Pinbox: Part 1 - Modeling

In this two part tutorial on creating a pinbox model, I will show you how to go about modeling the main item from the frame to the pins, then I will conclude with showing you all how to animate it in part two. So let's get down to it.

1. Okay, start off by creating a rectangle, with length: 34.5, width: 24 and corner radius: 2.6.  Move it to XYZ: 0,0,8.5. Change the rectangle's Interpolation to 12, put an Extrude Modifier on the rectangle and set it to Height: 2. Convert to an Editable Poly, and name this object "Plastic Lid" (Fig.01).

2. Select the top and bottom polygon, and use the Inset tool with a value of .5.  Now delete the large remaining polygon.  Create an Arc with the two endpoints being the ends of the curved edge of the plastic lid, and increase the radius so it's out away from the geometry.  Rename the arc "Corner Center Point".  This will be used for selection purposes in a minute (Fig.02).Now the next several steps are about creating the geometry for the hole that the corner posts will make in the plastic.  You can just have the corner posts penetrate the Plastic Lid object, but if you want to be super picky and see the interaction of the surfaces correctly in the render then go on to Step 3.  If it's not that big a deal, don't delete the polygons after you inset, and skip to Step 17.  Really, this is a very tiny detail and will only be noticeable if you are looking really closely at the render.  If you skip to Step 17 you will notice that your plastic lid lacks a lot of the geometry shown in the example, but don't worry about it.

3. Go to the Reference Coordinate System (RCS), which is located on the main toolbar just to the right of the Scale tool.  Drop down from View to Pick. With your activated mouse cursor, pick the Corner Center Point and now you'll see that name in the RCS Window on the Main Toolbar (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

4. Select the edges of the inset curved edge and choose your Scale tool. Set the RCS to "Corner Center Point", click and hold down the icon just to the right of the RCS, and choose "Use Transform Coordinate Center" which is the one at the bottom.  Your Transform Tripod in the Viewport should not jump to the centre point of the Arc you created earlier.  Grab the XY plane of the Scale Tool, and hold Shift + Scale, then extrude these edges to a Scale of 50% (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

5. Right click and "Convert to Face" to select all the geometry you just created, then go to the "Named Selection Sets" window and type "Corner Faces".  Now choose the Rotate tool.  Again set the RCS to Corner Center Point, and "Use Transform Coordinate Center".  Shift + Rotate 90 degrees counterclockwise (Fig.05).

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

6. Select one of the outer edges of the geometry you just created and hit the Loop tool to select all the outer edges.  Shift + Move along the X axis to create new geometry.  Now switch to your left viewport, hit "View Align" and go back to your perspective viewport (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

7. With the edges still selected, choose the Align tool, and click on the Plastic Lid object.  Uncheck the Y and Z axis, and set the Target Object to "Center" (Fig.07).

Fig. 07

Fig. 07

8. Switch from edge selection to polygon, go to the Named Selection Sets and drop down to Corner Faces.  Set the RCS like we have before, and this time Shift + Rotate 90 degrees clockwise (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

Fig. 08



9. Repeat the actions in Steps 6 and 7.  But when using View Align, go to Front Viewport instead of Left. And when you align the edges, use the Y axis instead of the X (Fig.09).

10. Go back to the polygon selection, and choose "Corner Faces" again, set the RCS, and Shift + Rotate 180 degrees (Fig.10).

11. Choose "Corner Faces" again, and switch from polygon to element sub-object mode.  Hold down Ctrl and click on the other areas you just created to select them.  With all of this selected, hit detach (Fig.11).

12. With Object01 selected, choose the Mirror tool, set to X axis, and select Clone Selection to Copy.  Repeat to get all four corners (Fig.12).

13. With Object01 selected, choose "Attach" and choose Objects02-04. De-activate "Attach" and switch to vertex sub-object, Ctrl + A to select all, and click on Weld Settings and enter ".01" in the threshold. Switch to border sub-object, click on the inside edge of Object 01 and hit "Cap" (Fig.13).

14. Use the Mirror tool with the Axis set to Z to duplicate Object 01 for the bottom of the Plastic Lid.  Use the Align tool with the Axis set to Z, Current Object to Center and Target Object to Minimum (Fig.14).

15. Choose the Plastic Lib object, select the large bottom polygon, and inset it .5 just like the top, and then delete the polygon remaining.  Now click "Attach" and choose Object01 and 02 (Fig.15).

Fig. 15

Fig. 15

16. Go to border sub-object mode, and choose the inside of the four holes in the top.  Use Shift + Move down along the Z axis just a little to create new geometry.  With these borders still selected choose Align, Z Axis and Target Object to Minimum.  Go to vertex mode, Ctrl + A, and Weld Settings to .01 (Fig.16).

Fig. 16

Fig. 16

17. Go to edge mode and select one edge at the outer edge of the top and bottom.  Click Loop, bring up Chamfer settings, and set the amount to .05 (Fig.17).

18. Create a new rectangle shape, with the same dimensions as the one used to make the Plastic Lid, and set the XYZ to 0,0,0. Name this object "Plastic Tray01".  Add an extrude modifier with a height of .75 and convert to an Editable Poly.  Select the top and bottom polygon, and use the Inset tool with a value of 1 (Fig.18).

19. Go to edge mode, select an edge at the top and bottom and hit Loop. Use Chamfer with Settings set to a value of .35 and segments set to 6.  Go to polygon mode, Ctrl + A, and hit Autosmooth. Note: If you are working in a version of 3dsMax prior to 2009, the segments option of the Chamfer tool is not available.  You will need to chamfer the edges several times with decreasing values to get the same effect (Fig.19).

