Join Thom Tremblay for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a T-Spline body, part of Fusion 360: Designing for Plastics.
- [Narrator] The traditional way of creating complex forms using a series of sketches to develop lofts and sweeps is inherently restrictive to the creative process. In this video we will start to develop a freeform design using T-Spline's technology to develop a basic shape that will be built upon and eventually become a solid model. To start the process we'll go to the create pulldown and start the create form tool. When you start the create form tool it will change your workspace to the Sculpt workspace which of course will update your toolbars but it will also give you a warning dialogue.
This is to let you know that changes made while in the Sculpt environment will not be tracked individually. Typically in Fusion 360, we're used to every feature being recorded in the timeline. In the Sculpt environment, all of the modifications and additions to your freeform body are encapsulated in a single form. Which, of course, you can still return to edit directly from the timeline. I'll click OK and begin making our shape. There are a number of options in freeform.
You can begin by using a sketch and then extruding or revolving but there are also primitives. I'll start with the box primitive taking a look at some of the options I can establish this by developing either a center rectangle or a two point rectangle. I'll use center for my design. I can choose to develop to one side or be symmetric about the original selection plane. And I'll of course create a new body. The next step is to select a face to start designing on.
I'll choose the X:Y plane specify the origin of the model for my center point and then drag out a rectangle that's roughly, let's go with 100 by 120. I'll click and immediately, a three dimensional shape appears. This box primitive has a series of faces and edges and points. If you've used surface modeling in the past you might think these are similar to U or V lines but these are very different.
Each one of these edges, vertices, and faces is an actual object that you'll see we can modify on its own. There are other things that you will find consistent within the Sculpt environment. Such as the use of manipulators to change sizes, to change the number of faces. Here I'll establish a four by four grid. I could also do this in the dialogue or here perhaps I'll set three height faces.
And you'll see that the more faces that we have, the sharper the edges become. It can be tempting to us a lot of faces right away but I highly recommend limiting the number of faces you use initially and then sub dividing as the detail is required. I'll begin with this shape, click OK, and now I have a freeform body. In the next lesson, I'll be taking a deeper look at making modifications to it but I just want to give you a little preview on how you can manipulate the faces, edges and vertices that I mentioned.
I can either go to the modify pulldown and use the edit form tool or as I'm more comfortable, I'll simply right click and select edit form from the marking menu. As I move around you'll see that the various edges, faced and vertices highlight. If I select a point, a manipulator appears. The arrows on the manipulator, will allow me to move the selected object along an axis. The squares will allow me to move the selected object along a plane.
If I've selected an edge or a face I can use the lines or corners to scale in one or two directions depending on what I've selected. I can also use the curved manipulators to rotate about an axis. So what that looks like is moving along an axis, selecting an edge, moving it through a plane, and rotating it then selecting a face rotating it, scaling it in one direction or if I grab the center point I can scale in all directions at once.
So as you can see, the traditional boundaries, requirements or limitations based on trying to predefine a shape before you begin the creative process at all is very limiting compared to working in this environment. Let me use the tool that I most often use, which is undo, to take it back to the shape that we originally had. Now what I'd like to do is open up this shape. To do this I'll take a look at the right side of my model, I'll use a window to select all of the back faces, then to remove them all I have to do is select delete from the marking menu.
Now I've created an open T-Spline body. At this point what I'll do is use the finish form option to end editing the T-Spline and return back to the model workspace. Back in the model workspace, because this is an open body, it will be just an infinitely thin surface if you will. If the T-Spline body were closed, it would automatically convert into a solid model. T-Splines are an easy way to explore complex shapes without the normal overhead and restrictive work flows.