Lately I’ve been using a new method to make my fuselages that makes it easier to get perfect bilateral symmetry. If you have been making your fuselages by the method described in the “First Model” written tutorial, you may also find this new method to be easier.
For the sake of simplicity let’s call the method described in the “First Model” written tutorial method A, and this new way method D.
In method A:
- start with a side view of the fuselage
- draw short vertical line segments at the location of each former
- use the former sketch creation tool to make sketches at the location of each line segment
- draw all former shapes
- copy the corresponding former shapes to each former sketch making sure they are lined up with each other as intended
- use the Extrude Sketch to Sketch tool to create the fuselage
The most difficult thing to do is in step 4. It is hard to make sure the former shape is exactly symmetrical.
Method D solves this problem by making one small change in step 4. In method D, you only draw one half of each former! I usually draw the right half. See why I called it method D? The former shapes all look like the letter D!
The former shape you make is still a closed polygon. Method D guarantees you will get the bilateral symmetry you are after. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the “flat” side of the shape you make is exactly on the same vertical line. The easiest way is when you place the half former shapes in the former sketches, put the shapes in position as close as you can, then turn on the grid snap and move the two points that are supposed to be on the center line so they snap to the center line.
After you have used the Extrude tool to skin the formers, you will have one half of the fuselage. You can select all the triangles that make up the flat side of the fuselage and select the context menu item “object – make object”. These are throw away, so you can delete the new object.
Now you make the other half of the fuselage by using the mirror tool across the XZ plane. When you have both halves of the fuselage, select both of them and use the context menu item “Object – combine selected objects”. Rename the new object “Fuselage”.
In this picture you see the former shapes in position in their former sketches and the skin (shown in wireframe) after the extrude sketch to sketch tool has been used on the formers. To the right and behind you see the full fuselage made after the mirror tool has been used. You may be interested in knowing this is the fuselage for the B17 model you can download from the user model area of the website.
That’s it! Next time you are making a fuselage, try method D. I think you are going to like it.
Good digital flying.
Sunday Flyer Software, LLC