Path shaping

A path is a purely functional object that doesn't have any fancy visual attributes. There are however times where one wants to display a more elaborate trajectory (e.g. a tunnel, rails, etc.) or generate a mesh (i.e. a shape) from a path. For that purpose, the simulator offers a path shaping functionality that can be enabled or disabled in the path shaping section of the path properties. Path shaping works by positioning a section profile at various positions along a path as illustrated in following figure:

[Path shaping concept]

Path shaping parameters are adjusted by clicking the Show path shaping dialog button:

[Path shaping dialog]

  • Path shaping enabled: enables or disables the path shaping functionality.
  • Follow full path orientation: if enabled, makes the section profile follow each Bezier point orientation. Depending on the path configuration, this might result in a highly twisted mesh. If disabled, the section profile will try to keep a smoother continuity.
  • Element maximum length: indicates the distance to be used to reproduce the section. Can be seen as a roughness factor for the generated mesh. Specifying values much smaller than the minimum Bezier-point distance does rarely make sense.
  • Adjust color: allows to adjust the mesh color.
  • Generate shape: Clicking this button will generate a shape object that is identical to the path shaping mesh. This is useful if you want to edit the generated mesh, or if you want the generated mesh to actively interact in a simulation (e.g. through collision detection or distance calculation)
  • Type: indicates what type of section profile to use. If none of the built-in types is appropriate for your application, select user defined and edit the coordinates in the coordinates window.
  • [Square, circle and user-defined section types]

  • Coordinates (x/y pairs): displays the coordinates of the section profile. If a user defined type was selected, the coordinates can be edited.
  • Last coordinate links to first: will close the section profile when selected. Not available if the section-type is not user defined.
  • Scaling factor: allows to scale the section profile (i.e. the indicated coordinates).

  • Recommended topics

  • Paths
  • Path control points and Bezier points
  • Path properties
  • Path edit mode