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How do I create low models suitable for using as card models?

Question asked by Luke Harris on Nov 13, 2019
Latest reply on Nov 20, 2019 by Luke Harris

Hi everyone!


Lately i've been using SolidWorks modelling to produce accurate scale model templates of my furniture designs, which I can then print and use to reproduce my parts in card, foam etc. Ordinarily I would create cross-sections of my 3D parts, print them, put them together, and then fill the gaps with XPS foam that I would then shape into my desired shape.


I have seen many times that furniture designers make scale models of then designs, that are like 'low-poly' versions of their designs (chair sketch model attached - A simple example, but i've seen much more complicated forms produced using this method). This seems to be a such an accurate way of replicating curved forms, at the early stages of a project when trying to sculpt curved forms is unnecessarily time consuming.


I've been using SolidWorks to model a foam seat for a piece of furniture, and had a crack at trying to figure out this method (image attached):


- I manually drew the edges using the curved solid part for reference, and used them to great a series of lofts (not sure if this is the best approach),

- I attempted to flatten the parts (only one corner as an example) but I wasn't confident with the flat pattern it produced, and also, SolidWorks naturally ignores the fold lines (overall I question whether SolidWorks understands what i'm trying to do).


Is it possible to use SolidWorks to do this type of modelling? My suspicion is that these kinds of modelling may be done in a different software entirely, where converting a 3D form into a low-poly model, that can then be flattened, with the fold lines intact (and possibly in addition to all of the tabs/fillets that will need to be folded and glued to force the pattern into a 3D form).


If it is possible on SolidWorks, what would you advise as the best approach?


Thanks in advance for your time!


Kind regards,