Planar surfaces from non planar surfaces for Digital Fabrication


I would like to ask for your help in the approach that I should follow regarding Digital Fabrication.

I want to built this shape using laser cutting. Now, I am using lunchbox for the quad paneling but the panels are not planar so I wanted to know which approach should I follow to make this surfaces planar since I want to fabricate them.

Thank you for your answers

Could you please provide your grasshopper file with geometry internalized?
Also some more information would be very useful.
for example:

  • What scale is this?
  • what material are you using for fabrication?
  • how planar do you expect the panels to be?

Simplest solution is to triangulate your panels. if you are fabricating with a flexible material you could simply unroll strips of quads and allow to fold across the diagonal.

this is an option

I’ve used OpenNest to unroll parts, you could also do the nesting with this plugin (17.5 KB)


Thank you very much for your reply.

I was thinking also on unrolling but my idea is to use a more rigid material like a mdf of 3mm which is not that flexible. Is an small scale model 70cm x 30cm and I don’t know how planar can my surfaces be or if it is possible to get completely planar surfaces? The thing is that I do not understand very well the implications of not using planar surfaces for fabrication.

I did before a model using triangular panels and now I wanted to try with quad panels to understand better about the planarity of surfaces and fabrication. (10.2 KB)

Dividing along the ruling directions gives twisted strips, that need to be stretched or triangulated to unroll.

For planar quad panels on a doubly curved surface, your meshing directions should follow the principal curvatures. For a saddle it looks like this:


Thank you very much for your reply.

This is exactly what I was looking for. I checked the information of the other post and the definition, and it helped me a lot. This is the result that I got.

I have also a new question and I hope you can help me. Since the meshing direction should follow the principal curvatures, in the definition for the saddle the meshing direction is following exactly the principal curvature?

I am using the same definition for my quad paneling but I don’t know if I am getting the principal curvatures or just an approximation or how can I get the principal curvatures for the meshing directions?

Again thank you very much for your reply it was a very informative explanation