Solid Modeling Tools - Extruded Products

Solid Modeling Tools - Extruded Products

Solid Modeling Tools - Extruded Products

The Solid Modeling Tools interface allows you to work with the product builders to create custom products. Using these tools, you can work within the drawing to create 3D solids of parts and then save them back as manufacturable products.

When working with the Extruded Product Builder, it is best practice first to create a cross-section drawing of the product(s) you wish to create. After you’ve created the section(s), setup, and assign smart layers to the parts, it is recommended to create smart layers for each different part of the section.

Once the section has been set up with smart layers assigned, you will need to draw the construction path for the product to follow. This construction path must be a polyline. The polyline can be any length or shape. By default, the section will use the furthest left point of a vertical entity and the bottom-most point of any extruded entity for the reference point for following the construction path. If no vertical entities exist, it will reference the bottom-most and furthest left point of an extruded entity (see the image below). When drawing the construction path, it is best to be as close to 0,0,0 as possible. The closer you are to the drawing origin, the more accurate the analyzations will be.


After the construction path has been drawn, you can begin creating an extruded product. To start, right-click in the Tree View of the Solid Modeling Tools window and select “Add.” At the following window, enter a name for the product and select “Extruded Product Starter” from the Product Type list.


After clicking OK to add the new product, you will be prompted to choose the construction path in the drawing.

Once the construction path has been selected, the product will be added to the tree view. Each product will be broken down into the following categories: Construction Path, Extruded Parts, Vertical Parts, and Supplemental Parts.


  1. Construction Path – Clicking on the Construction Path category will highlight the construction path in the drawing. Right Clicking will allow you to reverse the path’s direction or replace the path with a different polyline. The path can also be modified using AutoCAD commands. The path can be stretched, have vertices added, or have segments converted to arcs. Any time a construction path is altered, it will force a redraw of the product. Construction paths are also critical for being able to use the solid model tools. The section drawing is linked to the construction path. If the path is deleted, the product can no longer be worked on using the solid model tools.
  2. Extruded Parts – Selecting the Extruded Parts category and right-clicking will allow you to add the extruded parts from the section drawing. Although the entire section can be selected at this stage, it is recommended only to choose the extruded parts. This will ensure that if extruded parts reside within a vertical entity that they will not be treated as a cutout. Once the extruded parts have been selected, they will be drawn and will be displayed under the Extruded Parts list. Each part can have additional modifications made by selecting the part, right-clicking, and selecting “Edit.”
  3. Vertical Parts – Selecting the Vertical Parts category and right-clicking will allow you to add the vertical parts from the section drawing. Once the vertical parts have been selected, they will be drawn and will be displayed under the Vertical Parts list. As with the extruded parts, modifications can be made to each part by selecting the part, right-clicking, and selecting “Edit.”
  4. Supplemental Parts – Supplemental parts are additional solid entities that are separate from the section drawing. Supplemental parts can be added by selecting the category, right-clicking, and selecting “Add.” When adding a supplemental part, you will be prompted to choose the solid in the drawing (the solid can be moved and rotated to the correct location before being added to the product). Once a part is selected, a window will be displayed that will allow you to name the part and choose the material to be used. Once the operation is complete, the part(s) will be displayed under the Supplemental Parts list.

The categories under the product are organized in a way that, when they are followed from top to bottom, the more stable the process will be. Modifications to the construction path and extruded parts will force a redraw of the product. Modifications that were made to the vertical entities before a change to the path or extruded parts can result in those modifications being reverted to their original state. The same can happen for supplemental parts; a redraw of the product can disassociate the parts.

Further modifications can be made to an extruded product by using the Extruded Tools.


The Extruded Products section contains commands that pertain to the product in its entirety.

  1. Edit Product – Allows you to edit the selected product. You can edit the name, add start and end angles, or add horizontal or vertical base point offsets.
  2. Remove Product – Allows you to delete the selected product.
  3. Move Product – Allows you to move the product in the drawing.
  4. New Extruded Product Starter – Allows you to add a new product starter.
  5. Extruded Product from Existing Session – Allows you to continue to make edits to a product after the tools have been closed.
  6. Smart Layer Manager – Opens the Smart Layer Manager interface.
  7. Solid Model Properties Edit All Builder Properties – Opens the Solid Model Properties interface.
  8. Unhide Product – Unhides all hidden extruded products.
  9. Hide Product – Hides the selected product.

