How to make tensile structure in sketchup

How do i make this attached tensile structure in sketchup?


Please help!



You could make it this way

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–> Soap Skin & Bubble <–


The subdivide tool in Artisan Organic Toolset

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I tried using curviloft but i cant achive the shape i need!

@amarv91, to increase your chances of getting help from members of this forum, it’s helpful to give more accurate information about what you want to do.
Do you want to model exactly that construction in the picture or just a similar one?
Do you have more details about it: plans, views, dimensions, etc?
If you tried, what did you do and where did you get stuck?
Write such details and probably the forum members could help you a little more.

Step 1: Draw top view
Step 2: Make your wireframe boundary where you want it. Adjust the height of arc endpoints, elevate & rotate the circles.
Step 3: Create edge loops with arcs

Step 4: Make a copy of each edge loop

Step 5: Soap Skin & Bubble each edge loop, then combine the parts, explode, and soften edges

P.S. Creating the wireframe is the most important part. All the arcs and circles you draw will determine how it looks. You can use entity info to adjust arc radius’ and fine tune the structures shape.


Fabric structure at Arizona State University

To create the 3D model of that structure, you can use a plan and a view to have a starting point.

If the desired structure is more complicated, it is easier to work if you split it into several parts. If some of the elements are repeated, then you work them once and make them components, then copy them as often as necessary.

For the membrane that covers the structure, create its edges and some wireframes between them (use arc tool, and move/rotate tools), to give the desired shape, and then use plugin Curviloft >> Skin Contours.

You have a little more to work on it carefully, but it is achievable. :wink:


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I have not checked beforehand if there is a 3D model in 3D warehouse because I wanted to see step by step how I can make the structure myself.


:slightly_smiling_face: I thought you find and gave the link to the 3D model of the Arizona State University fabric structure, but now I see that it’s actually another structure, from a festival - Appelpop 2007 Netherlands.
Anyway, thanks for the link, I’ll check to see how was made this one.

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Thank you so much. It really helped me understand the procces & also in designing my structure.

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Great, now how to I use this shape for production? How do I create a panel layout for the cloth and send to production? Is it even possible?

It is possible however not so easy with the free web version your profile indicates you are using. Of course you wouldn’t be using the free web version for your work, either. There are extensions that can unfold the surface and lay it out flat that can be used in the desktop version.

Thanks for your input - as I’m new to the software, I’m trying to figure out if it is worthwile for the company to spend money on. If it can do the job, it’s a happy ship.

Do you know the names of mentioned extensions so I can look into those?

Understood. If you are evaluating the free web version as your profile indicates, it doesn’t have any facility to use extensions. If you are looking at SketchUp Pro, it does have that ability. One of the extensions is called Unwrap and Flatten. It’s in the Extension Warehouse.

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