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 Subject: Floor Flange Model WIP

LuxXeon opened this issue on Mar 08, 2013 · 36 posts

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 2:30PM Fri, 08 March 2013 

The other day, I began modeling a floor flange for Miss Nancy, a member of the community here, and while it seemed like a straight forward process.  It's a really easy object to model, and there were many ways to attack it,  but when I saw the reference image, I thought of a slightly unorthodox procedure to achieving this, and feel it might worth sharing for discussion.  So here's how I modeled this flange in 3dsmax.

First, I'll show you the reference image I used.  If you do a search for "floor flange" on Google, you'll find TONS of different kinds of flanges.  Some have 4 screw holes, and a few have 3.  I picked one with 3 (and a secondary hole in the upper lip part for a fastening bolt), because I felt due to the toplogy, punching 3 larger holes in the model, positioned the way they are here, seemed slightly more challenging than 4, just because of how they are spaced out.  This is the reference I used:

http://www.rockler.com/gallery.cfm?Offerings_ID=21946&TabSelect=Details

So typically, you would think to start with a ring of quads, and just cut some holes in the proper places, and then start extruding.  If this were going to be a 4-holed flange, where each hole was spaced evenly around the ring, then that's probably the route I would have started.  Instead, here's how I approached it...

I started with a 12 sided Ngon, like this:

floor_flange009

The 12 sides were the key element, because my next step was cutting edges to make 95% quad topology, like this:

floor_flange008

Notice the four tris at the top, bottom, and sides. They weren't going to be there for long, I just needed them temporarily.  Next, I needed a hole for the center cylinder lip.    Miss Nancy had tubes that measured 2 inches in diameter, so the hole needed to be exactly 2 inches.  I was modeling in inches, so I slid the inner edges until they were exactly 2 inches in diameter, and deleted the inner faces. Then I got rid of those tris by cutting edges into some of the faces to make the screw holes. Now the object had the holes I needed, and 100% quad topology:

floor_flange007

Selecting the edge of the inner hole, I then extruded the cylinder lip so that it measured about 2.5 inches from the base:

floor_flange005

Now, I needed to consider how to include the smaller hole for the fastening bolt, or whatever it is used for, into that extruded lip. It's about half the diameter of the larger holes on the base, according to the reference image, so I needed some extra edges. To keep the topology uniform, and for the fact that I wasn't worried too much about this becoming a high density mesh, I simply subdivided the entire object to get more edges:

floor_flange004

Then I selected 4 polygons in about the same area as the hole appears in the reference, and simply inset them, which gave me the inner faces I needed to make the hole. Deleting those inner faces left me with a nice small hole there:

floor_flange003

Almost done. At this point, I just need some thickness, which in 3dsmax is achieved using the "shell" modifier: floor_flange002

The last steps were simply to chamfer a few of the edges to provide a "crisp" look when subdivided, and then after 1 or 2 iterations of subdivision smoothing, I ended up with the final model: floor_flange001

I've also modeled the screws for it, and although I had no good reference images for the proper kind of screws this kind of flange actually uses at first, I think the ones I made were reasonable, and most people wouldn't know that they aren't exactly the same kind of inset wood screws used for this type of flange. I'll post screengrabs of the screw models soon, and then I'll offer the entire model for download to use in your scenes where you might have poles or tubes to connect to a floor.

That's it for the flange. I'm interested to hear any input on how you guys would do it using whatever apps you may use. As I've said, there's at least 3 other ways I could have gone here, but thinking ahead about the position of the holes, and modeling to scale (sort of), I thought this was one of the more efficient approaches.

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 2:36PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · edited on 2:41PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · @4048674

I think the main thing I need to fix here is the depth of the holes, and the fact that they taper slightly at the bottom, to accept inset screws.  I never even noticed that detail on the reference image, and I've never actually seen one of these up close, so I'm going to correct the holes to more closely match the real thing.  I just assumed they took an oversized hex bolt/screw.  But I just noticed that.  Also, the hole on the lip needs to be a little smaller.  I'll fix that before uploading the model.  I'll post screengrabs of those corrections to the flange soon.

