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Nets of 3D Shapes


FabLab ModelMaker is an easy 3D modeling software to make NETS of 3D Shapes. NETS of 3D Shapes are what you get when you take 3D shapes like a cube, a cone or a prism, then unfold the shape and flatten it out. The flattened shape, or NET, can then be copied, folded and glued to make the original 3D shape.


NETS of Shapes would be almost impossible to make into a physical 3D model, so tabs are added to the faces of each net to help stick them together to make the physical model.

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"LOVING this software, the ease of use  AND the potential!"


In FabLab ModelMaker the NETS of 3D Shapes can be displayed and then printed out to make 3D paper models. NETS can be rotated and moved to better fit the paper and different NET permutations can be displayed for shapes like the Tetrahedron, Hexahedron, Octahedron and Cuboid shapes.


All the shape nets can be printed onto paper or card, cut, folded and glued to make 3D paper models. A Saturn V rocket can be made from cylinder shapes for example, or a new package for after dinner mints could be made from cuboid shapes. Here are a couple of examples of the Nets of shapes available in FabLab ModelMaker.





3D Shape Nets


All the nets in FabLab ModelMaker can be rotated, scaled, duplicated and moved around to best fit the paper, here are some examples of the 3D Shape NETS you can print.



Cuboid Net


...another Cuboid Net


more Cuboid Nets can be generated.


Regular Prism Net


Irregular Prism Net


Cone Net


Frustum of Cone Net



     Cylinder Net

Frustum of Pyramid Net


Pyramid Net





Wedge Net




Solid of Rotation Net



Sphere Net


Icosahedron Net

Dodecahedron Net









Octahedron Net




More Octahedron Nets






Tetrahedron Net





      Tetrahedron Net

Transition Piece Net


3D Net Modeling


Once the class has learned how to draw a cube with tabs, the design process can be advanced by displaying the NET or ‘development’. The NET of the cube will appear and you can move it into position, rotate it and place it using the mouse.  Drawing the 3D shape, viewing and rotating it and then displaying its NET completes the BASIC cycle which applies to all shapes.

One can then move on to making more complicated models by combining 3D shapes together to form new shapes. Take this 3D model of a church, the model was made by drawing, manipulating and combining a cube, a square based pyramid, and a pentagonal prism, to look like the church. The faces of all the 3D shapes in the model were then rendered with images imported in to the software.


The Nets of the shapes in the model, cube net, prism net and pyramid net were printed out individually, then cut, folded and glued to produce the real 3D model. Tabs is really good at this, it is an excellent educational software to have in the school kitbag for bringing easy 3D modeling to all the kids in the classroom!






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