Hi Everyone--

So....I'm in a bit over my head. I first starting using Rhino at the end of February (after having only worked with 2D design previously) to create a product "protoype" (more like a model really) for my senior design competition.

I've struggled through using Lynda.com tutorials and sketchy advice from my coworkers (who don't seem to understand Rhino as well as they claimed to).

Now, I have my glorified curved bar, and I am trying to shell it to print. I'm not sure if I'm proceeding in the right manner and would appreciate any help I can get. Basically, the final presentation is May 7 so it's to the point where this needed to be done yesterday so I can help my group with other things.

Also, I just don't want to let everyone down... I would be disappointed to have gotten things figured out this far and then have to throw out the idea of 3D printing entirely...

Below are some of my files, and I will be ever grateful to anyone who would like to help or further advise if I'm doing this correctly or if you can provide tips for a newb like me.

Latest version. Shelled with outer layer hidden, trimming some of i...

Slightly older version. Inner and outer shell in separate layers. N...

I have other older versions as well if this is messed up entirely.

Thank you in advance!!


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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Anna- on the older version: Turn on the Outer layer only (OneLayerOn command ) Select everything and Join. Then Cap (Solid menu> Cap planar holes) to close the object. Then start the Shell command, set thickness to say, .1, and select the top face of the object- the one added by 'Cap'. Enter and sit back... Is that what you wanted? You can pick any face or faces that you want 'removed' during the Shell command, it looked like the top one was what you wanted.



Hi Pascal,

Thanks for your quick response! I understand what you mean (I THINK!)... definitely makes more sense to create an outer shell, as opposed to an inner one like I was trying to do. I did it this way initially because I created the bar keeping in mind the final outer dimensions that I wanted.

Ultimately, I wanted a "closed" object with none of the faces removed. I was just under the impression that a face has to be removed to do the shelling, then rejoined with Boolean union. This is from the bad advice I received from my coworker who told me that I should use Rhino because he could help me (and now he can't).

So I'm going to try this and see what happens.



Hi Anna- you cannot have a single polysurface object where one part does not touch the other- like a box inside a box... You can do it- Close the objects as I described, then use OffsetSrf, Solid=yes, making sure the arrows point inward (Flip at the command line) , but it will be two objects not one. 



Hi Pascal,

Yes, I understand that ultimately, it's two objects like this. Hence trying to do the Boolean union command to reattach the "OffsetSrf top" to the "hollowed OffsetSrf bottom" thinking that would make it so that it's a hollow thing to print.

In an ideal world, I wouldn't care if it was hollow and it would be much easier. However, funds are limited for this project so I can't afford to print if it's not hollow. So this is the point that I'm trying to get to.

I'll upload the file where I did what you suggested. Now it's just a box and another box... and I'm not quite sure where to go from this point.... Please advise!

Thank you!!



Hi Anna- if you want to lose one face of the object and shell the rest, go with my first recommendation: Join and close the outer surfaces (Cap) to make a completely closed solid, then use Shell and pick the face you are willing to eliminate and Enter. If you want an object inside another object, close up the object then use OffsetSrf to the inside.... does either of those get what you need?


  • pascal@mcneel.com

If you offset the closed surface to the inside as Pascal describes and then place a small hole in both surfaces using a simple cylinder you can then use the same cylinder to connect the original outer polysurf with the inner offset one creating a closed and for all intents and purposes fully shelled object.  I say this because you can make the hole extremely small in Rhino to the point where it would probably be below the resolution of the 3D printer.  The caveat here is that I've never 3D printed anything, but that's how I would approach the problem.


Hi Anna,

There were a bunch of things that would prevent this model from printing on an RP machine as is. Please see the attached sample which I made starting from your model. Notes are included. In short, make sure curves touch before making surfaces and the result will be less likely to have gaps when joined. I have made a bunch of tutorials available here as well if you're interested... https://vimeo.com/channels/rhinotutorials

Hi Brian,

Thanks for getting back to me. Yes, wishful thinking that it was anywhere close to suitable for printing. Keep in mind I go to a fashion school that will not provide me with a tutor for Rhino because I am not in a specific Rhino class. I'll take a look at your file/notes/tutorials and see where I can go from there.



Uploaded file... 




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