Trying to find a way to edit a surface from its unrolled profile

I frequently make sculpture that are made of curved and slightly twisted plate steel. When I unroll a surface I often see a profile that is not a smooth form. Is there a way to alter the unrolled surface and then superimpose said profile onto the intial model for further trimming and so on? Thanks so much. I still very new to this but what a difference it has made.

A simple model of yours would be needed to know for sure if my suggestion would work but I’m wondering if FlowAlongSrf would help after you edit the unrolled version.

I spoke with Nathan on tech support and suggested he post here.
I asked him to post a picture but maybe he didn’t catch that.
I think what he needs is to unroll his developable surfaces and curves. Then use a history enabled command to FLow or roll them back up. Then he can tweak the parent curves to correct problems his experience tells him to fix, and see the effect it has on the 3D model.

I truly appreciate the quick response. How can I send a shot of what I’m working on to clarify?

I can’t seem to get flow along surface to work for me. It seems to only “pull” geometry from the cplane to the model in a way I can only describe as NOT WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR! Inexperience is the mother of frustration!

Does this help?

You should be able to post a file (3dm or screenshot) when writing a post here in the forum. Or send in an email to with a description of your issue and we can try to help more. The forum will reach the largest number of Rhino users.

Pisto.3dm (660.4 KB) Hope this worked!

Looks pretty smooth to me. You should check the mesh display settings in Rhino options - Mesh.

I’m still trying to send a screen shot of what I’m actually doing right now. Sorry, still really new to a lot of this

Pisto forum model.3dm (680.5 KB) Ok, the smoother of the two unrolled surfaces is one I edited in an unrolled state. The other is how the model version actually unrolls. I can’t seem to get it to wrap around the original curve without deforming. I know from experience that the smoother the overall taper, the better the actual bend. That’s what I’m after.

I think the knots in your curves are the cause of the bumpy profile once unrolled. I was unable to Fair or Rebuild your existing curves while also maintaining the form but you can use CurvatureGraph to see what I mean.

I made a sample using a spiral curve which will have a smooth curvature graph by default and proceeded as shown. Maybe this workflow will help with your piece.

UnrollSpiral.3dm (1.6 MB)

Thanks Brian! That looks like it may be much easier than the way I have been doing things. Question: If I manipulate the spiral will I be reintroducing knots?

Maybe… I think it depends on what you do so use CurvatureGraph as a guide… you’ll see the bumpiness there before unrolling.