Wish I had a real one to look at, because there's so many variations to these things, it's crazy.  ;)

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 2:50PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · edited on 2:51PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · @4048684

Here's the screw I originally modeled to use with the flange, but now I'll have to change this as well.  This wasn't quite complete, of course, I still needed to add the groove for the screwdriver.  Although it will work for this kind of flange, it's not actually the kind of screw used in a flange with tapered holes:

screw001

screw002

screw003

screw004

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  RobynsVeil    ( ) ( posted at 3:17PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048696

Just thinking "out-loud": with this sort of high-quality design approach, you should be completely set to do 3D printing of your devices and achieve industry-standard, durable products.

Well done!

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  zandar    ( ) ( posted at 3:32PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048702

I am a fan of your work. You make very good models! I might use a cylinder to start this purpose, and had just formed polygons in the shape, and the holes in it I do booleans. Much easy for me this way.


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 5:06PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048731

RobynsVeil,

Thank you very much.  I often put the models I make through a final STL error check, just to be sure they are "water tight";  with no open edges, overlapping edges, double faces, or isolated verts.  I guess it's a good habit; just something I've learned to do in our 3D design class.  We've done some modeling for 3D print there, so I tend to model things with that possibility in mind. :)

zandar,

Boolean operations would certainly be an easier approach here, but I try to keep as FAR away from booleans as possible when modeling.  Not that they aren't ever an option, but in most cases, booleans tend to result in bad topology, and destroy your UV's.  I'm sure some applications do boolean operations very well, and I know some software is based around modeling objects with booleans, but 3dsmax isn't one of them.

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 5:40PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048740

Nice, I just tried this and still can't work out why you use the tris at the start. No criticism, just seeing how others do it. I went for a spline and then boolean which , for a change, came out quite well.

One thing I never seem to avoid is that pinching you getwith the hole on the curved surface.

Good luck with the screws! Posidrive topology!


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 6:19PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · edited on 6:23PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · @4048756

Quote - Nice, I just tried this and still can't work out why you use the tris at the start. No criticism, just seeing how others do it. I went for a spline and then boolean which , for a change, came out quite well.

One thing I never seem to avoid is that pinching you getwith the hole on the curved surface.

Good luck with the screws! Posidrive topology!

Can you show an example of what you mean by the pinching?  There's no strategic reason I cut the mesh that way, other than the fact I wanted to maintain a shape for the centermost edges that was closer to a circle than a square.  I could have started with a circular strip of quads, like in the screencap below, and that is a perfectly acceptable start (probably a more logical one too).  However, I'd still have some edges to remove and add to accomplish the tre-foil screw hole layout, so it ends up being about the same number of steps in the end, maybe.  As I said, I took a rather unorthodox approach here. ;)

quad-ring001

I might try a posidriv screw, but what about a Supadriv? hehe.  That might be cool.

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 6:25PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048758

Ah sorry, not your model. I did the top hole with 8 sides and got some pinching. Then changed to 6 sides and it looked much better.

I'll post a shot shortly. 


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 6:36PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048762

airflamesred,

I think I know what you mean by pinching on a curved surface.  I just use a relax modifier, and/or an extra level of subd to smooth it out.  Relaxing the edges will give a smoother result without increasing polycount.

Here's how it looks after relaxing the edges a bit; there's may still be some very minor pinching, but after applying a shader, and in a final render setting, it would never be noticable.

small_hole001

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 7:12PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048769


I hadn't looked at the ref pic and so not realised that hole was so small.

On the left - cube bool out of a quad

On the right - 6 sided from 2 quads


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 7:49PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048774

airflamesred,

That looks really good!  I've also made that lip hole much smaller than it was on my original model.  I've also gone and tapered the inside polygons of the larger holes, to be more like the reference. These holes are now more appropriate for inset wood screws, for instance...

large_hole001

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 8:32PM Fri, 08 March 2013  · @4048781

Sorry if you got a notification that there was another message, only to find it was deleted.  I uploaded a screengrab of the isoline display wire of the mesh, which wasn't showing the quad topology properly.  This is the final topology

I made the hole on the upper lip half the diameter it was before, and of course tapered the inner part of the larger holes:

large_hole002

I think this really brings the model much closer to the reference image. Should be as close as I can get without better reference. Now on to revise the screws... Then it's all done.

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 9:54PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · edited on 9:58PM Fri, 08 March 2013 · @4048799

Ok, after reviewing the reference one more time, I wasn't happy with how smooth the neck of the flange was.  The reference has more of a separation and hard edge there where the neck meets the base; my model was very smooth in how those areas flowed together.  So I added a few edge loops to chamfer the base of the neck, and add some separation there.  NOW I think I'm finally happy with the likeness to the reference.

large_hole004

I could still probably tweak that area even more, but I'm gonna move on to fixing the screws. haha.