The Vertical Entities section contains commands that pertain to the vertical entities.

  1. Edit Vertical Parent Entity – Allows you to edit the overall smart layer properties for the selected vertical entity.
  2. Remove Vertical Entity from Array – Allows you to delete selected vertical entities.
  3. Hide Part – Allows you to hide a vertical entity.
  4. Rotate Vertical Entity – Allows you to rotate a vertical entity by entering in a rotation angle.
  5. Select an Alternate Profile – Allows you to change the profile of an existing vertical entity with a new 2D polyline profile.
  6. Move Vertical Entity in 3D Space – Allows you to move a vertical entity to any point in the drawing with a selected base point.
  7. Move Vertical Entity Along Path – Allows you to move a vertical entity to another point along the construction path (the base point will always be on the left side of the part).
  8. Move Vertical Entity Along Path from Selected Base Point – Allows you to move a vertical entity to another point along the construction path with a selected base point.
  9. Copy Vertical Entity in 3D Space – Allows you to copy a vertical entity to any point in the drawing with a chosen base point.
  10. Copy Vertical Entity Along Path – Allows you to copy a vertical entity to another point along the construction path (the base point will always be on the left side of the part).
  11. Copy Vertical Entity Along Path from Selected Base Point – Allows you to copy a vertical entity to another point along the construction path with a selected base point.

The Extruded Entities Section contains commands that pertain to the extruded entities.

  1. Edit Extruded Parent Entity – Allows you to edit the overall smart layer properties for the selected extruded entity.
  2. Remove Extruded Entity Set – Allows you to delete an extruded entity set (does not remove individual extruded entities).
  3. Hide Part – Allows you to hide an extruded entity.
  4. Stretch and Lock Extruded Entity – Allows you to stretch an extruded entity face and lock it from being restored if a redraw of the product occurs.
  5. Stretch Extruded Entity – Allows you to stretch an extruded entity face. If a redraw of the product occurs, the stretched part will be reverted to its original state.
  6. Insert Extruded Entity Joint – Allows you to insert a joint to the selected entities at a point along the construction path.
  7. Move Extruded Entity Joint – Allows you to move a joint within the selected entities to a point along the construction path.
  8. Remove Extruded Entity Joint – Allows you to delete a joint within the selected entities.
  9. Lock Extruded Entity – Allows you to simply lock an extruded entity so it will be unaffected if a redraw of the product occurs.

Similar to the order of the categories in the tree view, the order of the sections in the extruded tools is organized in a way that when they are followed from top to bottom, the more stable the process will be.

Once a product has been modified and is complete, the product can be saved. In the tree view, if the main Products category is selected, right-clicking will allow you to save all the checked products as one product. By selecting an individual product and right-clicking, you will be allowed to save just the selected product. After choosing to save, you will be prompted to save the drawing before analyzation. Following that, you will be prompted to decide how the product will be saved in Microvellum. The save options are:

  1. Save to Current Project and Draw in Current Drawing – This option saves the product to the database for the current project and requires you to pick a point to place the product inside the current drawing.
  2. Save to Current Project – This option only saves the product to the database for the current project. No product will be drawn.
  3. Save to Current Project and Process to Work Order – This option, again, only saves the product to the database for the current project. Once the product has been saved to the project, it will activate the work order process, allowing you to manufacture the product quickly. No product will be drawn.
  4. Save to Selected Project – This option allows you to save the product to a room in a project. Some companies may have a specific individual who will only work on these custom products. A unique job or drawing template may be created to help with making the custom products quicker. Then, instead of working within a project, the individual can save the product to the specific project and room where another individual can create the 2D drawings.
  5. Save to Current Library – This option allows you to save this product to the library for future use.

When a product has been analyzed and placed, it is recommended to review the product for any part exceptions (parts drawn as blocks), they will be drawn using the color that was specified in the Solid Analyzation tab of the Toolbox Setup>Options. Use Part Properties or Edit Design Data to correct any issues


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