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I am trying to generate thick wireframe meshes that do not appear so pointy. The modifier generates faces at acute angles (see cross sections below) where I am trying to get square cross-sections. Ideally the faces would be parallel with the faces of the original mesh, where possible.

Here is an image demonstrating what I am trying to achieve (bottom row) compared with what the wireframe modifier supplies (top row).

Examples of wireframes and their cross-sections

Is there any way to do this procedurally? (And is there any hope of improved customization of the wireframe modifier?)

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Some dirty ways

1) Inset faces

Here's a possible workaround based on Inset faces (Individually), Dissolve edges and Extrude (Vertex normals) . It won't give you perfect results, but maybe can help.

First step is select all, than press I twice and tune the inset amount.

enter image description here

Switch to vertex selection and invert selection. Store the selection in a vertex group. Invert again and delete the faces. Than select the items from previously created vertex group and run Dissolve Edges command.

enter image description here

At this point we should have obtain a pletora of n-gons, most of them will probably be non flat and have other issues, but they should approximate our mesh not too badly.

Extrude the Region along Vertex Normals by an amount that may do the section look like if it is a square (or a rectangle) and you'll get the illusion of a squared section wireframe.

Result:

enter image description here

This method works best when there is a smooth transition in surface's curvature. For the 90° degrees angles of the image below it was needed to fix the n-gons (with Split Non Planar Faces command) as their non-planar nature was too pronounced:

enter image description here enter image description here

Notice how the polygon below the gizmo is clearly distorted.


2) Bevel Wireframe modifier

Another possible workaround could be to take advance of the wireframe modifier:

Add and apply a Wireframe modifier:

enter image description here

Select one vertex of the four that marks each hole and then extend selection to all the vertices that has the same amount of connecting edges

![enter image description here

Invert selection and then Bevel the edges connected by the freshly selected vertices

enter image description here

Invert face selection, delete the faces and then delete one of the two resulting mesh pieces too.

enter image description here

Finish by extruding the faces with a Solidify modifier with an appropriate value of Thickness (to match the beveled edge lenght).

Final result:

enter image description here

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Wireframe using Inset - Solidify

Instructions:

1) Start with a Cube

2) Switch to Edit Mode. Tap the "I" key twice. Drag the Mouse to adjust the inset. Tap the Left mouse button when done. If you make a mistake or want to change it tap Ctrl-Z to undo.

3) In Edit Mode, hit the Del key. Click on "Faces"

4) Hit the "Tab" key to exit Edit mode. Click on the Wrench Icon (Add Modifier) in the right hand menu then click on "Solidify"

  • Set "Offset" to 0
  • Check "Even Thickness"

    Adjust "Thickness" until the edges merge.

    (Zooming in (middle mouse wheel) before adjusting the thickness will help you better see what's happening and to adjust accordingly)

    Click "Apply"

    (Depending on the amount of "Inset" applied, the amount of Thickness necessary will vary.)

5) The last thing you may want to do is, in "Edit" mode, hit "W" and select "Remove Doubles". If nothing changes, adjust the "Merge Distance" setting in the left hand menu you can adjust until something does.

(If you don't see the left hand menu, hit "T" 
before you hit "W"). 

(You'll see the "something" in the menu options 
top right hand side.  For this examplem "Merge
Distance was "0.010", and "24" was the amount of
Doubles removed.)

When you're done, hit "T" to hide the "Transform"
menu.

Then, hit Tab to exit the "Edit" mode

6) Done.

I've looked at TopMod, OpenScad, and Blender. There doesn't seem to be a simple straightforward way to do what you're asking. At least not in the programs I've looked at (could afford). Maybe in a higher end software package. Nothing I looked at, or tried, provided a simple easy way to get to Squared Off edges. They ALL involved some degree of triangulation. Either that OR a LOT of work to try to get Squared Off and the more complex the model, the more labor intensive the process.

"Dirty ways" may be your best bet.

Blender, TopMod, OpenSCAD - Wireframes

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