12 Replies Latest reply on Nov 8, 2017 12:02 AM by Paul Salvador

    Cooper the dinosaur

    Chad Huleatt

      Our company is looking at making a replica dinosaur for a museum here in Australia. The dinosaur is called "Cooper the Dinosaur".

       

      I realise that people usually use mesh modelling software for this kind of work, however I want to use solidworks as I will need to figure out the internal framework. I do not want to import a solid, as I want to be able to play with the shape easily.

       

      I had a crack at it using lofts, flex etc. I'm not looking for someone to do this for me, but just some advice:

       

      1. Do you need to use surfacing tools for this kind of thing?

      2. How can I join the legs to the body, in a way that looks organic?

      3. What features would you use for this type of work?

       

      Any advice would really be appreciated - thanks!

       

        • Re: Cooper the dinosaur
          John Stoltzfus

          Paul Salvador or Shon Owl the forum surfacing guru's would say this is a Surfacing project and will have all the answers you need.

          • Re: Cooper the dinosaur
            Chris Dordoni

            "I do not want to import a solid, as I want to be able to play with the shape easily."

             

            Playing with an organic form like this in SolidWorks is not very time efficient. You would be better off modeling and adjusting a simplified form in a poly modeler. Once you have the overall shape you want then you could import it into SolidWorks as a low poly model to use as a reference to construct new surfaces.

             

            Or, you could get PowerSurfacing or use a trial. PowerSurfacing is really the best option if you need to do this type of work in SolidWorks. Sure, you can build the organic surfaces with SolidWorks native tools but you would have to accurately estimate all that time to bill the customer or you will end up eating it.

            • Re: Cooper the dinosaur
              Bill Toft

              As I understand it, your goal is to manufacture Cooper.  So my first question will be: what materials and construction methods will you be using?

              I have done a few animals for a client and I am not a very good artist. I found the biggest productivity boost is to start by purchasing a 3D model (OBJ) from a site like TurboSquid. Then, rather than trying to convert anything, I import the file and use it for reference only.

               

              I start by doing the internal frame. (In my case it is 1/4" bent rods that are welded together). I use weldments, so splines are out. Instead I use a series of arcs to do a reference 3D sketch. of the overall shape. (It could be a series of 3d sketches. Or a set of 2D sketches on planes that intersect the model.) This way you can use symmetry to do just one half, then mirror the parts.

               

              Then, decide how you will be making the skin. Sheet metal? Expanded sheets of mesh, then plastered?

              Assuming sheet metal, knowing the available sheet sizes, design a set of surfaces to fit over your frame.

              Then to get flat patterns, you need to invest in a package  like Exact Flat.

               

              Another package to check out is XTract3D. It is an add-in that helps convert that imported model (or scan file) into usable sketch geometry.

                • Re: Cooper the dinosaur
                  Chad Huleatt

                  Bill Toft  This is manufacturing method:

                  Our company builds a framework, usually aluminium. In a complex case like this we would probably weld the frame, but it would be made in 2 or 3 parts that can be bolted/ screwed together. Then we ship to a vendor. Vendor makes out of EPS, the coats with hardcoat and ships it back. We do the painting, and additional finishing before shipping and installing.

                   

                  I should have mentioned the size: probably in the range of 10m. (the real one was 30m long)

                   

                  The vendor is a very creative outfit. They do theme parks and movie sets. If we give him the basic shape, he does all the details, hand sculpting the fine details off pictures. My model does not need to be perfect, but I want to be able to do it accurately enough to show the client a rough idea, and to make sure that the framework is the right shape.

                   

                  Chris Dordoni, thanks for the turbosquid lead - I wasn't aware of that website. I couldn't find the right dinosaur there (some are close), but I could ask the museum for a model, I think they have one (see below).

                   

                  If this project goes any further, I  think I'll pursue the import option.

                   

                  • Re: Cooper the dinosaur
                    Paul Risley

                    Bill Toft wrote:

                    Instead I use a series of arcs to do a reference 3D sketch. of the overall shape. (It could be a series of 3d sketches. Or a set of 2D sketches on planes that intersect the model.) This way you can use symmetry to do just one half, then mirror the parts.

                     

                     

                    And with the new 2018 you can finally mirror 3d sketches, that is one thing I am looking forward to very much. Especially for weldments.