3D Shapes: Spiral 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 Spiral 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, Spiral 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. That's why we've decided to dedicate an entire article to this Shape.
As it's the case with other Shapes, there are two ways you can follow to add the Spiral to the workspace. The first of them is by simply selecting it from the drop-down list and dragging it to any place in the workspace. It’s by far the quickest way to add shapes to the grid, but the downside of this method is that the Spiral will be created with its default 3D properties, and will skip the customization process unique to the selected model.
The second option to add the Spiral to the workspace is by selecting it from 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 Spiral 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, revolves, 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 a new Spiral.
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.
Top Radius is one of the features responsible for setting the size of the Spiral. It allows you to set the top diameter of the shape. You can manipulate it by either moving the slider to change the values or by typing them directly into the textboxes. It's important to note that in the case of the Advanced Shapes you're more restricted in terms of customization than it was the case in Basic Shapes, and you can't scale the object beyond what is possible with the slider.
Bottom Radius is the second feature that is responsible for setting the size of the Spiral. It allows you to set the bottom diameter of the shape, and by equalizing the Radius at the top and the bottom, you will end up with a spring. You can manipulate it by either moving the slider to change the values or by typing them directly into the textboxes. As it was the case with the Top Radius, you can't scale it beyond what is possible with the slider.
Height is the third setting directly responsible for changing the overall size of the Spiral. As its name suggests, it allows you to set the height of the shape, which is its size on the Y-axis. You can set its values by either moving the slider to manipulate the Height or by typing the value directly into the textbox. It also has a finite value that you can set, no matter if you use the slider or type the values directly.
Revolves is a fairly straightforward setting, which allows you to set the number of rotations of the Spiral. It will not change the overall length of the Spiral, but its density as well. Like always, you can change the number of Revolves by moving the slider or by typing the value directly into the text-box.
Top Thickness allows you to set the width of the profile of the Spiral and set its size at its upper side. Naturally, if the Spiral is too thin it might break during printing, so its something you should keep in mind. You can change its value by manipulating the slider, or by simply typing in the value into the text-box.
Bottom Thickness is the second feature responsible for changing the width of the profile of the Spiral, and it allows you to set its size at its lower end. If there is a difference in Thickness between the top and the bottom, the software will render a nice and smooth transition between them, so you don't have to worry about any sharp edges. Similarly, you can change this value by moving the slider or by typing the value directly into the text-box.
Edges is a setting that is indirectly responsible for the shape of the Spiral, and more precisely, for the shape of its profile. It refers to the level of the detail of the profile, so by increasing this value, it will become more rounded and smooth. As usual, you can change the values by moving the slider or by typing them directly into the text-box.
Radial Segments is another setting responsible for the level of the detail of the Spiral, and indirectly, for its overall shape. By increasing this value, you will make the Spiral more rounded and detailed, just as shown in the image above. As is the case with other SelfCAD features, you can manipulate this setting by moving the slider or by typing the values directly into the text-box.
Position is one of the two settings that allow you to customize the placement of the Spiral 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 Spiral, 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 Spiral 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 Spiral, 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 Spiral Generator. After reading this article, you should have a general idea about its creation and the customization process behind it. 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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