Chiseled text

how would I go about making 3D text that looks like it has been chiseled in stone.
It is for a pattern that will be used for a metal casting.

Hi Thomas - it’s hard to help without at least an image or a font that you like, or a model with what you have so far…



It can be done, but it is labour-intensive.

Use Rhino’s Text Object to create curve outlines of your text in its own layer.

and place it on your metal surface. Use the outlines to split the surface and delete the parts where the incised letters will be (be careful not to delete islands like the centre of an O). Then hide all the layers except the outline curves. I’ve chosen to use the Engravers MT font because it has crisp corners to its serifs which will work well.

For each letter split each curve at every sharp corner and where a line has a small break in it draw a bridging line (there are two of these in this letter R).

These segments will be swept to start creating the sloping sides of the letters. Draw a line perpendicular to the curve and at 45 degrees back from the surface. Make sure the line is long enough to intersect the opposite slope. Here we are part way through doing this.

Now sweep 1 these lines, using the outline curves as rails. Where you have a bridged curve use the ChainEdge option when creating the rail so you get a continuous surface. Don’t be tempted to chain around the sharp corners where you previously split - you need separate surfaces to get the intersections.

After sweeping the surfaces create curves from their intersections. These will help to see that there is a complete set of surfaces. For some letters it will be necessary to extend some of the sloping surfaces to get complete intersections.

Once you have intersection curves you can use them to start trimming the unwanted parts of the sloping surfaces. Some trims may need a combination of lines. If you cannot get a particular trim to work you may need to extend the intersection curve slightly.

Once all the surfaces have been correctly trimmed you have the incised letter form. This R has a difficult section where the leg joins the loop - it can be difficult to work out which surfaces need extending and trimming to close the gaps. The O by contrast is straightforward and quick to do.

Bring back the hidden surface layer and combine with the incised letters and you have a carved metal block.


Hi Jeremy,

Thank you for your input.
I had started down a couple different paths and needed a fresh take.
I figure if I take the time to do the alphabet I will always have it for future project’s.


Sounds like a good plan. If you are creating a set of characters for future reuse and are likely to want to manipulate the text (onto curved surfaces, say), you might want to consider rebuilding the initial outline curves to get better, simpler, surfaces. Font curves were not designed with surfacing in mind and can be improved on.


You could surely use my tool to make roof

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Hey Laurent, that is going to be a real timesaver. Using the same typeface as before, there’s a small section missing (see below) but even with the time it would take to fix that it is far quicker than doing everything by hand. Nice work!


The enclosed file is a collection of pattern letters I have used for years. Text.3dm (3.7 MB)
They are modeled after the standard sharp-faced gothic pattern lettering as shown here:

You can use Pascal’s ProjectObjects script to position these letters onto pattern surfaces if they are not flat horizontal surfaces.