Multi Slice

Plugin AVC_MultiSlice for AutoCAD & BricsCAD
Cutting off many solid surfaces. Creating a Miter joint. Modeling columns and walls from particleboard/plywood in 1 click.






The MultiSlice command will help you quickly create boxes, columns, partitions from sheet materials. Simply draw the cubes with the _box command in the size of future products and call the MultiSlice (MSL) command. The command will do the rest:
  • Processes a lot of solids at once
  • Selects only the surfaces you need on solid or all surfaces.
  • Selects contiguous (conjugated without kinks) surfaces to process them as a whole.
  • Thin parts of a given thickness will exfoliate from selected surfaces.
  • If necessary, make miter joints between parts (along the bisector of the angle of the joint).
Features of the program:
  • You can customize up to 9 slice styles and quickly switch between them directly from the command line.
  • You can specify the direction along which surfaces will be automatically selected.
  • The program itself can find the longest straight edge of the solid and use it as a direction for selecting surfaces.
  • Or program may ask you to choose any edge on one of the solid to set this direction.
  • Knows three methods of peeling.
  • Able to cut flat, cylindrical and more complex surfaces.
  • You can adjust the cutting sequence depending on the size of the surface.
  • You can glue all cut slices into one solid.
  • You can select multiple surfaces on multiple solids before calling a command. In this case, only these surfaces and possibly contiguous to them will cut.
  • Program can save the remaining core of the original solid ("stub"), if it is needed for the design of internal parts.
  • It can work on a cycle, requesting only new and new solid, until pressing ESC.
  • There is сonvenient settings dialog.

Plugin can work with 3D-solids only. It not works with Meshes, Surfaces and Blocks. 


Download the plugin in the AVC_MultiSlice_nnnn_nn.7z archive. You can use the program for free, but from time to time the activation window will appear. If you donate at least $10, you can disable this window.
The command is also included with A>V>C> Kit and A>V>C> Pro.







Using MultiSlice (MSL) command

Work sequence

  • Draw the cubes (solid3d) with the _box command in the size of future products. You can model more complex shapes, but don't get carried away. Holes, chamfers, dadoes, grooves and other difficulties should be done on the details after calling the MultiSlice. Coloring the faces of the original body is also not worth it - all information about the color and materials of the faces will be destroyed.
  • Select blanks. You can choose many solid at once. However, keep in mind that if you process a lot of details with one command, then the cancellation of the command (_Undo) will occur on all solids at once.
  • You can immediately select several surfaces for slicing. Use CTRL while holding down surfaces with a click or frame. Also in AutoCAD and BricsCAD there is a special mode for selecting surfaces (SUBOBJSELECTIONMODE). After calling the MSL command, you will no longer be able to set the desired surfaces manually. If you set surfaces, then only they will be processed, and solids that are selected in their entirety will not be processed.
  • Call the Multi-Peel (MSL) command
  • If nothing is selected, or no solids are found, the program will ask you to select solids.
  • If no surfaces were selected, the program will select them itself, in accordance with the settings of the current slice style.
  • If the settings specify that you need to specify the direction for selecting surfaces, then the program will ask you to click on any linear edge of any solid. After that, the program will find all surfaces parallel to this edge. For cylindrical surfaces, parallelism of the cylinder axis is checked.
  • If it is specified in the settings to select contiguous ones, the program will add all surfaces that mate with the given ones without kinks.
  • All selected surfaces will be highlighted. You will see the highlight during the thickness request.
  • Next, the program will request the thickness of the slices. The thickness request contains options for customizing the program. You can configure some of the options directly on the command line or open the settings dialog. If the settings for auto-selection of surfaces change, the program will redraw the highlighted surfaces.
  • Enter the thickness and press Enter.
  • The program will begin to cut surface after surface, solid by solid. It may not be fast. You will see a progress bar at the bottom of the program window.
  • If the "curved surface" method of peeling does not work then secant surfaces may remain in the drawing. You can use them to try to cut off part of the solid with the _slice command. And you can disable saving these surfaces.
  • If the Mite Joint is configured, the program will do this after cutting off all the surfaces of the solid. If some kind of joint does not work, then intersecting parts may remain in the drawing. Be careful, check everything.
  • The program will display statistics on the command line - how many surfaces are cut off, how many joints are made and how many have failed.
  • If you configured the cyclic work of the command, then you will again receive a request for the selection of solid. Requests for the selection of the guide rib and the selection of the slice thickness will no longer be displayed. Press ESC to end the program. All previous slices will be saved in the drawing.

Command line options

When requesting slice thickness, the program will show the configuration options on the command line. After setting the option, the program will report on the current settings and again returns to the thickness input mode.
  • SWitchStyle - quickly switch between options-set by it number. 
  • TUNE - This option open settings dialog window. 
  • COntiguous - automatically add adjacent to the selected surfaces, i.e. conjugate without kink (kink not more than 0.1 degrees between tangents)
If you did not select surfaces before calling the command, then on the command line you will see options for automatically selecting surfaces
  • All - Slice off all faces - make a shell.
  • X - Cut faces along the UCS axis X. All flat surfaces parallel to this coordinate axis will be machined. As well as cylindrical surfaces in which the axis of the cylinder is parallel to the coordinate axis.
  • Y - Similarly, along the Y axis
  • Z - Similarly, along the Z axis
  • ALOng - Cut edges (flat and cylindrical) along the longest linear edge.
  • ACross - Cut edges (flat and cylindrical) perpendicular to the longest linear edge.
  • TOEdge - Set the direction of the faces along one of the linear edges. The program will ask the user to select one of the edges on one solid. On all other solids, the program will look for surfaces located in the same direction.

