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Create Full 3D Models

1. Introduction

This tutorial will demonstrate how to import surfaces from a DXF file, divide the external volume into material regions and run the analysis.

2. Import DXF

Import Model Icon Select: Geometry > Import/Export > Import Geometry.

Under the current working Tutorial folder tutorials\Create 3D Model with DXF

Open the file Three surfaces.dxf.

Select all three surfaces in the Filter Entities dialog by clicking the Three Surfaces.dfx dropdown option.

Although the three layers are selected, they have not yet been added to the project. To do so, select the right arrow. Then Press Next.

You should see the following:

Import Geometry icon

Select Post Processing to see the options for simplification and geometry repair. For this tutorial, we're okay with the imported geometry so select Done to import the file Three surfaces.dxf.

You will see the model as shown below.

Model Tiled View

The top surface represents the ground surface, and the two lower surfaces represent the boundaries of a weak layer. Note that the two lower surfaces are slightly rotated versions of the ground surface.

3. External Volume

Select: Geometry > Create External Box from the drop down menu. You can use the default coordinates, or enter the following coordinates in the dialog, and select OK.

Create External Dialog

First Corner-375-310-500
Second Corner200275200

Note: The screen shots and layer order in visibility tree from this point onwards will be based on the default coordinates used for the external volume. If you want to use the entered values of the external volume coordinates, make sure to follow the steps with special attention on the order of the layers.

You should see the following:

Model geometry in 2x2 View

Notice that the External box we have created is slightly smaller than the extent of the 3 surfaces we have imported. This is a very important point to remember. In general, surfaces should extend OUTSIDE the initial external box, to ensure correct geometry intersection in subsequent steps.

4. Divide All Geometry

Square and Circle Intersecting Icon Select: Geometry > 3D Boolean > Divide All Geometry.

A Divide All Parameters window will ask for quality. Set the Quality to Default and press OK.

The three surfaces will be intersected with the External Box and you should see the following:

Three Surfaces intersected with the External Box Model View

The Divide All operation has created FOUR separate volume regions by the intersection of the three surfaces with the External box.

Change the name of each entity to the following:

External 1_1 to top layer,

External 1_2 to 2nd layer,

and continue labelling each entity to corresponding names.

Depending on whether you have used default values for external volume, the layer names and order may differ. It is important to check the layers by clicking on them and seeing the highlighted section of the model.

After labelling your model should look similar to the following:

Model after labelling

5. Excavate

The upper volume needs to be excavated since this is the region above the ground surface. In the visibility pane, select the top layer of the model. In the Properties pane, change the Role to Construction.

Image of model

The upper volume has been excavated. You should see the following:

Upper Volume Excavated Model View

6. Define Materials

Define Materials Icon Select: Materials > Define Materials

Change the name of Material 1 to rock and enter Unit Weight = 19, Cohesion = 400, Phi = 30.

Rock Material Properties dialog

Change the name of Material 2 to weak layer and enter Unit Weight = 19, Cohesion = 50, Phi = 25.

Weak Layer Properties dialog

Select OK.


In the Visibility pane, select the 3rd layer entity. This is the volume between the lower two surfaces, to which we will assign the “weak layer” material properties.

The model should look as follows.

3rd Layer as Weak Layer Model

7. Slip Search Options

Slip Surface Icon Select: Surfaces > Slip Surface Options

We will use the default settings but change the Search Method to Particle Swarm Search.

Slip Surface Options Dialog

Select OK.

8. Compute

Save the model.

Calculator Icon Select: Analysis > Compute

9. Results

Resutls Tab Select the Results workflow tab

Turn on the Show Contours Contoured Model View option to contour the data on the Global Minimum slip surface.

You should see the following results under Base Normal Stress. The Bishop FS and Janbu FS are shown in the dropdown menu.

The weak layer has been selected in the Visibility pane to highlight it (Global Min. Bishop as shown).
highlighted weak layer in model

Change the contour Data type to Base Cohesion.

contour data with base cohesion selected


For this model, note that the Global Minimum Surface is contacting the edges of the External volume. This suggests that the position of the External Volume is a constraint on the location of the critical slip surface.

When this occurs, you should evaluate the results to determine if a larger external volume or material surface extents are required.


For additional exercise, try the multiple number of failures for particle swarm search method by selecting Surfaces > slip options. More information on MMO method is provided in our online help.

This concludes the Create a Full 3D model with DXF Surfaces.

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