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Creating a Solid by Sweeping, Extruding and Shelling

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Tutorial provided by Nemetschek North America
January 14, 2004

This VectorWorks tutorial creates a miniature prototype of a watering can.

Getting Started

This tutorial uses a pre-formatted VectorWorks file. Dimensions are provided if creating a file from scratch is desired.

1. Select File > Open.

The Open dialog box opens.

2. Navigate to [VectorWorks 10.5]\VWHelp\Tutorial Files\WaterCan.mcd, and then click Open.

This file is in 2D layout and contains the following:

  • one rectangle, two inches by three inches

  • two lines, one 3 1/2 inches long and one 7/8 inches long

  • two circles, one with a one inch diameter and one with a 3/4 inch diameter

  • one arc

3. Simplify the screen view by selecting Organize > Classes to access the Classes dialog box and set the Dimension class to Invisible.

4. Click OK.

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 the 2D Elements

1. Before beginning the 3D modeling, additional 2D elements and guide lines are necessary. Click the Line tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a vertical line over the right edge of the rectangle.

2. With the line selected, click the 2D Mirror tool from the 2D Tools palette and select Mirror Object from the Mode bar. Draw the mirror guide over the left edge of the rectangle to create a mirrored line away from the rectangle.

3. Click the Rounded Rectangle tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a rounded rectangle over the mirrored line. This will form the basis of the watering can handle.

4. Click the Split tool from the 2D Tools palette and select Line Split from the Mode bar. To split the rounded rectangle, draw the split line over the guide line created earlier.

5. Delete the right portion of the rounded rectangle, and delete the guide line used to split it.

6. Click the Ellipse tool from the 2D Tools palette and select Circle by Diameter from the Mode bar. Draw a circle with a diameter of 0.5" next to the 2D handle. This completes the 2D preparations.

Creating the Can with Sweeps and Extrudes

Begin 3D modeling by creating the main portion of the watering can, and then adding the spout.

1. Click on the rectangle and then select Model > Sweep. Retain all default parameters including the Arc Angle of 360 degrees. The 2D handle created earlier now meets the can body.

2. Create the bottom half of the spout by selecting the longer line and the 1" circle under the can (press the Shift key to select more than one object). Select Model > Extrude Along Path, and enter a uniform Scale Factor of 0.75.

3. Create the top half of the spout by selecting the shorter line and the 3/4" circle. Select Model > Extrude Along Path, and enter a uniform Scale Factor of 3.

4. Select the three solids that were just created and add them together by selecting Model > Add Solids.

Adding Design Details

Add the finishing touches to the watering can by hollowing it out, adding a 3D cap with a cutout, and a handle.

1. Click the Flyover tool from the 3D Tools palette and adjust the view to access the top of the can.

2. Click the Shell Solid tool from the 3D Tools palette and select Preferences from the Mode bar. Enter an Inside Thickness of 0.1".

3. Click on the top face of the cylindrical can and use the Select Faces dialog box to highlight the top of the cylinder, and then click again to highlight the top of the spout. Press the Enter (Windows) or Return (Macintosh) key or click the check mark button on the Mode bar to create the shelled solid.

4. Switch the view to Top/Plan by selecting View > Standard Views > Top/Plan. Select the arc at the top of the can, and select Model > Sweep. Retain the default values in the Create Sweep dialog box and click OK to create a 360 degree angle sweep.

5. Convert the sweep into a NURBS surface by selecting Model > Convert to NURBS.

6. Shell the cap by clicking the Shell Solid tool from the 3D Tools palette. Use the same Inside Thickness of 0.1". Click on the cap and then press the Enter (Windows) or Return (Macintosh) key or click the check mark button on the Mode bar to create the shelled solid.

7. Add the cap to the rest of the solid by selecting both and selecting Model > Add Solids.

8. Now create an opening in the cap. Select View > Standard Views > Front.

9. Click the Line tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw a vertical line to the left of the center of the cap.

10. Click the Arc tool from the 2D Tools palette and draw an arc, using the vertical line as a guide.

11. Deselect the arc, and then trim the lines on either end of the arc; click the Trim tool from the 2D Tools palette and click on the each line to trim it away. Select the arc and give it a fill of None from the Attributes palette.

12. Select the arc and the straight line and select Tool > Compose to add them together. Convert the resulting polyline to a NURBS curve by selecting Model > Convert to NURBS.

13. Switch to Right Isometric view. Click the Protrusion/Cutout tool from the 3D Tools palette and select Extrude Curve and Subtract from the Mode bar. Select the curve, select the watering can (the solid), and then drag the green handle to the right, past the watering can. Press the Enter (Windows) or Return (Macintosh) key or click the check mark button on the Mode bar to subtract the shape of the arc from the top of the watering can and create an opening in the top of the can.

14. Switch back to Top/Plan view. The last step is to create the handle of the watering can. Select the rounded rectangle and the circle created at the beginning of the tutorial. Select Model > Extrude Along Path, with the rounded rectangle selected as the path, with a Scale Factor of 1. Click OK to create the 3D handle.

15. With the 3D handle selected, choose Tool > Move > Move 3D. Enter an X Offset of 0.2".

16. Select both the can and the handle, and add them together by selecting Model > Add Solids.

17. Click the Light tool from the 3D Tools palette to insert a light source, and then select View > Rendering > OpenGL to render the watering can.

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