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In Rhino 4.0 Essential Training, author Dave Schultze shows how the 3D NURBS-based modeling tools in Rhino 4.0 are used to engineer products from toy robots to full-sized aircraft. This course concentrates on using Rhino 4.0 for industrial design and rapid prototyping, with a review of common 3D terminology using specific examples. Along with a comprehensive exploration of the Rhino interface, the course includes an introduction to building 3D objects with Rhino's three primary entities: the curve, the surface, and the solid. Exercise files are included with the course.
In the fourth of Rhino's primary modeling aids, we'll review the most important one, the Osnap or Object Snap. I've mentioned that the goal is to make our curves clean and accurate. So, by far, the best way to do that is by using the Osnap. Yes, there are 10 different settings we can use, but fortunately they are all clearly and intuitively labeled. Even better, you should only need to use a few at any one time during the course of your work. So, I'm going to be working on this robot's neck and I'm going to explore couple of different design options by building construction or practice curves.
We'll actually pick the final design later and trim and join the curves together. Another note, these Osnaps will work on any kind of geometry, which includes curves, surfaces or edges of solids. But for this chapter, we'll stay focused primarily on curves with maybe one snap to a surface at the very end. Our Osnap toggle is located here at the bottom. I'm going to go ahead and click on it and here's all the options. Now this is so critical. I'm going to keep this open and dock it, so I grab the title nar there, move it towards one of the four sides, and you can position it.
Now if you are counting, you would notice there are ten different types of Object Snaps. End point, Near, Regular point, Mid point, Center point, etcetera. However, the last three are more like settings for the snaps. We have Project, Smart Track, and Disable, but probably an easier way to disable is just by hitting the shortcut Alt key in the middle of a snap. Let's start by drawing a line using the End and Center snap.
So, I'm going to click on End to activate that, and Center. I'm going to maximize the Front viewport, double-click on the label, and I'm also going to turn off the Grid here. So, it's little less clutter. That's the F7 shortcut key. I'm going to draw a Polyline and just draw it from one of the end points. I'm going to zoom in here a bit and notice how it jumps to the center of the circle but not when I'm in the center. Only when I'm close to the edge.
It's actually for your benefit, because if you have a lot of circles close together, you may pick the wrong center point. So, by selecting the center by going to one of the edges, it jumps to the mathematical center for you. Okay let's draw another line with two different Osnaps. I'm going to pan out, turn off End. Turn on Mid. So, you should have only Mid point and only Perpendicular. Start the Polyline command one more time, and I'm going to just kind of eyeball the center of this.
Make sure you see the word pop up anytime you do an Osnap, so it says Mid, and I can now click safely, and it's exactly on the line, and coming over to the center line here, and there is the perpendicular. So, that line is now exactly touching from one side at a midpoint and on the other side to an exact 90 degree perpendicular. Let's try another two options. I'm going to turn those two off. And we are going to go from Point object to a Tangent. Another Polyline, so here is a Point object here.
So, we are going to get close so that Rhino can determine where that tangent is. So, we actually have two locations of tangent on any circle. We can go to either side, and then you click to accept. I'm going to turn those two Osnaps off and try another set. This will be using the Int for intersection and my least favorite Osnap, the Near, which is very handy but also very dangerous and I'll show you why.
I'm going to go ahead and start the Polyline and let it find the intersection. That's pretty handy and now it's drawing a Near snap to anywhere along that curve. So, it's exactly going to touch, but it's not that accurate as far as the angle or if it's perpendicular. So, that's the good part of the Near. Here's the bad part. A lot of times people forget, leave this on, and they end up with a lot of inaccuracies in their file. They think they are snapping to an End point or Midpoint, when it's actually using Near and just getting kind of close.
So, be careful. If you use Near you want to turn that off pretty quickly. So, for the last Osnap example, I'm going to turn on Knot and Quadrant. So, a Knot is just a factor of surface geometry where there is a seam or an edge. Go ahead and draw the Polyline, and we'll click to the tip of this cone, and there it found the seam at the top. And then we'll go back to the circle here in the middle and notice that since it was drawn correctly it's got quadrants at four different intervals.
Finally, I'd like to show you some of these same settings available inside geometry. Go to the Curve menu, select Line, and then select Tangent to 2 Curves. So, here we can draw a curve and have it be tangent to two other curves, and not have to worry about the snaps at all. Reading the command line, I'm going to select the first curve near where I want it to be tangent, and then the second curve, and it calculates the solution.
Take a look at all of the many types of lines here. You might want to explore this a little bit further because there are a lot of options to draw accurate curves from a lot of different situations. The use of Osnap is critical to the creation of simple and clean lines. In fact, you will probably lose all accuracy without Osnaps, and since we are building surfaces from most of these curves, it becomes even more important to get the curves just right. Even if you are building quick study models it's still worth the effort to slow down just a little bit and use your Osnaps.
A few seconds here and there as you are designing and building can save many hours of problems towards the end of a project.
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