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AutoCAD Tutorial

AutoCAD 3D Modeling: 3D Meshes

August 4, 2003

3D Polygon meshes are surfaces that consist of several flat faces. There are some commands that can create such surfaces. One of the rarely used commands is called 3DMESH. This command is difficult to use but very powerful. It is mainly used by programmers. Here you will use the command to create a surface. Later the PEDIT command will be used to close and smooth the 3D mesh.


► This tutorial is designed for AutoCAD 2004 though might be applicable for other releases.

► In this tutorial user entries are in boldface.

► The 8 symbol represents pressing Enter.

1. Download r16_3d_meshes.dwg

Note: If you are using AutoCAD 2002 or an earlier release download r15_3d_meshes.dwg

2. Open the drawing in AutoCAD [Figure 1].

Figure 1

3. Switch the shade mode to Flat Shaded.

4. Invoke 3DMESH (Draw > Surfaces > 3D Mesh).

5. The model that we are using as the skeleton of the 3D mesh consists of 4 levels and 4 columns. Thus answer the first 2 prompts as follows:

Enter size of mesh in M direction: 48

Enter size of mesh in N direction: 48

6. Click 0,0,0 as the first mesh vertex. Then click on the vertices of the same column from bottom to top. The points of the first column are in red. Click on the points of the second column (green points) from bottom to top. Go ahead on other columns one by one. An open surface is created [Figure 2].

Figure 2

7. Freeze all layers except the current layer.

8. Invoke PEDIT.

9. Select the 3D mesh.

10. Select Mclose option. The surface is closed now [Figure 3].

Figure 3

11. Select the Smooth surface option. AutoCAD increases the number of vertices and changes the shape of the 3D mesh [Figure 4].

Figure 4

12. Exit PEDIT.

13. The SURFTYPE system variable defines the smoothing method applied by PEDIT command. The eligible values are 5, 6, and 8. Alter the SURFTYPE to 8.

14. Invoke PEDIT. Select the 3D mesh.

15. Select Smooth surface option. A new shape is created [Figure 6].

Figure 5

About the Author

Alireza Parsai is the founder of cadpanel.com. He is a mechanical engineer with more than 12 years experience with AutoCAD. Alireza is an Autodesk Authorized Author, the AutoCAD consultant for Al Khawarizmi Institute, a contributing editor for Augiworld magazine, a writer for CAD Digest, an instructor for AUGI Training Program, and an elected speaker for Autodesk University 2002. He has written 7 books in Farsi, 3 booklets in English, and more than 30 articles for different magazines and newsletters. You can reach him at alireza.parsai@cadpanel.com or visit his website www.cadpanel.com

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