I have a plot

g = RevolutionPlot3D[{Sin[t], t}, {t, 0, π}, {θ, -π, π + 3 π/4}];

Is it possible to extract the generatrices (generating curves) from g?

Sometimes, I want to concentrate on plotting the surface in different ways, and what I need is the all the generating curves. Can I obtain these curves from g?.

For example, this is what I need (the data could be plot by Line /@ curves and could be exported elsewhere).

curves = Table[RotationMatrix[θ, {0, 0, 1}]. {Sin[t], 0, t},
               {θ, 0, 2π, .3}, {t, 0, π, .3}];

The example result, curves, is what I want, but I obtain that by re-think about generating method and {Sin[t], 0, t}. Seems defining g was a waste of time.

But in the plot of g, such lines/meshes are really shown by Mathematica, so I would like to extract them.

  • $\begingroup$ Pardon me, but what is a "mother line" in this context? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 8:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @xzczd okay, so what is a generatrix? The usual resources come up empty. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 9:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mr.Wizard Well, I didn't expect it's so hard to find a detailed explanation for this word……Dictionaries (for example, this: thefreedictionary.com/generatrix) do include it though. This word can be found in the wiki page of cone. $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 9:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Imo OP wants to extract mesh, especially vertical part, which is {Sin[z],0,0} But the latter explanation about generating different surfaces is not clear to me. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @xzczd Ha! "Learning Chinese by induction" :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:25

1 Answer 1


You can see them with:

g2 = RevolutionPlot3D[{Sin[t], t}, {t, 0, π}, {θ, -π, π + 3 π/4}, 
                       PlotStyle -> None, Mesh -> {0, 10}, BoundaryStyle -> None]

enter image description here

And since you want coordinates aswell, then:

Cases[ Normal@g2, _Line, \[Infinity]]
{Line[{<<185>>}], Line[{<<85>>}], Line[{<<85>>}], Line[{<<85>>}], 
 Line[{<<85>>}], Line[{<<73>>}], Line[{<<73>>}], Line[{<<73>>}], 
 Line[{<<73>>}], Line[{<<73>>}], <<1>>}
  • $\begingroup$ nice! I think this is what I need, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – SEuser2013
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ But I should check the order of the lines. Let me see. $\endgroup$
    – SEuser2013
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ Cases[Normal@g2, _Line, \[Infinity]] do you know the sort method used in this result, I found one thing is that Cases[Normal@g2, _Line, \[Infinity]][[1]] looks like two lines(joined). $\endgroup$
    – SEuser2013
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ @SEuser2013 p.s it is boundary line so just add BoundaryStyle->None to g2. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ well, Let's set mesh->{0,100}. can we let this rotate smoothly from [0,2Pi]· Manipulate[Graphics3D[Cases[Normal@g2,_Line,\[Infinity]][[x]],PlotRange->5],{x,1,100,1}] $\endgroup$
    – SEuser2013
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 10:49

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