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Sectioning Solids

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Tutorial provided by Nemetschek North America
December 9, 2003

This VectorWorks tutorial covers the basics of sectioning solids by creating a mallet head.

Setting Up the Modeling Units

This tutorial works in inches.

To set up the units for modeling distances in inches:

1. Select Page > Units.

2. In the Units dialog box, select Inches from the Unit Name list.

All distances entered for designs will now be in inches.

Creating a Block

1. Click the Rectangle tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a 6”x 6” square.

2. Extrude the square. With the square selected, click Model > Extrude. In the Create Extrude dialog box, enter 6” for the Extrusion value. Click OK to create an extrude object.

Creating the Sectioning Surfaces

Now create the surfaces that will serve as the sectioning surfaces for the mallet head.

Creating and Extruding the Polygon

1. Click the 2D Polygon tool from the 2D Tools palette, and at the top left corner of the extrude, draw a polygon with the dimensions shown below.

click on image to enlarge

2. Select the polygon, and then click Edit > Duplicate Array command. The Duplicate dialog box opens. Make the following settings:

click on image to enlarge

3. Click OK to duplicate the original polygon seven times, offset by 1” in the X direction. Select all the polygons by drawing a marquee around them with the 2D Selection tool (located on the 2D Tools palette).

4. Compose the polygons into a single polygon by selecting Tool > Compose.

5. Extrude the polygon. With the composed polygon selected, click Model > Extrude. In the Create Extrude dialog box, enter 8” for the Extrusion value. Click OK to create an extrude object.

6. Move the extrude object down by selecting Tool > Move > Move 3D and entering -1” for Z Offset.

Creating the Sectioning Surfaces

1. Convert the extrusion to NURBS surfaces by selecting Model > Convert to NURBS. Ungroup the NURBS surfaces by selecting Organize > Ungroup.

2. Add the surfaces by selecting Model > Add Solids. The solid that is created will be used as the sectioning surface. Select View > Standard Views > Right Isometric to view the objects in 3D.

3. Copy the selected sectioning surface by clicking Edit > Copy, and then paste the copy with the Edit > Paste in Place command. Rotate the selected copy by selecting Tool > Rotate > Rotate 3D. Enter the following parameters:

The copy of the sectioning surface is rotated 90o from the original. There are now two sectioning surfaces.

4. The two sectioning surfaces will be mirrored to create four sectioning surfaces, with each pair on opposite sides of the mallet head. Switch to Top view by selecting View > Standard Views > Top.

5. Click the Line tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a guide line in the center of the rectangle to serve as a guide for mirroring.






guide line






6. With both sectioning surfaces selected, click the 3D Mirror tool from the 3D Tools palette and select Duplicate and Mirror Object from the Mode bar; draw the axis line over the guide line. Delete the guide line.

Switch the view by selecting View > Standard Views > Right Isometric. There are now four sectioning surfaces, with two on each side of the block.

Sectioning the Solid

1. Select the block and one of the sectioning surfaces. Select Model > Section Solids. Ensure that the sectioning surface is highlighted (if it is not, use the arrow keys to select it).

2. Click OK to section the solid with the sectioning surface. If sectioning produced the incorrect part of the block, click Reverse Section Side from the Object Info palette.

If necessary, click to keep the relevant portion of the block 

3. Repeat the sectioning procedure with the remaining three sectioning surfaces. The mallet head is complete.

4. To render the model, click the Light tool from the 3D Tools palette to insert a light source, and then select View > Rendering > OpenGL.

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