3D Shapes: Screw & Nut Generator
Welcome to the article dedicated to SelfCAD's 3d modeling tool called 3D Shapes, in which I'm going to explain the process of creating and customizing shapes with the help of the Screw & Nut Generator. 3D Shapes can be found in the main Toolbar, and as you can see, Shapes in this category have been divided into two sections: basic and advanced. As you can see, Screw & Nut has been placed in the section below the divider, which marks it as one of the more complex shapes available in SelfCAD. Because of this complexity, the customization process is much more complicated than it was in the case of basic shapes.
There are two ways you can follow to add Screw & Nut to the workspace. The first of them is by simply selecting the Screw & Nut from the drop-down list and then dragging it to any place in the workspace. It’s the quickest way to add shapes, but the downside of this method is that your Screw & Nut will be created with its default 3D properties, which will skip the customization process unique to the selected model.
The second option to add the Screw & Nut to the workspace is by clicking on it in the drop-down list. This way, you’ll open the Tool Setting Panel on the left side of the screen, which will contain all of the unique settings available for Screw & Nut Generator. As opposed to the previous method, here you can customize your Shape even before you will add it to the workspace. You can set here the properties such as radius, pitch, detail, position, and rotation. It's important to note that once you finish this process, you won't be able to get back to those settings. Of course, you will still be able to modify your shape with the help of other tools, but the settings explained in this article can be accessed only when adding the Screw & Nut.
Hide all objects
Hide all Objects is an additional setting that is 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. Similarly to the previous setting, Hide all Objects is available only during customization of your Shape, but you will find a similar option to Hide objects in the Display Settings.
Generate Screw & Nut
Generate Screw and Generate Nut. Selecting those options will allow you to choose which shape you want to add to the grid. You can select one of them or both. If you choose to add one of those shapes, all of the following settings will only affect this shape. If you choose to add both of them at the same time, both shapes will be edited at the same time, so they complement and fit each other.
Radius is one of the features responsible for setting the size of the Screw & Nut. It allows you to set the diameter of those shapes, so they will complement and fit each other. You can manipulate the Radius by either moving the slider to manipulate the values or by typing the values directly into the textboxes.
Pitch is the second feature responsible for the overall size of the model. In this case, the pitch allows you to set the height of both the Screw & Nut. You can manipulate it by either moving the slider to change the values or by typing them directly into the textboxes. You should remember, though, that increasing the length of the Screw & Nut will dilute its thread.
Segments allow you to customize the detail, or the resolution, of the Screw & Nut. The more segments it has, the more precision you're able to model with, and it will make it much smoother while lowering it, will make it cruder and deformed. Be aware that simplifying too much will make the Screw & Nut unusable. You can edit the detail by moving the slider or by typing the values directly into the text-boxes. Segments have a finite value you can set, no matter if you use the slider to change it or type the values directly.
Rotations refer to the density of the thread of both the Screw and the Nut. It also impacts the height of the Model, albeit indirectly, as it will add layers of the thread to the object. You might want to increase this setting when you increased the length of the Screw & Nut, and its thread becomes too spread out. As always, you can manipulate this setting by either moving the slider or by typing the values directly into the text-box.
Top Offset is a setting available only for the Screw Generator, and it allows you to customize its tip. The Screw is flat by default, but with this feature, you're able to add and customize a spike at the top. As is the case with all other settings, you can manipulate this value by either moving the slider or by typing the value directly into the text-box.
Tip Scale is a setting that allows you to change the thickness of the thread at its ends. It's available for both the Screw and the Nut. You should be careful with this setting, because when it comes to printing, the thread that is too thin may break during the printing process, or it might be too weak to hold parts together. Naturally, you can manipulate this setting by either moving the slider or by typing the value right into the text-box.
Tip Segments is a complementary setting to the Tip Scale, which allowed you to create a thinner thread at the ends. Tip Segments, on the other hand, allows you to set the length of the thread that will be thinned, and it impacts both the Screw & Nut. And as is the case with all other settings, you can manipulate this value by either moving the slider or by typing the value directly into the text-box.
Thread Scale allows you to set the thickness of the thread. Previous settings allowed you to customize its ends, and here, you can change its overall thickness. Naturally, if the thread is too thin it might break during printing, or it might prove too weak to hold parts together. You can manipulate the Scale by either moving the slider to change it or by typing the values directly into the textboxes.
Outside Edges is a setting available only for the Nut Generator, and it allows you to set the number of edges of the Nut. Regularly the Nut has six edges to fit most of the wrenches, but you can edit it however you please. As always, use the slider to change the number of the Outside Edges, or type their number directly into the text-box.
Position is one of the two settings that allow you to customize the placement of the Screw & Nut 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. As with all those settings, Position can be manipulated when customizing the Screw & Nut, however, you can later change it with the help of the Move tool.
Rotation is the second setting that allows you to customize the placement of the Screw & Nut within the Grid. With this setting, you can set its angle of rotation. 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. Similarly, Rotation can be manipulated when customizing the Screw & Nut, however, you can later change it with the help of the Rotate tool.
You can use regional selection to create bridges between them. In the following examples, you can see how to create them between Edges, as well as Polygons.
With the Boolean operations, in SelfCAD called Stitch & Scoop, you can use various shapes to impact other models.
And that's all there is to the Screw & Nut Generator. After reading this article, you should have a general idea about its creation and the customization process behind it, as well as some of the tricks that you can use them for. Of course, the graphics shown here were just examples, and any change in the settings will impact the overall shape of the object, but their underlying principles will always stay the same. And that's all I had for you. I wish you success in your future projects. See you, and stay tuned for more content to come!
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