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CAD tip CAD tip # 8194:

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Q - question

Unfolding a 3D sphere to 2D shapes.

A - answer To unfold any non-unfoldable 3D objects to two-dimensional shapes (sheetmetal, paper, etc.) you can use approximations. E.g. unfolding of spherical surfaces (sphere, dome) can be approximated using petals, or "orange peels":

orange, mercator

Creating of such unfolded shape for spheres of a given radius can be done in the freeware utility CADstudio SphereUnf - see Download

After loading, running the SphereUnf command and specifying the sphere radius you can pick the place for the unfolded shape and the number of peels for surface approximation - the minimum, 2 peels, make two circular shapes; it is recommended to use at least 8 peels.

After you cut out the peels and bond (weld) them together, you will get the approximation of the original 3D sphere.

See also a sample of such unfold - the drawing SphereUnf.dwg

The SphereUnf utility contains also the command ConeUnf for unfolding of 3D cones (incl. truncated cones).

100% *  CAD 
6.9.2011    29724×  
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applies to: AutoCAD ·

See also:
Tip 12416:How to export DXF outline of unfolded sheetmetal in Fusion 360, with no bending lines.
Tip 12411:How to wrap text on a cylinder or a general 3D surface in Fusion 360?
Tip 12392:Export unfolds of sheetmetal parts to DXF - parameters for iLogic and VBA
Tip 12365:How to show color print (sketch) also on the sheetmetal flat pattern?
Tip 12237:UnfoldRS - unfold 3D surfaces to 2D in AutoCAD.

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