Straightening a 3D plate with only a curve in one dimensional

A jobber asked me if it would be possible to take a curved plate that had boolean subtractions made to it … and then flatten the curved part to a plane surface in CAD such that the stretching of the holes would enlarge/shrink such that that part could be milled with a 2D router.

IE: A 1/4" plate of flat piece of steel with holes milled such that when the plate is rolled into part of a cylinder, a round or square rod could be inserted though it with a relatively good fit.

So I would model the final curved plate first, use boolean subtraction to make holes for the future insert … then straighten the plate out to provide geometry for cutting with a 2D router.


All comments welcome!

Hello- here’s what I think I’d try, assuming the 3d shape is developable…

Extract a copy of the outer face of the 3d shape.
FlowAlongSrf the plate from the extracted face to the unrolled face.

UnrollPlate.3dm (512.0 KB)


I’ve done tons of this for sheet metal fab.
One ‘correct’ way:
Model your solid cylinder, yes holes too, then offset a centerline surface.

So for 1/4" plate, offset one of the outer surfaces inwards 1/8".

Then unrollsrf on this centerline surf that has all holes in it.

Prep for laser cut and roll and it will be dead on after rolling with correct radius. Make sure your cylinder seam doesn’t run through any of your holes. Add any extra rolling tab you think you need.
run your dims on the unrolled surf and curve length of centerline to confirm they match.