Unwrapping and Unfolding in SketchUp

Simul Chowdhury: Editor

In designing, unfolding is definitely a critical process that must be done attentively. Every edge should match with the design you are unfolding; else, you will never get the desired result. No matter whether you are unfolding on a paper or a metal sheet, you have to follow certain tactics to make this job done creatively.

With SketchUp, you will get the easiest and the best option to unwrap any design of your choice. The Unwrap and Flatten faces Extension is solely designed to provide you with innumerable options to do your job as an expert designer. While the basic steps remain same for both digital users and practical experts, other methods are completely different from each other. You need to unfold the shapes and keep them flat for cutting. The tool for the SketchUp user sometimes unfolds shapes automatically. The content discusses how to unwrap complex objects on SketchUp.

Face Orientation:

SketchUp has two different face sides – front and back. The front portion is universally colored in white. The unfolding process has been done by folding one face that correctly aligned with the face of the other site. It depends on the face orientation matter. For getting an accurate result, all faces should be aligned matching with each other. If the design contains different face orientations, then the unfolding process needs complex steps to go through. Proper analyzing, in this respect, is an important thing to get the best result. Matching the front orientation is important in this case. With SketchUp tool, you can different face orientation with the ‘reserve face’ option.

Developable Surfaces:

Unfolding for developable shapes is not an easy task as designers need to deal with the completed surfaces to flat the shape first. In a knowing term, objects with flat surfaces give you the freedom to unfold the design. The double-curved objects are hard to unwrap in SketchUp, and this case, a special attention must be taken. The designing suggestion tells you that always choose the part of complex objects which cannot be unfolded in a regular way. Separate that part from the rest and unfold it in a general way.

Double curved spaces and material stretch:

Designers find a great amount of difficulty to complete unfolding project of double curved objects and material stretched objects. Generally, double-curved objects are unwrapped in stripes. Those stripes are unfolded following specific rules and regulations. But if the object you are working on is made of stretchable materials, you need to adopt a different procedure to get your job done.

Material thickness:

The thickness of the material also comes in between unfolding an object in the SketchUp. The flat cut out portion must match with each other in terms of thickness and sizes when they are joined. The flattened shapes do not require much attention to be joined as they match perfectly if the cut is accurate.

Unwrapping and Unfolding in SketchUp


Many a time, designers are asked to create overlapped edges for glue tabs. In this case, you need to overcut the flattened shapes. The Flattery extension will be helpful in to get your result as you expect.

There are few things that will help you to unfold and unwrap an object on SketchUp. The topic includes many sub parts and discussing them in one document would not be possible for any one. So I am mentioning a few links that will give an in-depth idea about unfolding objects.

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