Paper card model from MoI 3D model?

 From:  Michael Gibson
2392.2 In reply to 2392.1 
Hi Mark, congratulations on your baby boy, and thanks very much for your MoI order!

> (any chance of a plugin API for MoI Michael?)

Yes, definitely in the future. But the main problem is that it tends to be a time consuming thing to both document and to also give support and help to programmers who are using such an API. So it tends to involve quite a lot more work than just creating the API itself...

> Can nurbs surfaces be unfolded or only polygonal meshes?

Only certain kinds of NURBS surfaces can be unfolded directly - those are ones called "developable surfaces", which basically only have curvature in one direction and have another direction straight, like a cone is one example. Otherwise something that has double direction curvature in it (like a sphere for example) cannot be unrolled into a flat medium without stretching being involved.

Polygonal meshes are built of flat faceted parts, so they avoid any issues with double curvature, it tends to make them more inherently easier to unfold.

So most likely you will want to export your model data to a polygon file format (STL or OBJ format will be most common for this) and then have the polygon data be unfolded.

One tool that you may want to check out is Lamina Design:

It is a stand-alone program that is able to take in .stl or .obj polygonal files and will produce patterns you can print out and cut out from your card stock to assemble your model.

- Michael