Rhino 4 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria ReƱdon

Extruding curves to create solids without primitives


Rhino 4 Essential Training

with Dave Schultze

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Video: Extruding curves to create solids without primitives

In this video, we will explore a few of the more common ways of creating solids without the Primitive commands. We will focus on three commands I like to use: the Extrusion, the surprisingly powerful pipe and the Text command. A remainder regarding the other commands. Anything can be used in a sequence or alone to create a valid solid. The requirement had been that you follow simple rules of creating a closed volume. Let's continue work on the jet pack. I'll start off by doing some extrusions. We've got a few profiles here internally.
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  1. 4m 13s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. Recommended hardware
      2m 44s
  2. 19m 8s
    1. Understanding the three types of entities: curves, surfaces, and solids
      5m 51s
    2. Comparing Bezier curves, B-splines, and NURBS objects
      3m 35s
    3. Comparing isocurve surfaces and mesh surfaces
      4m 50s
    4. Setting measurement units and tolerance
      4m 52s
  3. 18m 16s
    1. Introducing the viewport
      3m 20s
    2. Using construction planes to anchor model design
      5m 27s
    3. Changing the way a model is viewed using shading modes
      3m 11s
    4. Navigating the viewport with pan, zoom, rotate, and reset controls
      3m 24s
    5. Exploring help options
      2m 54s
  4. 29m 48s
    1. Understanding Rhino's command philosophy
      3m 10s
    2. Using toolbars and docking buttons to a toolbar
      3m 33s
    3. Navigating the geometry menus using a "department store" analogy
      3m 35s
    4. Using the command line and status bar to get feedback
      4m 56s
    5. Modifying the nudge control and setting other preferences
      6m 54s
    6. Using the Properties window
      3m 1s
    7. Opening and saving files
      4m 39s
  5. 14m 24s
    1. Creating basic objects: curves, surfaces, and solids
      4m 22s
    2. Performing basic transformations
      3m 14s
    3. Selecting objects
      3m 37s
    4. Organizing a project using layers
      3m 11s
  6. 21m 18s
    1. Understanding lines and polylines
      4m 10s
    2. Building rectangles and polygons
      5m 12s
    3. Creating arcs, circles, and ellipses
      7m 8s
    4. Drawing freeform curves
      4m 48s
  7. 47m 36s
    1. Comparing different types of 3D surfaces
      7m 11s
    2. Extruding surfaces to create features in a model
      8m 58s
    3. Creating surfaces with lofts
      7m 49s
    4. Using Revolve and Rail Revolve to create surfaces
      7m 42s
    5. Using Sweep Rail to create a 3D claw
      7m 49s
    6. Creating complex surface shapes using Network Surface
      8m 7s
  8. 46m 48s
    1. Introducing solids
      5m 42s
    2. Making solids with primitives
      5m 41s
    3. Extruding curves to create solids without primitives
      8m 59s
    4. Creating unique shapes with the union, difference, and intersection Boolean operators
      6m 46s
    5. Troubleshooting solids and Booleans
      8m 53s
    6. Editing with the solid edit tools
      6m 20s
    7. Creating and transforming holes in solids
      4m 27s
  9. 27m 8s
    1. Understanding Rhino's modeling aids
      3m 59s
    2. Working with the Grid Snap modeling aid
      2m 22s
    3. Using the Ortho modeling aid
      3m 4s
    4. Using the Planar modeling aid
      2m 4s
    5. Incorporating the Osnap modeling aid into your workflow
      6m 7s
    6. Understanding the Project and Smart Track modeling aids
      4m 42s
    7. Setting cursor constraints
      4m 50s
  10. 50m 14s
    1. Editing corners with Fillet and Chamfer
      7m 38s
    2. Trimming and splitting with curve Booleans
      5m 37s
    3. Moving and rotating objects with the Drag and Nudge tools
      7m 24s
    4. Copying and pasting objects
      4m 10s
    5. Understanding how Rhino uses Undo and Redo
      3m 42s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 21s
    7. Scaling objects
      6m 40s
    8. Duplicating objects using the Mirror command
      6m 36s
    9. Making copies and structured sets using arrays
      5m 6s
  11. 20m 37s
    1. Using the Analysis toolbar to understand characteristics of a model
      6m 14s
    2. Defining degrees of curve and surfaces
      6m 6s
    3. Using Rebuild and Change Degree
      8m 17s
  12. 26m 21s
    1. Measuring and labeling values on a model using dimensioning
      5m 22s
    2. Creating screen captures for quick proofs
      5m 16s
    3. Creating 2D views of a 3D model
      6m 44s
    4. Rendering a project
      8m 59s
  13. 22m 5s
    1. Preparing a model for prototyping by confirming that all gaps are closed
      5m 17s
    2. Using the "shelling" technique to create wall thickness
      10m 54s
    3. Exporting to the STL format for 3D printing
      5m 54s
  14. 14s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Rhino 4 Essential Training
5h 48m Beginner Apr 08, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Rhino 4.0 Essential Training, author Dave Schultze shows how the 3D NURBS-based modeling tools in Rhino 4.0 are used to engineer products from toy robots to full-sized aircraft. This course concentrates on using Rhino 4.0 for industrial design and rapid prototyping, with a review of common 3D terminology using specific examples. Along with a comprehensive exploration of the Rhino interface, the course includes an introduction to building 3D objects with Rhino's three primary entities: the curve, the surface, and the solid. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding 3D terminology
  • Viewing a 3D model in Rhino 4.0
  • Manipulating objects with commands
  • Creating curves, surfaces, and solids
  • Applying transformations to 3D objects
  • Creating unique shapes with Boolean operators
  • Snapping to objects and planes
  • Defining curve and surface degree
  • Prototyping a 3D model
3D + Animation CAD
Dave Schultze

