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Chapter 4. Shipbuilding 101: The Making ... > The Lathe and Shell Modifiers

The Lathe and Shell Modifiers

Your boat needs a smokestack, so in Exercise 4.14, you create one from a single 2D shape and a couple of modifiers: Lathe and Shell.

The Lathe modifier “spins” a 2D shape about an adjustable center to create a 3D mesh. Once created, you will make a “mistake” and convert the object from a shape with the modifier to an editable mesh. Upon learning that the smokestack should have had a thickness to it, something that would have been easily accomplished by editing the 2D shape with the Lathe modifier, you apply the Shell modifier to create a similar effect.

Exercise 4.14 Creating a Smokestack with Thickness

Open the file called Ch04_SmokeStk01.max on the CD-ROM. From the File pull-down menu, choose Save As, point to an appropriate subdirectory on your hard drive, and use the plus sign button to save a new file with the name incremented to Ch04_SmokeStk02.max.

The file contains a single shape called smokestack_profile. You could use this shape in conjunction with a circle to create a stack similar to the way you created the turret in Exercise 4.13. Instead, however, you use the Lathe modifier. In the Perspective viewport, select smokestack_profile. In the Modify panel, Modifier List, choose Lathe. The result is an object that is too thin for the boat because the center of the Lathe is the geometric center of the shape.

In the Modify panel, Stack view, expand the Lathe modifier, and highlight Axis. This enables you to change the position of the lathing axis to edit the object. On the main toolbar, click Select and Move and, in the status bar, you see that Offset Mode Transform Type-In is toggled off. Click the button to toggle from Absolute to Offset mode. In the X field of Transform Type-In, enter –4 and press Enter. You now have an 8-foot diameter stack with no thickness or end caps (see Figure 4.63). In the Stack view, click Lathe to exit sub-object mode.

Figure 4.63. Applying a Lathe modifier to a shape and adjusting the position of the axis at sub-object level results in a tube with no thickness.

Right-click in the Perspective viewport twice, once to activate it and again to call the Quad menu. In the Quad menu, choose Convert To, and then choose Convert to Editable Mesh from the cascading menu. The Lathe modifier is gone and the object is a simple editable mesh. However, your client thinks it should have some thickness.

In the Modifier List, choose Shell. The default settings make the smokestack 1 inch thicker to the outside. In the Parameters rollout, enter 3 in the Inner Amount and 0 in the Outer Amount (see Figure 4.64). Now, the extra thickness is toward the inside. The Shell modifier could add significantly to the face count of objects, so use it wisely.

Figure 4.64. The Shell modifier gives single surface objects a thickness inward or outward.

Rename the object Smokestack01 and save the file. It is already called Ch04_SmokeStk02.max.

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