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Next up, we'll learn how to make copies in structured sets called arrays. There are several kinds of arrays, but we'll focus on the three most common, Rectangular, Polar, and Along a Curve. The first array we'll look at is called Rectangular, but the name is just indicating that each copy is a linear distance from its neighbor and forms a rectangle. Basically, you're creating a one, two or three dimensional grid or matrix of copies. I'd like some extra bolts. I'm going to zoom in here. I'm going to select this one bolt and go to the Array command under Transform > Array > Rectangular.
We need to input a lot of options here, so you need to slow down and read the command line. For X direction, I'm going to type in 4 bolts, Y direction, type in 4 and for Z, I'm going to type in 4. I'm going to use the same spacing for all these just to make it easy, so 10 units apart, 10 units apart, 10 units. So, here is the array. Notice we have 4 X, 4 Y, and 4 vertically in a Z. So, that's 64 copies.
I'll just change mine. I don't need quite that many. So, right now, we're in Preview mode. We can go ahead and change the number in a Z direction. Let's go from 4 down to 2. So, again, still in Preview, to exit the command and accept the current number, you hit Enter. So, there we are. We have 32 bolts. Okay. Let's take a look at a Polar Array, which only works in 2D. Polar Array is just basically making copies around a common origin.
I'm going to start off with this shape. I'm going to use this point here, which is an Intersection. So, make sure that is on. We'll go to Transform > Array > Polar. Center of the pole is that intersection I just mentioned. I want to make 20 copies. Now here, it gets a little interesting. I can define the zone, like a starting angle and an ending angle, and all the copies will go in between. I'm going to undo that and instead, we're going to change this to 360 degrees, so to go completely around it. Undo.
I'm going to right-click to repeat, reselect the center. 20 items is fine. It's in the default, so I just hit Enter to accept. There is the last angle I defined already in the prompt, 55.9. I'm going to type in 360, so we go fully around the circle. Let's try that one more time with this shape. Right-click to repeat. Define the center. I'm going to this time only do 11 copies, and I want to go half way around the circle, 180.
Let's take a look at the last type of array, which is Along a Curve with a couple of really cool examples. I created this helix from the Curve menu, right there, and then I created a solid cone and just aligned the tip at the very beginning of that helix. Let's start the command by going to Transform > Array > Along Curve. Objects to array, just that one cone, Enter, and then select the path. I'm going to pick 45 as the number.
There are a couple of options here for orientation. Let's try No rotation and see what happens. So, notice we get all those copies, all 45, pointing in the exact same direction. So, it has created them equally spaced along the curve, but it's not really respecting the curvature or rotation. So, I'm going to undo that and try it one more time. Right-click to repeat, objects, path, same number. This time I'm going to select Freeform. Hit OK, and now notice how each one is banked according to the curvature of the circle it's on.
The next example is a little more realistic. I've created a rivet for our robot. There is a curve on the surface right here. We use that curve to create an array around the outside of the robot head. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. Transform > Array > Along Curve, objects, Enter, curve, and I'm going to go down to 24. Now in this case, we're dealing with a sphere.
So, the rotation is not really important at all. I'm going to go ahead and accept the defaults. There are 24 spheres equally spaced, regardless of whether the line is straight or curving. The Array commands work great whenever you're dealing with more than three or four copies, and you need those extra duplicates to be precisely placed or spaced. And don't forget these commands have many, many steps. So, try to take your time and read every input along the way. If it still doesn't turn out as expected, remember you can just do a quick Undo or a Ctrl+Z and try again.
You probably need to work this way as you figure out how these commands work.
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