Converting 3D model to 2D planes, to allow cutting/stacking of planes to re-assemble 3D fiberglass core

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!!

Have you looked at Tig’s Slicer? Check the Sketchucation forum for it.

Looks on point! Thank you!

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