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 4:37AM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4048848

Lookks great. It looks like a more engineered piece rather than a casting so you were right with the sharper curve there.

BTW are you familiar with 3d palace? max and hard surface in abundance!


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 10:01AM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4048917

Quote - Lookks great. It looks like a more engineered piece rather than a casting so you were right with the sharper curve there.

BTW are you familiar with 3d palace? max and hard surface in abundance!

 

Is the url 3d-palace.com? I just checked it out, and it looks great.  Lots of awesome tuts there for 3dsmax.  I'm bookmarking that one.

I've been frequenting cgsociety.com, cgarchitect.com, and the AREA.  Of course, I have a profile on DA and 3dartistonline.com too.

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 10:10AM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4048918

Attached Link: James Bond sculpt

3d total as well

This will make you sick!


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 11:08AM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4048948

Quote - 3d total as well

This will make you sick!

WOW.  Probably the most realistic likeness of a celebrity I've seen so far!  The most impressive part is his skin material.  When I saw his WIP of the rendered skin, I thought it was a reference photo of the actor! phew.  Awesome.

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 3:21PM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4049039

Well, here's how I'm doing the wood screws.  I'm using the loft compound object in 3dsmax, with a straight line (spline) as the path, and two Ngon splines as the shapes.  The loft tool in Max is quite robust, and a big time-saver for modeling objects like this.  I was able to loft this shape in about 5 minutes, once I figured out how to extrude the treads in the bevel deformation curve graph.  Unfortunately, I don't think this part of the WIP will translate well into an instructional how-to for users of other applications, because the loft compound object is a specific 3dsmax tool, but this shape could be obtained several ways using standard poly modeling tools in vaious apps as well.  JUst search out a tutorial on how to model a screw, and I'm sure you'll find many useful results. This is the same technique I used for the hex screws I posted earlier too, but these new screws will be wood screws, so the shape is a little different at the head, and the bottoms need to be pointed.

wood_screw001

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 3:49PM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4049050

Yeah. Once you get that spiral going it's plain sailing.


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 5:06PM Sat, 09 March 2013 · edited on 5:08PM Sat, 09 March 2013 · @4049068

Quote - Yeah. Once you get that spiral going it's plain sailing.

For sure.

I looked at a bunch of wood screw references online, and it seems 90% of them either use a flat standard screw slot, or a phillips screw slot.  I went with just a phillips slot head.  So this is the screw as it is.  I don't think I'll have to subdivide this, but we will see when I try to render if it's detailed enough.  I tapered the shaft and treads a bit, as most of the wood screws I saw were tapered slightly. 

wood_screw002

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 6:35PM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4049086

I'm about to do a production render of the flange, with inset wood screws in a scene.  Here's the objects all together before putting them into a scene to render...

Flange With Screws

Flange With Scews 02

What started out as a very straight forward and simple model, turned into a project consisting of several revisions and corrections; mainly due to my lack of knowledge about the given object, and not looking closely enough at the one reference image I based it on. haha. If this were for one of my classes, I'd give myself a C+ for preparation, and B for execution. Hopefully the render will redeem all the mistakes I needed to correct in what should have been a very simple modeling project. ;)

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 9:46PM Sat, 09 March 2013  · @4049142

Attached Link: Floor Flange Render

I posted a final production render of this object to my gallery.  Check it out and feel free to let me know your thoughts.  It think it turned out half decent anyway. I'll offer it for download soon.

http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/index.php?image_id=2420251

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 3:25PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049399

Fantastic render - I'm taking a shine to Octane.

Back to the screws, or threads to be precise. I'm just trying this and I'm thinking the thread should dissappear into a wider shank. My PC has just crashed but I shall be back with a pic.


  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 4:38PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049417


I feel like I'm messing your thread up here -sorry man!

So, all though it makes sense to extrude the thread, in practice the groove would be taken out. Does that make sense?

