|Stickers on a curved surface [message #31421] Sat, 23 July 2011 23:49 UTC
I am one of the many twisty puzzle designers here on Shapeways, and I have run into a problem that I cannot solve in Solidworks.
Typically, to make my stickers, I project the outline of each piece's exposed surfaces onto a sketch, using the Convert Entities tool. I then do an offset to make the stickers slightly smaller than the faces, and finally add fillets to round out the corners. I then save it as a DXF, and cut them on my university's laser cutter.
This works great for most of my puzzles, since they have flat faces, so the projected outlines of the faces are exactly the right size for stickers. But when the surfaces are curved, as on my Twisted Cubes and Twisted Starminx, a projection of the surfaces onto a plane does not produce the correct shape.
For the Twisted Starminx, I solved this problem by trial and error. Starting with the projected outlines of the faces, I cut a sticker, checked it against the puzzle, and then edited it in CorelDraw and cut it again. This was a long process, and I would prefer not to do it again.
For the Twisted Cubes, I didn't have access to the laser cutter, so the stickers you see on the two puzzles above were painstakingly cut one at a time with scissors and an exacto-knife. This was an even longer process, and I REALLY would not like to do it again.
So here is my question:
Do any of you know of a way to take a curved surface and work out the flat shape that would fit on that surface?
I have attached a Solidworks file of a piece of the Twisted Cube. If you would like to have a go at this, but need the file in a different format, let me know, and I will upload it here.
If someone figures it out, I would be open to letting them order one of my puzzles without markup, or some similar reward.