New Paper Solid Program

A new program titled “Paper Solid” has been added to the RockWorks / Solid sub-menu (Figure 1).

Figure 1.  Paper Solid Location within RockWorks Menu Hierarchy

This program is used to create images that can be cut, folded, and glued to create three-dimensional paper models.  The images within Figure 2 depict; (A) An index diagram showing how RockWorks rotates and rescales images to the create final raster image. (B) The final raster image (note tabs and fold-lines).  (C) The printout of a raster image after cutting and folding.  (D) A final glued model.

Figure 2. How Paper Models are Created

The Paper Solid menu input (Figure 3) consists of an existing solid, an optional image to plot at the top of the model, and dimensioning information.

Figure 3.  Screenshot of Paper Solid Menu (Numbered items described below.)

1. The primary input consists of a solid model that represents geochemistry, geophysics, geotechnical properties, lithology, stratigraphy, etc.

2. The output consists of one or more PNG (Portable Network Graphics) images.  The program will load these output files into the default PNG viewer (e.g., the Windows Paint program).  It is up to the user to print these files for subsequent cutting, folding, and gluing.  When printed on 8.5 x 11” paper, a typical model measures approximately 3.5” wide x 1.5” high.  Note that additional annotation and features may be added to these images via an image editor before they are printed.

3. If desired, the panel that represents the top of the model can be replaced within an image such as an airphoto, map, or satellite image (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Paper Model Without and With Airphoto

4. The image that is to be positioned at the top of the model can be a PNG, JPEG, BMP, WMF, EMF, etc. file.

5. The Automatic option will create a model representing the entire designated solid as a single raster file.

6. The Custom option can be used to specify a subset of the input solid.  This is useful when examining a zone of interest (e.g., a contamination plume).

7. The Vertical Exaggeration setting will expand or reduce the height of the final model.  For example, a Vertical Exaggeration of 2.0 will create a model (Figure 5) that is twice as high as the unexaggerated model while a Vertical Exaggeration of 0.5 will create a model that is half the height as the unexaggerated model.

Figure 5.  Lithology Model Plotted at 2X Vertical Exaggeration

8. The Tab Size refers to the height of the glue tabs.  It may be necessary to adjust this height (default = 300 pixels) if the height of the model is small when compared with the lateral extents of the model.

9. If selected, the Split Model Into Octants option will create eight separate images/models that can be arranged to create a single model (see below) with easy-to-use HIGARI (Human Intelligence Grasp And Reposition Interactivity) for cutaway views of the model interior (Figure 6).

Figure 6.  Single Solid Split into Octants for Cutaway Viewing

10. When assembling the finished octants into a single model, small labels can be plotted in the center of the top panel to assist in determining where to place the octants.  Examples include “SWB” (Southwest Base) and “NET” (Northeast Top).

11. The Map Options will display the Grid->Contours sub-menu (Figure 7) that is used in many other RockWorks programs (see below).  When plotting contours, it is important to note that a Custom Color Table be used.  Otherwise, the colors used for each panel will be automatically scaled based on the minimum and maximum values within that panel.

Figure 7.  Map Options Sub-Menu

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Use glossy paper for optimal results (Figure 8).
Figure 8.  Glossy Paper versus Inexpensive Photocopier Paper
  • Assembled octant-based models can measure approximately 7” wide x 3” high when plotted on 8.5” x 11” paper.  When the individual octants are plotted on larger printers (e.g., color plotters) the theoretical limit is approximately 48” wide x 10” high although creative efforts will be necessary to prevent the model from collapsing (e.g., printing the panels onto rigid posterboard).
  • Cutting, folding, and gluing the models is a tedious process and should be delegated to children stuck at home during the COVID lockdown or unsuspecting undergraduates.