Extruding curves to create solids without primitives

In this video, we will explore a few of the more common ways of creating solids without the Primitive commands. We will focus on three commands I like to use: the Extrusion, the surprisingly powerful pipe and the Text command. A remainder regarding the other commands. Anything can be used in a sequence or alone to create a valid solid. The requirement had been that you follow simple rules of creating a closed volume. Let's continue work on the jet pack. I'll start off by doing some extrusions. We've got a few profiles here internally.

We can use those to create some brackets and connect the tanks together. So, I am going ahead and go up to Solid menu > Extrude a Planar Curve > Straight. And there is pretty much what we'd expect that comes out, going one direction. I am going to switch one of my options here and show you the alternative, Both Sides Yes. So, now we don't have to worry about symmetry. Let me just go ahead and we are going to end up trimming these with some Boolean operations a little bit later. So, a good way to work is just to have things overlap in a generous manner, not worry about how close or far from the intersection.

We have another bracket part here. Let's try a little variation on that extrude. Solid, Extrude Planar Curve. Let's try the Tapered option. So, this can go out, looks like its getting smaller, so we are going to use the option Flip Angle. So it's getting larger. I am going to turn off some of these snaps here. Jump in quite a bit. And that looks like that angle is 10 degrees. That looks about right, but that's easy to change.

And once again, I am going to just go in farther than needed. We will trim back later. Now, to make the other side, we can't taper in two directions simultaneously. So, I'd finish this off by just making a quick mirror. So, let's switch to the front viewport and zoom back to where that bracket was, just to quick Transform > Mirror. I am going to use my snaps again for the axis line to make sure that this is exactly symmetrical.

So, if we switch back to the rear, you can see we've got this bracket complete and symmetrical, going both directions. Now, let's check out some Pipe commands. So, you're probably wondering how did he get that spiral around that curve. That looks like a lot of work. So, I need to ask that question. So, let's take a brief detour, before we create a pipe from that curve. Show exactly how this was done. This is a Curve command called Helix, located in the Curve menu. Typically, you would start off by just identifying two points.

And it would draw around a straight axis. Pffft! That's the boring way. I am going to escape out of there and show you how to wrap it around any curve and any shape. You can get some amazing complexity built in for little or no charge. So, I am going to right- click to repeat the command. This time I am going to select the AroundCurve option and use this arc here, zoom in a bit. So, we have options for the specific diameter, number of turns that's going to occur, even the complexity.

That's the number of points per turn. That's kind of low. I want to keep a simple curve. So, whenever it looks good, just go close enough. Select that and zoom in, so we check out some of the details. So, your second question probably is well okay, how did you get it to close in on the end and terminate on that center? Easy, we just do the control points, and I turn those on with F10 shortcut. And it's a simple click and drag, click and drag, they snap over there.

