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Flattening wireframe curves to true arc length

Flattening wireframe curves to true arc length

Flattening wireframe curves to true arc length

I am an auotmotive product designer who has recently acquired a Faro arm for obtaining digital measurements. I am currently scanning the outlines of vehicle side windows to produce wind deflectors. The problem is my tool makers still need paper or mylar shapes to hand make the tools. When I try to produce 2D files for plotting, the window outlines get shortened as a projected 2D front view.

I need to flatten these 3D curved outlines into 2D outlines, with the true arc length and surface area of the window frames. Can this be done? I have looked into Rhino, but this is a solid modeler. Solid modelers won't allow this as the surface is "un-developable". I think I only need to deal with the wireframe and not surface characteristics. I am Solidworks user and this software won't touch this issue. I am open to suggestions.

Picture a curved piece of wire. If you flatten it on a table, it grows from end to end. This is what I need digitally. HELP! I have this file in IGS format and can send it to anyone willing to help.


RE: Flattening wireframe curves to true arc length

What a great problem! He says unhelpfully.

OK, you need to learn how to develop a surface, any old draughty can tell you how to do it on a drawing board. However for those of us in the digital age it isn't quite so easy. I don't know a direct solution, I'd have thought a high end CAD program woud do this in a snap. People have solved it - for instance there is a program that allows you to reduce a curved boat hull to flat planes on sheets of plywood. Do a web search for 'Carene'

Sailmakers face the same problem

http://www.sailcut.com/ (also links to Carene).

I got these links from the excellent



Greg Locock

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