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Help making beautiful tendrils like I did in ProE long ago?

Question asked by Tim White on Mar 27, 2016
Latest reply on Mar 30, 2016 by Alin Vargatu

Long ago (1998) I designed in ProE an undulating grillwork pattern made up of very life-like, tree root-shaped tapered tendrils.   I understand the basics of lofts and guide curves in SW, but this isn't enough. I haven’t figured out how to replicate the complete design process in SW.  

The Design Process I Used in ProE: The various intersecting tendrils making up the grill pattern were made as individual lofts, all sharing a common basic rounded-triangle x-section sketch shape. Simple so far, but then the height and width of each of each tendril were together driven along their length by a single graph-driven variable dimension. This variable dimension was the vertical distance from the horizontal line between the centers of the lower triangle corner radii to the center of the top radius.  The distance between the lower corner radii was made a fixed percentage of the vertical dimension, so they varied proportionately when just the vertical height was varied. The key trick was that this variable vertical dimension was edited over the length of each tendril by means of tweaking for each a unique curved line on an X-Y graph. 

For example, if the control line graph for a given tendril were a flat line, the resulting tendril would be identical to a simple sweep of an unchanging rounded triangle, while a straight sloping line would create a tendril whose height and width varied smoothly from one end to the other. However, by being able to taper tendrils arbitrarily along their length with individual height control graphs, a more life-like appearance was achieved in the overall pattern, like a tangle of roots.  Finally, when the final multi-tendril pattern was complete, it was further lofted into a 3-dimensional shape by being turning its original flat surface into an undulating “free-form surface”.  Then a 2-piece mold could be created to fabricate the overall pattern.

It is this graph-driven variable loft x-section function I need to figure out, and I hope there is a way to do it in SW.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

Tim

t.white@ridgewing.com

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