3D Shape Calculators

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Geometry is a magnificent realm where shapes and figures form the fabric of the universe. While 2D shapes are the bedrock of geometry, 3D shapes take us on a journey beyond the flat plane into the domain of depth and volume. In this tutorial, we explore the world of 3D shapes, understand their characteristics, and see how they're connected to the 2D shapes you can calculate using our suite of 2D shape calculators and the 3D shape calculators on this page. You can also access our Math Tutorials and Math Calculators from the quick links below.

3D shapes, or three-dimensional shapes, are geometric figures that have length, width, and depth. Unlike 2D shapes, which are flat and have only two dimensions, 3D shapes occupy space and have volume. Our suite of 3D shape calculators is designed to make learning and problem-solving in geometry both fun and accessible. So go ahead, explore, and let the shapes guide your way!


In mathematical terms, a 3D shape, or a three-dimensional shape, is a geometric object that has length, width, and depth. It occupies space and has volume. Here's a more detailed description:

  1. Three Dimensions: Unlike 2D shapes, which have two dimensions (length and width), 3D shapes have three dimensions: length, width, and depth (or height). These dimensions can also be referred to as the x, y, and z axes in a Cartesian coordinate system.
  2. Volume and Surface Area: Two fundamental properties of 3D shapes are volume and surface area. Volume is a measure of the space occupied by the shape, while surface area is the total area of all the surfaces that make up the shape.
  3. Faces, Edges, and Vertices: 3D shapes have faces, which are the flat surfaces that bound them; edges, which are the line segments where two faces meet; and vertices, which are the points where three or more edges meet.
  4. Types of 3D Shapes: There are various types of 3D shapes, including:
    1. Polyhedra, such as cubes, prisms, and pyramids, which are made up of flat polygonal faces.
    2. Solids of Revolution, such as spheres, cylinders, and cones, which are formed by rotating a 2D shape around an axis.
    3. Toroids, like the donut-shaped torus, formed by revolving a circle in three-dimensional space around an axis that is coplanar with the circle.
  5. Non-Euclidean Geometry: While Euclidean geometry is used to describe common 3D shapes, non-Euclidean geometry, such as hyperbolic or elliptic geometry, deals with shapes in curved spaces, which can be considered as 3D shapes in a non-flat geometric space.
  6. Representation: 3D shapes can be represented algebraically using equations, or geometrically through drawings and models. They can also be analyzed using various mathematical tools such as vectors, matrices, and calculus.

In short, a 3D shape in mathematical terms is a geometric object that extends in three dimensions, has volume, and is defined by its faces, edges, and vertices. It occupies space and can have various configurations depending on its dimensions and the properties of its bounding surfaces. Let's now look at some common 3D shapes and their properties (the properties of 3D shapes allow us to calculate volume, surface area and other related properties).

Common 3D Shapes and Their Properties

  1. Cube: A cube is a 3D shape with six equal square faces.
    Volume = side³
    Surface Area = 6 × side²
  2. Sphere: A sphere is a perfectly round 3D shape, where all points on the surface are equidistant from the center.
    Volume = (4/3) × π × radius³
    Surface Area = 4 × π × radius²
  3. Cylinder: A cylinder has two parallel circular bases and a curved surface connecting them.
    Volume = π × radius² × height
    Surface Area = 2 × π × radius × (radius + height)
  4. Cone: A cone has a circular base and a pointed top, with a curved surface connecting them.
    Volume = (1/3) × π × radius² × height
    Surface Area = π × radius × (radius + slant height)
  5. Pyramid: A pyramid has a polygonal base and triangular faces that meet at a common vertex.
    Volume = (1/3) × area of base × height
    Surface Area = (1/2) × perimeter of base × slant height + area of base

Relationship Between 2D and 3D Shapes

2D shapes are often the building blocks of 3D shapes. For example, a cube is made up of six squares, and a cylinder is formed by two circles and a rectangle. Understanding 2D shapes and their properties is fundamental to grasping the complexities of 3D shapes. Our suite of 2D shape calculators can help you understand and work with the 2D components of 3D shapes.

Why Understanding 3D Shapes Matters

3D shapes are integral to the world around us. From architecture to product design, knowing the properties of 3D shapes is essential in various fields. Moreover, understanding 3D shapes can enhance spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.


As you explore 3D shapes, remember that they are closely related to 2D shapes. Our suite of 2D shape calculators can serve as a valuable tool in understanding the foundational elements of 3D shapes. So, go ahead and unlock the door to the exciting world of three-dimensional geometry!

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