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 Has anyone any ideas on how to do 'burling' such as on a handgun grip to a shape in FZ? I want to add this kind of surface to a pole handle grip, such as in the attached photo. I wonder what's the best way to do this?

Thanks! -Craig


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Do you need physical geometry or can you fake it with a bump map?  If physical geometry is needed for a close up then I would just create a small low poly "bump" and in plan view do a radial multi copy.  Select the bumps, move a copy of them up slightly and rotate them slightly to get your offset.  Now select all the bumps and multicopy upward as many times as needed.  Another option is to use displacement mapping but that can be a bit unpredictable.  Then there is the Place On tool (under t-form) that would allow you to mesh your handle and then place "bumps" at the face centers, points, etc..  For more random bumps there are always the scatter tools. 

There are many ways to create geometry in Form.z.  Sometimes I forget about certain tools that I don't use often.  Every once in a while I scroll through some of those tools to remind myself of their capabilities. 



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Thanks Andrew,

Good info. I'll try this multi copy. I've been using FormZ daily for many years and I've never gotten close to a full understanding. This 'burling' is something that I've wondered about. Now I need to make something for 3D printing with burling, so I have to work it out. This is very helpful info.

Thanks! -Craig

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Spelling, I am not so good at...  English is my 3rd language...  sadly, however I don't have a first or second or a fourth.🙄


Sure!  If you are insisting a Geometric solution as apposed to a visual with bump mapping.....  This might seem strange, but it will work.  Looks like a lot, but doesn't take long at all to do.

1. draw a circle, but using the poly tool set to how many Knurls you want to go around your object

     center the poly-circle on the 0,0,0 and keep the circle so that it's controls are parallel with one of the world coordinates  (helps later in step 4 and up)

2. measure the one of the facets and keep that number.

3. extrude the "circle" to a hight that matches the length measured above.

4. Using the Pick tool, set to face.  select one of the square faces that is adjacent to one of the world axis and select copy.

5. delete the disk object and paste the copied face.  (If you wan't I can explain why we are jumping through hoops to get this)

6. Using the 'Point Extrusion'  Looks like a Pyramid  set the height of the Knurls   Probably no higher than the length of that earlier facet... Typical would probably be about half or maybe 2/3rds  of that length.   and apply.

7. swing your view around, so that you see the bottom of the pyramid, select that face and delete it.   Now you will have a single knurl that is a surface object.

8. Turn off all snaps except the point snap.   using the rotate tool, and setting the Multi-copy to the number of facets-1   Copy rotate the pyramid so that one edge of copy 1 will snap the the far edge of the original.... you should now have a ring of pyramids.


9, object-select all of them and using the stitch tool stitch them together.

10 multi-copy them and move them so that the edges snap so that you now have a cylinder of them.  and then stitch those together.

I toggle the movemet to be perpendicular to the plane to ease the action.


11.  Cap..




Below, I tried a different method, that has half the steps, but it would be a nightmare to clean up all of the back facing polys.  So the above is what I came up with.



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hi Chris

why do you prefer to built it with faces ?

when Craig wants to make 3-D prints, he needs volumes.


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Let's see if I can make sense. Ha! In the attached photo from left to right... the numbers are the resolution (number of facets) of the source circle that I used to make that object and the knurl.

100 was way too fine for the knurl, but great for the smooth parts. So ALL the smooth parts are 100 facets.

40 was cool, but the knurl is just too big.

50 worked very well, but there's a spiral 'look' on the real world knurl I'm attempting to duplicate on this model. So I tried doing a 'Twist' on it, which is very close to what I'm after, just not perfect. If I can't get it any better than that, I'll live with it, I guess. But I don't think it's the best it could be.

I'd try to 'Shear' it and see if that would make the knurl a diamond shape, but 'Sheer' deform is only available in Animation Workspace and it's not a good way to model things, seems like. Seems imprecise to me. I may not understand how to do it correctly. I just wish I could Sheer the object and investigate if that would work.

I can try to do this whole thing using a diamond shape for the initial knurl. That would make the knurl seem to have a spiral look. In fact, I did try that. It got difficult to manage the stitching. I'm going to try that again right now.

Later -Craig



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Nice work.   You have a point about the diamond pattern.   Attached is such.   The write up of this is more complicated... but I will get to it.  Just have other stuff to attend to for at least the day.    I


Scale of attached is going to be wrong, but can get you a good start.   Created in 9.0 Beta and back saved to 7.0 since I don't know what version you are using.  if you need older, just let me know.

too, I set it to 52 instead of 50.   that way it is divisible by 4 (quadrants)  and my old brain doesn't have to think as hard this way.

Hope this will get you by until I can write up a proper explanation.




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