In this series of AutoCAD posts I’ve led you from the concept of a design for a plastic air hockey paddle though its creation using AutoCAD 3D solids. Most of the modeling tools and tricks that I’ve covered so far have been available since AutoCAD 2007.
Now we’re ready for the new stuff! Using the new mesh modeling tools, introduced in AutoCAD 2010, I’ll step you through a process for modeling a freeform shape for the rubber grip.
Keep in mind this isn’t really about designing an air hockey paddle or a rubber grip. It’s about familiarizing yourself with AutoCAD’s many 3D conceptual design tools so that you can apply them to your own design tasks.
The 3D Modeling workspace in AutoCAD 2010 includes a new Mesh Modeling ribbon tab. The Mesh Modeling tab has six panels including the Primitives panel. Notice the small arrow icon in the lower right corner of the Primitives panel. You’ll see the same icon in many other panels throughout the AutoCAD ribbon. These icons launch relevant dialog boxes for each specific panel. Clicking the icon in the Primitives panel opens the Mesh Primitive Options dialog box.
The Mesh Primitive Options dialog box enables you to specify the number of tessellation divisions for the mesh primitives (box, cone, etc) you create. The tessellation options vary for the different types of primitives. For example, the tessellation divisions for a box are length, width, and height whereas the divisions for a cylinder are axis, height, and base. The number of tessellation divisions defines the editable faces on each surface. A cylinder with 8 axis, 2 height, and 3 base tessellation divisions, for example, has 24 faces on each of the top and bottom surfaces and 16 faces around the side.
You can preview the primitive shapes based on the tessellation divisions that you assign. If Auto-update is enabled, the preview image automatically updates. If it’s not enabled, you can choose the Update option to view the results. In addition to the tessellation divisions, you can assign a default smoothness level between 0 and 4. A level of 0 creates the basic primitive shape with only 1 facet per face. As you increase the smoothness level, the number of facets increases creating a smoother, more rounded shape. You can change the smoothness level even after you’ve created a mesh primitive object.
To create the rubber grip for the air hockey paddle, I’m going to start with a mesh box with relatively few tessellation divisions. I’ll set the length and width to 1 and the height to 3. For now, I’ll leave the smoothness at 0.
At this I’ve only specified the box mesh primitive options. I haven’t actually created the box. We’ll do that in the next post!
- Modify Mesh Modeling Primitive Options