Creating smooth indentation on a complex curved surface

I am trying to create an recessed detail on smooth, but curvilinear surface. I’ve tried boolean commands and filleting the edges, but it hasn’t worked. Maybe my differences in radius was a problem? I also used the rebuild tool and moved the control points individually but the result was too severe of a difference so I tried smooth move and that didn’t have the result I was looking for. I tried moving the points but with less weight and still am not getting a satisfactory result. Any suggestions? Here’s an image of what isn’t working. Nothing has to be exact, I’m just using the line as a guide.

Hi Erin - please post a file with that surface and the curves, I’ll take a look.


leaf.3dm (325.9 KB)

Hi Erin,

Use the _Pipe command. In that instance maybe make the pipes 0.1mm and use the rounded cap option.

Make the pipes from your curves
Split the pipes in half using the main surface
Split the surface using the split pipes
Delete all the outer bits

Hope that helps?


Thanks, Andy.

It works to pipe, split, join, and fillet. But things get messy when I have the curves/pipes intersect. And I would prefer if the pipe was eliptical. So in section, the indentations on the surface look like the picture, but in trying to achieve this I run into issues at the ends of the lines/pipes with filleting. Also ideally, lines would smoothly converge like in the first image I posted and I can’t get that to happen with pipes. Moving the control points isn’t so bad if I could then just smooth everything out like using the blur tool in Photoshop…

If you boolen union the pipes first then split it gives you a tidier split and then you can fillet the edge. But in order to get something a little less semicircular - offset the curves from the surface a fraction maybe by 1/3 and when you split it will be shallower.

My suggestion would be to try to tidy up the joined pipes with fillets/split edges and blended edges before you split the surface.


Hi Erin -just a thought, but try this: Mesh the object quite densely, or set a custom render mesh in object properties. Then ApplyShutlining, radius maybe .025


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The way I would do this kind of work is with the pipe command in the T-Splines plugin… I’ve messed around a lot in the past. I have had to model a load of 1:1 coral for a client which needed to be 3D printed, cast moulded and cast many times over.

If this is a business venture then T-Splines would be really helpful for you, but I realise it’s an expensive plugin.

Thanks everyone! This is for business, but I don’t think buying the t-splines plugin is an option. Also the final object that will be produced is going to be porcelain.