Fig. 19

Fig. 19

20. Make an Instance Clone of this object and move it to XYZ, 0,0,-2.5 (Fig.20).

21. Now to model the corner posts.  Create a cylinder, set the height segs to 1 and the sides to 48. Align XY Pivot to Pivot with the Corner Center Point.  Rename this object "Corner Post01" (Fig.21).

22. Move the cylinder down into the hole in the Plastic lid, and adjust the radius to fit just inside (approx 1.045). Convert to an editable poly (Fig.22).

23. Go to edge mode.  Select one vertical edge and hit Ring, then Connect.  Align to the Z maximum of Plastic Lid.  Select the vertical edge again, Ring, Connect, and Align to Z max of Plastic Lid. Now move it up .3. Select a short vertical edge, hit Ring, right click and "Convert to Face" (Fig.23).

24. Extrude the faces 1.0.  Convert to edge mode, select an edge at the top and bottom of the extrusion, and hit Loop.  Now Chamfer with a value of .1 and 3 segments (Fig.24).

25. Select an edge at the base of the extrusion, Loop, and Chamfer with a value of .05 and 1 segment (Fig.25).

26. Switch to polygon mode, select the top polygon and move it to Z, 12.25.  Inset to give you some edge detail
(Fig.26).

27. Go back to edge mode, select an edge at the top, Loop, and Chamfer with a value of .15 and 4 segments (Fig.27).

28. Go to polygon mode, select the top polygon and scale it up close to the chamfered edges.  Now create a hexagon with a radius of .7.  Align XY center to center of the Corner Post01.  Align Z max to max (Fig.28).

Fig. 28

Fig. 28

29. Right click over the Snap tool and turn on only Endpoints and Midpoints.  Go to Vertex mode, and move the vertices around the top to the endpoints and midpoints of the hexagon (Fig.29).

30. Use the spline tool to trace over the hexagon.  Go from endpoint to midpoint, and then midpoint to endpoint.  This will subdivide the hexagon with more snap points.  Trace over a second time to subdivide again.  This will give you the right number of snap points for the remaining vertices (Fig.30).

31. Finish snapping the verts to the segments of the splines.  Now go back to polygon mode and delete the top polygon.  Go to border mode, and select the edge of the opening.  Now Shift + Move and create new faces downward. Hit Cap (Fig.31).

32. Go to edge mode, select one of the top inside edges and choose Loop.  Chamfer with an amount of .05 and 1 segment (Fig.32).

33. Go to polygon mode, select the bottom polygon, and Align to the Z min of the Plastic Lid.  Now Extrude with a value of 12.5.  Go to edge mode, select one of the lower vertical edges, hit Ring, right click and Convert to Faces.  Extrude the faces with a value of .25 (Fig.33).

Fig. 33

Fig. 33

34. Select the bottom polygon and hit Collapse.  Using the snaps, create a sphere at the bottom that matches the diameter of the corner post.  Set the segments to 48 (Fig.34).

35. Convert to editable poly, switch to polygon mode and delete the polygons on the top half of the sphere.  Select Corner Post01, go to vertex mode and select the vertex at the centre of the bottom.  Right click and Convert to Face, and delete the bottom polygons.  Now attach the sphere.  Go to Vertex mode, Ctrl + A, and weld with a value of .01 (Fig.35).

36. Create a hexagon with a radius of 1.7.  Align XY centre to the centre of Corner Post01.  Then move it to a Z value of -3.75.  Drop on an Extrude modifier with a value of 1.25.  Convert to an editable poly and go to edge mode.  Ctrl + A, and chamfer with a value of .05 and 1 segment.  Rename it "Nut01" (Fig.36).

37. Set the UCS to World and Use Transform Coordinate Center.  Use the Mirror tool to make Instance Clones of Corner Post01 and Nut01 at all four corners of Plastic Lid (Fig.37).

38. Okay, last piece to model. Create a sphere with a radius of.55, segments to 8, hemisphere to .5 and Squash.  Now move it to XYZ, -8.334, -13.25, 7.75, and Scale the Z axis to 70%.  Rename this object "Pin01" (Fig.38).

39. Convert to an editable poly and go to vertex mode.  Select the vertex at the centre of the flat bottom and right click "Convert to Edge".  Connect with 1 segment and Slide to -35 (Fig.39).

40. Go back to vertex mode, grab the centre vertex and Convert to Face.  Extrude with a value of 16.5 (Fig.40).

41. Switch to edge mode, and select an edge at the base of the extrusion, the top of the extrusion, and the outer edge of the sphere.  Set Edge Crease to 1.  Now add a TurboSmooth modifier, and set the Iterations to 0 and Render Iterations to 1 (Fig.41).

42. If you want to animate these pins, save now and go to the next tutorial.  If you just want to make the pinbox render as a still with no pattern in the pins, make an Instance Clone of Pin01, and move it to XYZ, -7.459, -13.75, 7.75
(Fig.42).

Fig. 42

Fig. 42

43. Select Pin01 and Pin02.  Go to Tools > Array.  In the Array Dialogue box that comes up, under Array Transformation >Incremental, enter a Y value of 1. Under Array Dimensions enter a value of 28 for the 1D Count.  Switch to 2D, and set the Count to 10, and under Incremental Row Offsets, enter an X value of 1.75 (Fig.43).

Fig. 43

Fig. 43

44. The complete Pin Art Toy model. (With Plastic Lid Obj Properties set to "See Through") (Fig.44).

Fig. 44

Fig. 44

This concludes the modeling side to our pinbox model, join me in part two where I will show you how to animate it.

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