4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2013 1:51 PM by Patrick O'Hern

    "Unwrapped" Cylindrical Printing

    Bill Lebo

      Does anyone know if there is a way to print a solid model that is cylindrical in shape such that it is "unwrapped" on the sheet of paper? I would then like to roll the paper up into a cylinder for a 3D representation of the model.

        • Re: "Unwrapped" Cylindrical Printing
          Alan Stoldt



          You'll want to model this as a Sheetmetal part. Search the forums for  topics similar to  "unfold a cylinder", "flat pattern for a cone" etc...


          Youtube has a short video (or a few thousand..) showing this concept as well.




          Hope this helps,





            • Re: "Unwrapped" Cylindrical Printing
              Bill Lebo

              Alan, This is the right concept, however the model that I want to print is a very large assembly (hundreds of parts) that is cylindrical in shape.

                • Re: "Unwrapped" Cylindrical Printing
                  Mike Cole

                  Bill L.,


                  If the SheetMetal procedure is too be used it will probably be a real nightmare to acomplish because SolidWorks Sheetmetal requirements make it difficult to make a sheetmetal object out of something that cannot be manufactured in reality.
                  In order to start trying this method you'll have to do a Save As Part operation to save your assembly to a Part. Another thing you can do would be to copy the outer surfaces in the assembly and save as surface.
                  The surface may be thickened but radii may be needed for the unfold to work.


                  My suggestion would be to do your 3d Prin.t using one of the softer flexible materials that are available if those are available for your printer check with objet or stratasys or whoevers products you use. If your printer doesn't work with these materials you can contract the job out. Typical $3/sq" but for the flexible materials it will be more expensive.

                  • Re: "Unwrapped" Cylindrical Printing
                    Patrick O'Hern

                    Try creating your "paper" as a cylindrical sheetmetal part.  Add cuts to the sheetmetal that correspond to the locations of the parts in your assembly.  If you mate everything correctly to the features, you MIGHT be able to flatten the part and have the assembly update.


                    I tested this on a simple part, and it actually worked.




                    Message was edited by: Patrick O\'Hern