or template with dimensions and angles from a Shapr3D body. Somewhat like paper patterns used in tailoring. Any workarounds, suggestions or future plans for Shapr3D would be great. Thanks

Can you send a picture of your propeller?

Hello Rohan thanks for responding. I didn’t explain properly - I make props not propellers for boats. Sorry, should have been clearer, I work with soft flat materials and make small objects to be used in an animated films. A bit like tailoring with cloth.

Just an observation: your problem is very similar to the problem of designing sheetmetal parts–a flat piece bent into shape. A complexity for sheet metal is its stretchiness when bent round a corner. For instance, producing an accurate L-shaped angle with sides 25mm and 50mm would not require a flat piece 75mm. It would be just a bit different because of the way the metal acts at the bend.

Your materials may not have this problem but design software that can handle sheetmetal should be able to handle foamboard, once the parameters for that “metal” are entered.

If I were developing Shapr3D, I’d go for sheetmetal capability, but I don’t know where that would be in my list of priorities.

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So you want templates of your 3d model??

Thank you very much Ned. I’m new to Shapr3D so I’m guessing from the way you answered that they haven’t built in an kind of ‘export template’ ability ? I looked for one but couldn’t find. At the moment I’m doing a workaround. For mostly flat parts I’m making screenshots of the construction planes and dimensioning them. But I can’t see this working with strongly curved forms like my twisted and squashed hexagon column. Shame. I remember my mum making paper patterns when I was a kid. I blew realise she was getting a linear measurement with a tape measure from an actual person and then transferring it to paper. That would work, but I’d have to make the squashy hexagonal column first :frowning: Thanks so much for your thoughts though :+1:t3:

Yes that’s right Rohan. My plan is to make a same size drawing on layout paper and then transfer it to the foam board or whatever sheet material I’m working with.

Do you think you could actually make that column with cut materials? Doesn’t look manufacturable in the way you are describing by using templates. There is some rather complex bending going on there.

With less distortion than that model you could potentially project the faces to planes possibly to make a template.

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Thanks for replying - I appreciate it. I’m a proper newbie with Shapr3D. Have been intensively working with it for about 5 days, on the Hobby subscription, until I get an idea of what I an do with it. I do have some experience with prop making sheet materials like plastizote etc and could make a form like that using heat gun to deform the sheet. But yes the form in the picture is too stretched to make out of a flat sheet of anything too stiff. Are you saying that if I did a simpler twisted column form that I could pull out a flat template with accurate linear measurements from the design ? That would be a really good place to start with this project. Thanks.

What if you were to cut/make the features before the warping of the larger structure… Would that help?

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I don’t know about accurate, maybe approximate. Try this: make a polygon, extrude it twist is a bit. Then + a drawing plane using an edge of the face 90deg to the top of the object. Move the plane away from the object a little and then use the projection tool - select the face and project it to the plane. See what happens.

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Thank you so much @yepher and @oregonerd for the thoughtful replies. Very good to wake up to (Greenwich Mean Time) Will have a try later after work and report back. It’s obvious really, except I hadnt thought of it … to make a simpler planar design and warm it afterwards. When you are learning a new thing its way to miss the obvious :expressionless:

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not warm but *warp - what is it with autocorrect ?

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I’m not sure if it’s possible in Shapr3D but what if you make a mesh of each face and then flatten out the triangles? It would take ages and the accuracy would depend on the number of triangles.

However you’d have the ability to choose which triangles to stretch - which with an automated tool might be impossible.

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Thanks @milouchien for getting in touch. I’m not into meshes yet. This is my sixth day on Shapr3D, Im still working on a consistent workflow with dimensioned simple forms that I can then make and modify. The thing I have in my mind as the ideal output is the paper patterns that tailors use to mark out fabric before they cut and sew. But Im guessing this isn’t that kind of app ? Thanks for the thought though.

You can always create the body in shapr, export and post process in other programs. :point_down: Blender Unwrapping tutorial.


thanks @Oregonerd - good suggestion. I’m on the hobby subscription at the moment while I figure out what Shapr3D can so for me. It seems they have highly controlled the export capability. But as you say ‘unwrapping’ is exactly what I am hoping to be able to so. I’m less interested in 3D printing as my props are all hand made and adapted as I go along.

Hello - I’ve been working with Tools/Project/sketch to try and solve this. It looks like its a way of making a label for a body, or a way of unwrapping one face of a body. I made a construction plane from one of the faces and then projected the (hopefully) flat form onto it. I wanted to check I’m not making a rookie mistake before I try to use the resulting sketch to make a solid form. Here’s the resulting sketch, it looks like I can get angles and linear measurements from it from the info at the bottom of the screen. Just wanted to check if anybody else has tried this. Thanks all for your suggestions so far.