Let’s talk about the 3D Shapes tool. I'll explain everything you need to know about creating and customizing basic shapes in SelfCAD. As you can see, the 3D Shapes tools have been divided into two sections: basic and advanced. I'm going to focus on the basic shapes - simple geometrical figures. Because of their simplicity, the customization process is very straightforward.
There are two ways you can add shapes to the grid. You can simply select the shape you want from the dropdown list and drag it anywhere on the grid. That’s the quickest way to add shapes, but the downside to doing that is that your shape will automatically be created with default 3D properties.
To give specific details to your 3D shape, select the shape you want from the dropdown list and click on it. This will open the Tool Setting panel on the left side of the screen. You can set all of the shape properties such as size, detail, arc and fill, position and rotation here.
How big do you want your model to be? The number and names of settings dedicated to size, or dimensions, will differ between 3D shapes. Shapes based on 2D circles, like spheres and cylinders, will have settings pertaining to the radius of the object, as well as others. You’ll be able to choose your object’s dimensions by either moving the slider to manipulate the values or by typing the values directly into the textboxes.
You can also change the detail, or resolution, of the object. Just like the size, the number and names of settings dedicated to segments will differ between shapes. The level of detail adds smoothness to the figure. The more segments an object has, the more precision you’re able to model with. Edit the detail by moving the slider or by typing the dimensions you want directly into the textboxes.
Arc and Fill
Arc allows you to cut fractions of round 3D shapes, sort of like cutting a slice out of a pizza pie. But it’s more like the pizza pie that never ends, because once you set the length of the arc, you’ll have the option to fill the gaps created by the arc tool.
The Wireframe is a feature that, when enabled, allows you to see the division between individual segments of the object. This feature is enabled by default, so you're able to view the changes in the level of the detail while manipulating the details.
Hide all objects
Hide all objects is a feature enabled by default. As its name suggests, it hides every other object previously added to the grid. It allows you to customize the current 3D shape you’re working on without other objects getting in the way.
You can use the Position feature to change the placement of the object within the grid. You're able to manipulate it by changing the values in the textboxes. Each textbox represents the position on one of the three axes. You can use both positive and negative values, which will change the direction of the movement on each axis.
Choose the object’s angle of rotation using this setting. Change the values in the textboxes and rotate your object to whatever angle you want on each of the three axes. You can use both positive and negative values to change the direction of the rotation around the axis.
To finish the customization and add the model to the grid, confirm the changes by clicking the check button at the top of the panel.
And that's all there is to the basic 3D shapes. After reading this article, you should have the general idea behind 3D shapes and know how to customize your objects using all of the described settings. Of course, the graphics shown here were just examples. There are so many shapes, and no time to cover every detail and change possible. But the underlying principles will always stay the same. So what are you waiting for? Go make something awesome!