Analyze This! Creating Geometry for Structural Analysis in SketchUp

Analyze This! Creating Geometry for Structural Analysis in SketchUp

SketchUp is a great software for creating 3D or 2D geometry that can then be imported into analysis software (or used for analysis right in SketchUp). You already saw a few examples for this in my book: One is the building energy analysis setup with the OpenStudio plugin that I describe in chapter 4 in the book. Another one is the lighting analysis that you can do with some rendering software (LightUp is shown as one example in Chapter 5). What I want to go over here is how you can create a structural geometry model in SketchUp that you can then export to a structural analysis application. In my case, I am using VisualAnalysis because I use it for my teaching as well. This software is available for students as a free version and allows for importing DXF models. Of course, you can use the same method with other analysis software packages as well, just make sure you are able...
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Unwrapping a double-curved shell

Unwrapping a double-curved shell

As you saw in example 4.6 in the book, unfolding a developable surface in SketchUp is very easy using the Unfold plugin. What do you do then, if you have a doubly-curved shape, such as the one shown above (from chapter 6)? Obviously, you can't just "flatten" it without distorting it (take the Mercator projection of world maps for an example of how unwrapping a sphere can lead to significant distortions). In this case, it might be a good strategy to unfold the surface in strips using the same technique described in example 4.6. This gives you the ability to cut the surface into separate parts that can then be assembled using gluing, welding etc. The image below illustrates how this looks after flattening. As you may have noticed, I also added some glue tabs using the Glue Tabs plugin (see chapter 4 for details). In order to make this work, you may need to turn on hidden geometry display (in...
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