I have been doing a workflow that is way too manual and think there must be a way to do it with Dynamic components or scripting. Basically, I am converting a 3D model to 2D planes. I then have the 2D planes cut in foam by a printing/marketing company (they have a type computer controlled saw, sort of like a CNC machine, which they use to cut foam, paper, and cardboard for large-format marketing materials). I stack up the cut foam, sand it lightly, and then use this as a 3D core for fiberglassing. The result is a very precise and low-cost large-format core.
Here is an outline of what I am doing. Can anyone help with pointers/plugins/scripts/etc. to help streamline/automate this process?
I create a 3D model that is +/- 12’ long, with components which are each less than 8’. I create multiple section planes through the components, each set 1/2" to 1" apart (the foam I use is either 1/2" or 1" thick), across the 3D model. I vary the orientation of the section plans horizontally or vertically, depending on which orientation will produce higher fidelity.
I create groups from slices of the model, using the section panes. I assign the groups to tags. I assign the tags to scenes. Each scene provides a 2D view of one group. These steps are really slow and painful! Some of the 3D models produce 100+ scenes!
I use Layout to arrange the scenes/slices on a PDF with dimensions 4’x8’, with 1:1 scaling. This step is also really slow and painful, largely because I’m trying to maximize the packing of shapes in each sheet of foam. If I were willing to accept more foam waste, I could speed this step up, just by selecting all of the PDFs and printing them to a 4’x8’ PDF.
I then have a printing company cut 4’x8’ sheets of foam into foam pieces corresponding to the slices, using the PDF. I stack up the foam pieces, bonding them together with Elmer’s glue, sand lightly to remove the edges between the layers, apply mold release/wax, then fiberglass.
Here is an image of the foam core, partially assembled and a first video of one of these creations. You can find more at fishboat dot net, if you’re curious about what I’m up to. Thanks for your feedback!!