Unwrapping and Flattening... my hopes and dreams

Anybody having problems with the Unwrap and Flatten extension overlapping even as few as two adjacent faces? I have a model with 423 faces that I’m trying to lay flat to cut with my CNC plasma. I’d really love to not have to select each individual piece to lay flat cuzzzz that’s like days and days of work, plus I’d love to keep them somewhat oriented to each other. I absolutely have to know which side is up/out referencing from the sculpture, or it’s mission failed…

Any suggestions, dear SketchUp Community? I’ve uploaded a file that’s an example of the full sculpture. The file is a 3" tall 3D print excerpt of what will be a 15’ tall SS sculpture in a few months. Thanks in advance!


OMT 3D Print Head 3in.skp (30.1 KB)

Try with smaller parts of the model (using extension), then join them all.

I haven’t run into that, but the items I have unwrapped and flattened are a lot simpler than your sculpture. I’m not surprised there would be issues with something as complex as your sculpture - the problem is combinatorial in the number of faces and edges. However, generating an overlap strikes me as a bug in the extension. It ought to post a message saying it gave up, or something like that.

Although it will be more tedious than a fully automated solution, I second @mihai.s suggestion to break down the whole model into simpler subunits and do them one by one.

Great suggestions. Thanks! I’ll try that this afternoon and get back with a result. I really appreciate the help and feedback.

I tried another method, using Blender. I unwrapped (all at once) the model (seams for each edge) and exported UV Layout as SVG. In Inskape I saved as DXF and then imported into SketchUp.

Depending on the need, instead of each edge being a seam, a route of those seams can be created and the faces can be connected. But this is to be tested.

// edit

The solution offered by Pierre is probably the right one, being a specialized software for that and having the automatic unfold option. In Blender it is necessary to select which edges to separate.

Yeah, sure, you could unfold smaller parts. it works, sometime.
Or use blender.

But if you’re going to use an external tool, might as well one made especially for this purpose :slight_smile:

I do a lot of paperwork from 3d models. And I used to do stuff like animal heads and complex models. To unwrap the models, and add the tabs and everything, I used a software called Pepakura.
The link above is a similar solution, free, in browser. You’ll be able to unwrap your model, separate pieces to avoid overlap, and add glue tabs.

edit : my bad, free will give you a 150dpi pdf. if you want vector lines, either svg or pdf, you’ll have to pay 4$ for a month.

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Excellent. I’m away from my desk but I’ll try those solutions this evening for sure. Thanks, everybody!

Ok folks, thank you so much for your time and attention. I think I have it sorted out. I’m going to go with the Paper Maker subscription route, though I do wish they had a simple software purchase option. I use Blender from time to time and like the rendering options it provides, but I don’t know that I trust it to pull all the unwrapped shapes out on the same orientation. I’m going to be cutting these pieces fairly large, and from very expensive sheets of stainless steel, so I need to be sure that they flatten in the same orientation, something that the Paper Maker software does. I appreciate all the suggestions! I’ll try to remember to post pix of the finished product in a couple months. You’ve definitely saved me a lot of time and I’m very grateful for that.



check pepakura then


same idea, pretty much the same results, PC only, and a flat cost of 49$ + tax

the support page contains a step by step of how it works, there are also videos on youtube. When I bought it in 2018 I spent an hour unfolding my first model and clicking on everything and I understood pretty much it all.
PaperMaker is nice because its free version gives you a pdf you can still print and cut (if you’re using paper), but in your case you need some good vector lines

Here I still have pepakura 4 (not the latest 5), still good. I haven’t used it in a year because my paper art is fairly simple and I can unfold it by hand in SU. but on more complex models it’s been really useful.

Great to know, thank you!

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We are going to release a one time purchase (lifetime license) on Papermaker really soon with a huge update improving the software a lot including a full user manual stay tuned and thanks for using PaperMaker

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Excellent, please let us all know when that launches!

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Hi there ! Jusst to let you know that the update is online as well as one time payment option. Enjoy this new and improved version of the software :slight_smile:


Excellent. Thank you!

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