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Creating Surface Models

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Tutorial provided by Nemetschek North America
November 18, 2003

In this VectorWorks tutorial, you'll construct a hat-shaped solid to learn how to create and modify NURBS surfaces and perform surface trimming.


Setting Up the Modeling Units

Note: 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 Flat NURBS Surface

1. Click the Rectangle tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a 6” x 6” square in the center of the drawing area.

2. Extrude the square by selecting it and then clicking Model > Extrude. In the Create Extrude dialog box, enter 0 (zero) for the Extrusion value. Click OK to create an extrude object with zero height.

3. Select Model > Convert to NURBS. The extrude object is converted to NURBS surfaces.

Reshaping the NURBS Surface

1. In the Object Info palette, change both the U Degree and V Degree values to 2. The number of Vertices for the selected NURBS surface is now 9.

2. From the Move list, select Vertex Only.

3. In the Edit V field, press the right arrow key to highlight the bottom vertex in the center “column”. Change the Z value to 2. In the Edit U field, press the right arrow to highlight the center vertex, and change the Z value to 2. Press the right arrow in the Edit U field again to highlight the top vertex and change the Z value to 2. This creates a curvy surface.

4. Select View > Standard Views > Right Isometric.
The surface displays as follows.

Creating a Trimmed Surface

1. Select View > Standard Views > Top to change to drawing view.

2. Click the Ellipse tool from the 2D Tools palette, and then select Circle by Radius from the Mode bar.

3. Draw a circle at the center of the NURBS surface with a 2.75” radius.

4. Click the Project tool from the 3D Tools palette, and then select Project & Trim from the Mode bar.

5. Select the circle, select the surface, and then indicate the region outside the circle to be trimmed away.


Click on image to enlarge

6. Select View > Standard Views > Right Isometric. The surface displays as follows.

Creating the Hat Shape

1. Select View > Standard Views > Top.

2. Click the Ellipse tool from the 2D Tools palette, and then select Circle by Radius from the Mode bar.

3. Draw a circle at the center of the NURBS surface with a 1.5” radius.

4. With the new circle still selected, select Model > Tapered Extrude.

The Set Tapered Angle and Extrude Height dialog box opens.

5. Enter a 2” Height(Z), leave the default Taper Angle value, and then click OK.

A tapered extrude object is created.

6. Select Edit > Select All. Select Model > Add Solids to add the tapered extrusion to the NURBS surface.

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

8. Click the Flyover tool from the 3D Tools palette and click-drag until the hat displays as follows.

9. Select the hat, and then click Model > Convert to NURBS to convert all the surfaces of the solid to NURBS surfaces. Select Organize > Ungroup to display all individual surfaces.

10. Select View > Rendering > Wireframe to switch to wireframe view.

11. Click on the drawing area to deselect the objects. Delete the two surfaces underneath the big round surface.


Click on image to enlarge

12. Delete the surface at the middle of the big round surface, thus creating a hole in the big round surface.

Note: You may have to draw a marquee box around the surface in order to select it.

At this point there are three surfaces.

13. Select all three remaining surfaces, and then select Model > Add Solids to add the surfaces together.

14. Click the Fillet Edge tool from the 3D Tools palette.

15. Select the top edge of the hat.

The Fillet Edge Preferences dialog box opens.

16. Select Constant Radius, and then enter 0.2” in the Radius field.

17. Click OK.

18. Press Enter (Win) or Return (Mac) or click the check mark button on the Mode bar to blend the edges.

19. 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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