Using the Follow Me Tool With Spherical Curves


With certain types of 3D curves (notably helixes), the Follow Me tool rotates the profile as it “climbs” the curve. This usually produces an undesired effect, such as twisting a helical (spiral) stair rail. Generally, this type of geometric problem requires something like @eneroth3’s Upright Extruder in lieu of the Follow Me tool.

However, this quirky behavior can be used to produce any number of interesting shapes. Any curve on the surface of a sphere (made up of many line segments, of course), can be used with the Follow Me tool to produce a contour that remains radial from the center of the sphere.

For example, the intersection of these two surfaces produces a 3D curve:

Add a very thin rectangle at one end:


Using the Follow Me tool produces this (a solid, BTW):


Making the single shape a component and replicating it about the center of the sphere:

Adding a mirrored copy:

Model with 360 degree animation: sphere_5a.skp (643.5 KB)




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