I thought I'd start a series of image based, step by step modeling process of details I'm working out, starting with the explosive bolt configurations. This first series I'm starting mid-stream so to speak, because that's where I am right now, but I'll slip in the previous steps here and there as it occurs to me.
First of all, I did not have a clear understanding of what these shapes were for, thinking from the beginning, they were attitude jets that faced forward. Nor did I have a clear enough image of them from the front detailing the bowl shapes interior. I was searching for an aerospace engineer who could enlighten me concerning their design functions, and having no luck. I even wrote to Fredrick Ordway, but have not heard back from him, and have learned that that is most unlikely anyway these days considering his age, and busy schedule.
I did however find what I was looking for from an unlikely source, considering how we started our relationship. Before we had a falling out, Adam K. Johnson and I had a few days of friendly discussion, and I sent him some images of what I was concerned with, and he was very helpful. It was he who informed me that these were no attitude jets, but were explosive bolts used to separate the forward part of the ship from the main launch engines, in much the same way the solid fuel boosters are separated from the shuttle after launch. Adam graciously sent me a render he did of the configuration of these shapes, which answered my questions entirely, and cleared up my confusion about their function. So again, I would like to thank Adam for his helpfulness in this most important design.
Having worked out the basic polygon structure for the upper part of the fuselage, which I'll go over later, I had a base on which to work out the explosive bolt configurations. Basicly, that base is a 17' diameter cylinder, split at the half way point and the sides go straight down from there. In this first illustration, you can see that shape from the inside in this screen grab, and the underside of the bowl shape with all the vertices selected along its contact level with the hull.
This bowl shape is not the final version, as you may be able to see, the inner edge is too sharp as yet, while I have rounded off the outer edge at its face. It serves to work out some of the other problems, which I'll detail for you. At this point, I have selected the vertices, to copy to a new layer, in order to make a cutout pattern to cut the bowl shape from the hull. I have already completed the work on the first bowl and it's cutout, and this is the second bowl. At this point I have copied the verts to the new layer, where I will select them in a counter-clockwise direction and hit the "P" key to make a polygon in that shape. You will also notice that I have set the Action Center to Selection and aligned the Work Plane to the selection of those verts you see hi-lited.
Sounds simple, right? Well, if you just copy/paste all the verts, it won't work. First you have to deselect them in the new layer, and then painstakingly re-select them in a counter-clockwise rotation. It's hard to see them, so I turned off the Show Work plane, in Visibility Options under the style mode selector (where you choose wireframe or open GL). I also turned on Show Vertices, in the same menu, but that was after I snapped this shot:
I'm working my way around the inside edge of the bowl, and it's much easier now that I've adjusted those settings. Ah, here that sharp edge I'm talking about. I'll fix that when I build the actual bowl, once I've stopped making obvious mistakes.
Moving around to the outside verts now, and hitting the "P" key.
After this I Thicken the polygon just enough to comfortably cross any of the curves of the hull, then I move it to straddle the hull, which id the darker line in the front view. I also give all the cutouts of a particular type, a unique color to set them apart. Violet for the Bowl cutouts.
That makes two, Ooops! I screwed up the first one. Have to do it over. Oh, if you have trouble with the thicken tool, as I have periodically,, just copy/paste the polygon over itself and move the copy up to where you want it. That's what happened to this first one I did. On the next page, you see the red cutouts for the recessed portion of the configuration. The purple one is so well made that it is completely hidden by the bowl.
Message edited by LeonArtO3D on 3/10/2011 - 1:02 PM