Converting 3d design to 2d printable


New member
Hi all.
I've seen you guys built rc airplanes from foam board and some people use software like solidworks to draw the airplane then somehow convert it to 2d that's printable on paper so that they can cut it on the foam board and fold it into airplane. How do you guys do it? Can you share with us, how you do the conversion? Can someone help me out with a pointer on where to start? Thank you.


Legendary member
some CAD programmes will unwrap or flatten 3D surfaces - others take surfaces and then you can stitch them together on a 2D plane.


Well-known member
From what I've seen there are a 100 different good ways to do it and probably just as many software packages you could choose. You might be asking specifically about converting a 3d solid model to 2d foam and I'm not the guy to help with that.
I found a video series on the nerdnic youtube channel ... here is part 5 which is as far as I've watched so far ... shouldn't be too hard to find the earlier videos in the series.
He has a specific way to create the 2d shapes using the adobe (I think) drawing program with some predrawn parts he shares to help you accelerate your design process.
For myself, I started drawing something up in inkscape (also 2d, similar features to the adobe software.) I found some detailed balsa plans of the aircraft I wanted to create, so I grabbed the bitmap of those plans and plunked them into inkscape (and resized it) so I could 'simply' draw over top. I cheated off the FT simple storch plans to come up with the wing structure and detail. Now I have the wings mostly done (with one test cut) and the tail surfaces. I've kind of stalled out on the fuselage trying to decide the best way to proceed. I'd like to capture some of the curvature, but that's where things get a bit trickier. I may need to take a wild stab at it, cut it out, and iterate from there.
I have a stack of 10 sheets of dollar tree foam sitting here, so I can afford to make a few mistakes and redos. We'll see, it's a slow process with everything else going on in life ... there's never enough hobby time!