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# Plot polygonal faces on 3D plots

## Plot polygonal faces on 3D plots

I am a structural engineer of 20 years working in the bridge and heavy construction field.  I create designs for platforms, shoring towers, lifting devices, formwork, crane foundations, etc.  Pretty much anything the field needs to do complex structural work.  My design calculations need to be simple and easy to follow by other engineers but I do not need to take months to get them to a level of pristine publishable quality.  Although I create drawings that regular field crews must be able to understand for their own safety, calculations only get circulated amongst other engineers and on rare occasions to non-technical managers and staff.

2. What version of Mathcad are you currently running?

Prime 8

3. Describe the problem you are trying to solve. Please include detailed documentation such as screenshots, images or video.

My fantastic idea is...

I would like to display polygons to the 3D plot.  The polygons can represent faces of some 3D object.  polygons can be stored as 3D points in an array.  The last item in the array, if not a point, can be an RGB value for the face (or RGBA with an Alpha value for transparency).  These faces could be in turn stored in a larger array so that only one item needs to be passed to the plot.   The points for a polygon face would need to be coplanar, but possibly there may be a way to 'loft' a seemingly curved surface by defining two control faces (like control points on a spline).

Next level:  Maybe instead of only faces, add other elements like 2D shapes, 3D solids and line elements.  Each point array can start with a tag that designates what the following points and parameters are trying to construct, like "circle", "box", "face", "polyline", "cone", "mesh", "loft", "revolve", "path", etc.  The user would need to know that elements are available and what parameters are required.  This type of storing 3D data may need its own special transformation functions to handle the appropriate 3d points and scalar parameters only and not tags and other non-geometry parameters.  The plot and transformation functions should work on any level of "sub-arraying" so that you can plot or manipulate items as a whole set or at different levels.  That's like having a model of a human body and being able to manipulate the fingers, the whole arm or the whole body. (ok, pull it back now;)

The particular case I would use this on:

I am modeling the behavior of a rectangular barge that is not evenly loaded.  I want to display the results as a 3D object so that I can see the barge, tipping towards the heavily loaded side, and partially extending through a horizonal rectangular face representing the water.  Seeing a graphic like this would help to verify the results and to communicate a well and poorly loaded barge.

I could easily have a master set of points that I can apply matrix transformations for rotations and translations.  Then I could have another array where I have lists of point indices that will map the transformed points into all my desired face arrays.  This could all be handled in programs on included worksheets so that it doesn't have to print with my main calculations pages.  I would have one worksheet that handles all the common 3D calculations and one that specifically stores a particular model that I want to work with (like a barge, concrete or steel girder, a crane, a building generator, a generic 3D object generator, etc.)

4. What is the use case for your organization?

We would use this on several common engineering problem worksheets.  Having a 3D visual representing  a construction solution is extremely valuable in communicating to non-engineering stakeholders (construction managers, superintendents, safety department, field crews).