And if the transition is not as clean as you'd like, all I did was just pick the last one or two and just delete them. So, that's a much more cleaner transition in there. Okay. That's how you built the Helix around a curve, to get the form started. Let's go back to the original. We're going to visit the Solid > Pipe and select this Helix. And it's a little tricky here. This radius - we don't want to be too big. We can easily self-intersect and get way too complicated, so that first radius being displayed.

That's the default of one. Let's just cut that in half at. I am going to go at .5. Of course, we can always undo this and try it again. We have an option to hit another radius on the other end. I am just to hit Enter to accept the first one, so they match. Now you can also add additional profiles along the way and get really crazy. I am just going to leave those as it is. There you go. There's the pipe, which is basically like a loft. The addition being we have got caps at each end, so that's why it's in the Solid menu.

Pretty amazing! Let's finish off this antenna. So, let's do a quick pipe with this straight line here, pretty easy. I am just going to do a diameter of one, and let's try a taper just to see how it looks. Nope, don't like it at all. Let's do a Ctrl+Z, Undo. So, that's a good reminder that a lot of times the numbers that you type in or the sizes you select just by eyeballing them don't work.

So, that's one of the reasons we are in 3D. Just always feel comfortable backing up, by trying another size. Just repeat the command. I am going to type 1 for both radii. Of course, we are using the Solid menu, so it's Caps. We need one more. I am going to put a sphere at the end of there. Just eyeball that. There you go. Nice-looking antenna. So, my final pipe, I am going to create a detail here on the front of his torso that we're going to later trim out.

But I need to get a line directly on that surface. So, I have already got one prepared. It's floating right here, and we are going to use a command called Project. Now the critical part about this command is it's very easy to use. You have to be in the appropriate viewport. Right now, this would not work. Our construction plane here is flat and if we project it, it would just basically get squashed on to the ground and never hit the robot. So, I am going to switch viewports to the Front and do then do the Curve > From Objects > Project.

Now the curve is already selected, so it's now asking me, what surfaces do you want to project on to? So, I am just going to select the robot body, right-click because I am done. Let's switch back to Perspective viewport and check out what happened. It actually projected all the way through. So, we can get rid of the one we don't need. I am going to Ctrl+Select this one in the front. That's the one we want to keep and then just hit Delete. So, this is a great way to get any shape or form or detail onto a surface, no matter how complicated that surface is.

So, the whole point being we're just going to do a quick pipe on that. Solid > Pipe. I am going leave it the same size, 1. And we will use that a little bit later to trim out the details. So it looks like a panel joint. Okay, the final Solid command I'd like to show you is generating some text. We need a logo on his jet pack. So, I am going to start off by going to Front viewport. Maximize. And we can just use the text here on the main menu. It's located in a couple of different areas. We have got the logo already typed in, Zoom Pack, but note we have the ability to change it from Bold or Italic.

Definitely, we want to make sure it says solids. You can create it with just surfaces or outline curves easily, but another thing I like to do is group them. I have no idea if this is the correct size. I am going to leave it as is, and we will just give it a try and see how it looks. I am going to Perspective view to check this out. And if that logo is supposed to go on to this bracket here at the back, it's way too big. Let's go back to the Front viewport and start it over. I am going to right-click over here, Text Object.

I think it probably needs to be about half as big. Yeah, that'll probably fit much better. So, I would probably finish this off by doing a sequence of moves and rotates and get that to align right on that bracket. We'll save that for later. So, solids can be created many different ways, but I personally recommend one of the extrusion methods as your best bet. The reason that's the curves serve is critical backups in case of a design change or mistake fix.

In any modeling project, you want the ability to either start over or make mid-course adjustments. That's the primary reason you are using 3D software in the first place. So, those changes are much more difficult with a primitive. If we use the curves plus extrude method we reviewed here, then you could always regenerate the solid whenever needed, without having it's dimensions memorized.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Rhino 4 Essential Training .

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Q: I'm noticing several differences between the options that author shows in the video and my copy of Rhino. For example, I can't select curves on the edge of a surface or turn on control point when vertically extruding a closed surface like an ellipse. Also, I do not get the Sweep option. I'm running on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
A: This course was recorded on a Windows computer. As of February 2012, Rhino for Mac is still in beta, so it is not yet a full-fledged product. Wait until the full version comes out to see if these issues are resolved.
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