15 Replies Latest reply on Dec 27, 2012 1:00 PM by Shar Fa

    Creating a curved interlocking brick

    Shar Fa

      Hi all,


      I want to create a brick which is a cut from an elyptic dome, and add to it a similary curved locking edge like in puzzle games.

      How do I do that after creating the curved brick?





        • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
          Mike Pogue



          I don't have SolidWorks right now, so I can't verify the method. But consider this:


          1. Sketch elipse
          2. Revolve thin
          3. Sketch puzzle on base plane of dome
          4. Insert a wrap and scribe through the thickness, keep all bodies
          5. Add configurations with only one brick left unsupressed in each
          6. Assemble the puzzle
          • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
            Troy Peterson

            Can you add an image of what you are trying to accomplish. To me you should be able to use a sweep cut but without knowing what it looks like it is hard to help.

            • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
              Carl Gauger



              I assume what you want to do is simply add the interlocking feature to the brick which you have already created.


              Without knowing the exact geometry that you have it's difficult to be exact, but what I would try 1st is to create a plane midway between the two curved surfaces, create the sketch of your interlock, and then extrude it up to each surface.  You can do this on one side for the male interlock feature and again on the other side as a cut for the female interlock feature.  If they need to match one another you can create relations between them.


              Perhaps if you post the part, others can be more helpful.

              • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                Shar Fa

                Hi all,


                I've done someting mainly to show where I want to get eventually.

                I'm not happy with how it is right now, any advice?


                file attached

                  • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                    Carl Gauger

                    This is helpful..  First let me comment on you construction of the brick.  There are many methods to get this result.  Yours is not bad, although it has a few more steps than I thnink are necessary, but it is viable.


                    Let me ask some questions:

                    1.  I assume your goal is to create a puzzle in the shape of your Dome, made up of interlocking Bricks:


                    Is this correct?


                    2.  Will you model remain electronic, or will you need to fabricate it?


                    3.  How do the layers need to connect with each other, or can they be independent of each other?


                    4. Is the shape and size of the Dome fixed, or might it change?  Do you need the Brick geometry to be driven by the Dome dimensions?


                    The answers to these question (and many more) will determine your methodology.  This way you can construct your model in ways that make sense and that expend no more effort than is necessary.


                    Thinking ahead is almost always a time-saver.

                      • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                        Shar Fa

                        1. You are correct. To do that, I also need to figure out the height of each brick in order to get good interlocking on each "level" of bricks mounted on eachother.


                        2. What do you mean by electronic? It's a cement dome to be made as a part of a biogas reactor in Nepal (engineers without borders program)


                        3. The layers are connected by using cement


                        4. I would prefer it to change using a formula at the end of the day but for now the dimensions are fixed.


                        I see what you're saying, I've learned by expirience that the method of construction might cost me with precious time later on.

                        Since for now this is used mainly to illustrate a concepet, i'm more concerned about creating the bricks in the correct height to interlock on each "level" with a small degree of spacing, and perhaps creating the current brick with fewer more easy to change steps

                          • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                            Carl Gauger

                            OK--good.  Since you are designing the thing to be built and not just creating a picture (even though that is your focus right now) giving attention to construction and assembly techniques is important.


                            For example, how many forms can be created to "mold" the bricks (and how will the forms be made?).  I assume you want as few as possible.  Due to the curvature you may need at least as many as you have layers.  You will also need clearance between the positive and negative interlocks and you will have to determine if the interlocks and the morter between layers will be sufficient to maintain the structure.  Personally, I think the curved interlocks may be a problem in assembly--depends on how much clearance is provided.


                            Another consideration is, since you must "mold" the bricks in forms, whether or not the geoemtry of the brick lends itself for removal from the form.  Related to this, does the curvature of the interlocks allow assembly of the blocks together at every level?  I'm not trying to design it for you, it's just that I have no idea if these issues have been given thought.  They will influence the approach you take and prevent much re-working of the concept if they are given attention at the early stage.


                            As for the modeling, it seems to me the trick is figuring out how many bricks in each layer.  You might try creating one brick in each layer by using the surfaces of the dome.  You can then alter the size of the bricks of each layer by altering the angle from the whole that determines the width of each brick and experiment until you get a scheme that makes sense.  It seems from your models that you probably know how to do this.  Create your interlock sketch so that it is related to the side of each brick and will update as the size of the bricks change.  Once you get the geometry of each brick established, make a circular pattern of each one to form its  layer.


                            And an interesting aside, my daughter is currently in Nepal.

                              • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                                Shar Fa

                                Hi, thank you for the answer!


                                a. My intention is to create one unique mold to be repeated. Meaning all layers have the same brick size and dimensions, and not each later its own mold. The dome is symetrical so I figure it shouldnt be a problem? having clearance is actually an advantage, I dont need each interlock to fall exactly on the mm, it needs to have a bit of spacing and I will compenstate the 'freedom' between the negetive and positive interlocks with cement on each connection.


                                b. I do want the curvature of the interlocks  to allow assembly of the blocks together at every level, when each level stands on its own meaning no assembly to the previous layer. The mold is to be cut out of woods using cnc milling machines, the mold is to be modular so that after molding the cement inside the mold the mold itself will be taken apart around the created block instead of pushing the block outside the mold (in order to keep the curvature of the cement block).

                                There's lots of calculation and design to this, i'm aware of it.


                                c. I agree it simpler using angle cuts from the complete dome to determine the number of bricks. It also the easier way to calculate the height of the levels in order to create a single dimensioned brick to match all levels. The thing is, I'm having trouble taking this approach and creating the interlocking puzzle sides to the cut bricks. So what I did now was basically create a new part just for the brick that will need a lot of altering for each future change ..

                                Any advice on how to minimize my steps now that you have a good idea of what im trying to accomplish?


                                Hopefully I'll be there in April-March too :-)


                        • Re: Creating a curved interlocking brick
                          Shar Fa

                          Thank you all for your comments and help!

                          This has been a true lesson.