How to rotate a piece to lay flat when it is already on an angle


Hi there

I have designed a house and I have copied all of the walls to a flat rectangle so the pieces can be laser cut. To lay the pieces flat I made each piece a group then used the move tool to rotate the piece 0, 90, or 180 degrees.

The problem I am having now is my roof pieces are already on an angle so when I use the move tool to rotate them, the 0, 90,180 degrees doesn’t work because it includes the degree that the slope is already on. Is anyone able to tell me how I get the piece flat when their original position is not a simple straight up and down? I have tried to use the protractor to work out what angle it is already on to see if that will help but I have no idea how that tool works and I’m wondering if there is a more simple way.




Why don’t you use the rotate tool for this? You can use inferences to rotate until your geometry is parallel to an axis for example…


I have watched multiple videos and read the knowledge centre and I can’t work the rotate tool out which is why I do it by the move tool. I’ll go give it another try.


I have watched a video on you tube about the rotate tool and it says to choose the red, green or blue axis to rotate from. When I cover anywhere over my roof piece I only get a black protractor or a blue one and I have clicked every angle side, corner, random place I can get the protractor to show up on and it doesn’t rotate the direction I need to lay it flat.


You just need to understand how to manipulate the tool. It will change colour depending on which axis it is on and you can lock it to that axis with the shift key. Find a face with correct orientation or move the camera so it inferences to the correct axis, then use shift to keep the tool locked and click the point from which you want to rotate, then click along the length of the piece and finally click on the point that want to drop it.
Having other geometry around for you to inference to helps.
The other way to tell the tool which way you want to rotate is to click and drag the tool along an edge, this will set the tool perpendicular to that edge.
So in the first part of this animation I use the inference shift lock to rotate one section of roof, then the second I use click drag along the edge to fit it to the red axis.


Now that was helpful beyond belief. Thank you so much for taking the time to help. I have spent about 5 hours now messing with these tools trying to get things to move but I did it and it worked. I was copying the piece from the house to be on its own then trying to rotate it but doing it on the house worked! I also had no idea that the camera angle had so much to do with how it moved too. Is there a shortcut to move your camera to each axis or do you just line it up by sight using the mouse?


There are the standard view shortcuts that you’ll find in the Camera menu.
But basically it’s just by eye. You’ll get the hang of moving about in 3d space quite quickly. The modeling area is sort of like the inside of a box and if you are looking down the tools tend to be blue because the camera is looking at the z axis, if you are looking more horizontal then it will be seeing the x or y axis depending on if you are looking more to the left or the right.
Just move around as needed using orbit/pan/zoom all from the middle mouse button, until you see what you need to see.
Remember, it’s not a flat drawing, it’s a 3d object and you need to fly around it to get the best orientation for what you want to do, just like in real life.