I don't have enough loops in this example but hopefully you can see what I mean


  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 5:07PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049424

I post these WIP's to get input, and alternative technques, so I appreciate your feedback, as I'm sure other do as well.  The reason I didn't elaborate on the process of my screws further is because of the technique I used to make them are rather specific to some tools in 3dsmax.  It's not actually a standard edge extrusion which created the threads, although you could do it that way too, but using the loft compound object in 3dsmax, the threads were automatically beveled out of the loft object from a spline profile.  It's a max-specific operation, so I didn't get into much detail about that.  I'm thinking about doing more screws, using a more standard technique.

I see what you mean about the crisp edge of the threads in your example, though.  I have added a couple extra loops to my threads to get that crisp edge, since posting the last screengrabs. I'll post another shot of it when I get a chance.  Meanwhile, can you post a wire-shaded version of your screengrab, so we can see the underlying topology?  I love how the shaded version looks.  Great work. 

BTW, your corkscrew on DA looks like a fantastic model.

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  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 6:07PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049439


I thought your thread was fine, just where the top part blended into the shank so to speak.

Here's my MK 2


  airflamesred    ( ) ( posted at 6:15PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049441


Thanks for the compliment, and here's the wireframe.

I've realised recently (and your thread here has helped) that I tend to use minimal geometry and add level 2 Catmull Clark and this may not be best way to go. For example your posidrive head above, I would have started with say an 8 sided cylinder, and by the time I come to add some control loops I'm running out of places to run them into. Your way looks better.


  Miss Nancy    ( ) ( posted at 7:57PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049454

looks great, lux!  this should go in your portfolio if you need to apply for jobs with vendors who sell these items.  I tried it in poser (smoothing off in render) and is good size in re: polygons (especially screws, which need alotta polygons IMVHO), as current poser smoothing algorithm was designed for figures.  cage and snarly wrote subD scripts, but it may be coming later in poser (officially supported).  we shall see.

lux floor flange

screws should be scaled up so their heads are flush, and their thread length (maintaining same thread pitch) should be same as flange cup. but these work for me, as they're in the floor.



  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 8:21PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049457

Quote - Thanks for the compliment, and here's the wireframe.

I've realised recently (and your thread here has helped) that I tend to use minimal geometry and add level 2 Catmull Clark and this may not be best way to go. For example your posidrive head above, I would have started with say an 8 sided cylinder, and by the time I come to add some control loops I'm running out of places to run them into. Your way looks better.

I see what you're saying now; I misunderstood what you meant originally.  I might have to tweak that part some more before I offer this as a freebie; although for this piece, it probably will never really be seen in a render.  Niether will the threads, for that matter.  I love your style; you seem to maintain a very consistant and logical approach to your topology.

I know what you mean about starting with minimal geometry (or primitive shapes).  One of the reasons I did the threads on the screw the way I did, for example, was two-fold.  There are a few techniques I know of to accomplish realistic threads like that, but each one seems to have some drawbacks; be it time, efficiency, or what have you.  The lofting technique in 3dsmax was the most time-efficient I think, giving me a nearly completed screw in under 5 min.  However, I have also done some screws and bolts in the past by starting with a quad helix shape, like in the image below:

quad helix

Starting with this as the basis for the screw body, I would simply bridge the outer-most edges to create one solid tube, then chamfer the spiral edge to "extrude" the threads from the shaft. Then there would be some work to build the top of that shape into the head of the screw, and the bottom into a point, all while trying to maintain as many quads as possible. Using this technique, however, I seem to always end up with several triangular faces. I haven't found a strategic way to avoid that when it comes to building the screw from a helix ribbon. This technique would also take a little longer; probably 15 to 20 min to get a decent looking screw or bolt  (I suppose I could never claim to be very good at speed-modeling. ;)

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  LuxXeon    ( ) ( posted at 8:37PM Sun, 10 March 2013  · @4049459

Quote - looks great, lux!  this should go in your portfolio if you need to apply for jobs with vendors who sell these items.  I tried it in poser (smoothing off in render) and is good size in re: polygons (especially screws, which need alotta polygons IMVHO), as current poser smoothing algorithm was designed for figures.  cage and snarly wrote subD scripts, but it may be coming later in poser (officially supported).  we shall see.

lux floor flange

screws should be scaled up so their heads are flush, and their thread length (maintaining same thread pitch) should be same as flange cup. but these work for me, as they're in the floor.

 

Great work, Miss Nancy.  I really love the shaders you used there, and I'm very pleased you were happy with it.  Thank you very much once again, and excellent render!

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