Contiguous (mating) surfaces

You can configure the program to automatically add contiguous surfaces. Use this opportunity when you need to make a bent part, smoothly transitioning from a flat surface to a curved surface and vice versa. It is enough to choose one part of such a multi-surface, and the rest of the parts will be chosen by the program itself. So that solid surfaces are considered contiguous, the angle between the tangents at the junction should be less than 0.1 degrees, and the junction line should be straight. Even surfaces that do not match the specified direction will be selected if they are mated without kinks with suitable ones. Adjacent surfaces will cut as a single unit, you will get one slice. 
Keep in mind that when pairing lines and arcs “by eye” you will never achieve the correct pairing (with an accuracy of 0.1 degrees). Use the polyline transition from linear to arched segments and the transitions between arched segments when AutoCAD itself builds the exact conjugation. Draw splines again using polylines from arched segments. And then extrude this closed polyline into a solid. Or build a solid with flat surfaces, and then do chamfers (_Fillet) on the edges. Only in this way can you achieve that MultiSlice considers surfaces contiguous.
Do not use this option in conjunction with the Miter option, since the Miter Joint program does not know how to make joints on curved edges.

Methods of peeling

In detail about the three methods of peeling you can read on the A>V>C> Slice page.

MultiSlice Styles

You can configure up to 9 different presets to quickly switch between them. Each style has a number by which you can switch settings from the command line. The MultiSlice command settings are common with the ASL command, but some of the options are not used in ASL. Switching the current MultiSlice style will change the style of the A>V>C> Slice command too.

Settings dialog window

The settings dialog can be called up from the command options during the request for choosing the thickness: see the TUNE option. The plugins A>V>C> Kit and A>V>C> Pro add the MultiSlice settings section to the general AutoCAD Options dialog and to the general A>V>C> settings dialog in the BricsCAD on the "3D" tab.

Two similar commands A>V>C> Slice (ASL) and MultiSlice (MSL) have common settings. Changing the style of MultiSlice settings, you also change the settings of the A>V>C> Slice.
In the header of the settings dialog, you can see the style selection field and next to it are the buttons for adding and removing a style. The first style cannot be deleted. When adding a new style, all settings of the current style are copied.
Each item in the settings dialog has a detailed tooltip. Therefore, I will not describe in detail each element here.
If there are selected surfaces before calling the MultiSlice command, the settings for auto-selecting surfaces will be hidden.

Limitations & Known Issues

  • The MultiSlice command is designed to handle simple shapes, boxes. You can use it for workpieces with bends and rounded shapes. But you cannot make drills, holes, chamfers, fillets, dadoes, grooves, etc. All these small surfaces will also peel off, which will lead to unpredictable consequences.
  • If an error occurs during the cutting process, an undercut part will remain in the drawing. And the program will continue to work with other solids. Watch for error messages on the command line.
  • When a workpiece is more complex than boxing, it is often necessary to think in advance of the cutting sequence. The program offers only a couple of options for cutting sequences - from large to small surfaces and vice versa. This may not be enough, you can get joints in the wrong direction and other unwanted cuts. In such cases, you should refuse to use the MultiSlice command and use the commands "A>V>C> Slice" and "Miter Joint" instead.
  • All information about the color and material of individual surfaces of the workpiece will be lost. Paint not the blanks, but the details after the end of the simulation.
  • The program does not overlap parts at internal corners on the recesses of the workpiece. The "offset surface" method of peeling leaves an "open corner" in such places - a joint without overlap. And other methods of peeling do not work with such angles at all. You will have to move some surfaces or edges of the parts manually after calling the MultiSlice. Or you can cut surfaces in turn with the ASL command.
  • The Miter Joint program only works on linear joints of parts. It will not even try to make a conical joint on the arcuate edges. Overlaying one part on another may remain in these places. 
  • If errors occur in the Miter Joint program, in the drawing there will be details going inside each other. In this case, the command line will display a message about the number of such errors. Carefully review the results of the command.
  • Because "open corners" remain on the inner corners of the workpiece, the Miter Joint program also does not process such joints. And on the details coming up to the side to such a joint there will remain rather strange ledges. I don’t know how to deal with them yet.

Not processed imported solids in AutoCAD:

As a rule, solid imported from other programs, AutoCAD considers defective. Such solid not cut by _Slice command and my program too. Or are cut only in certain places in certain directions. You can check that AutoCAD rejected Solid: Call SOLIDEDIT command, select the BODY and CHECK options. Click on the solid and look at the console. Most likely, you will see the sad message «Solid is not valid». I do not know ways to restore such solid and can only recommend to redraw them again with minimal use of splines.

Not processed complex geometry solids in BricsCAD:

If you work in BricsCAD and you get messages that the program can not cut solid, then you can try to fix the solid using the DMAUDIT command. This great command helps in many cases.

Versions

2019.11
  First release
Comments