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lrm

3ds Max Mechanism Tutorial

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lrm

Hi Guys,

 

I just completed this tutorial on rigging the mechanism for an excavator. This has been a tasks that has challenged me for awhile. There were a few gotcha's that took me awhile to resolve but I think this video should answer several questions for the Max newbie who's trying to animate a mechanism. I was hoping to make it shorter but there's a lot to cover. ~lrm

 

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tzframpton

Such a fantastic tutorial lrm, thank you for sharing. The best thing I learned from this was the multiple coordinate systems in the drop down on the Ribbon. Had no idea about that and it's been right in front of me all this time.

 

I made a commitment to myself to leave AutoCAD and jump into 3ds Max and tutorials like this give me so much inspiration in doing so. I do have one question though... when working in the view you primarily were in, the bones... are they connected to some common plane that "slices" down the center of the objects? Or do they simply align themselves with the pivot points? The one thing I struggle with most in Max is "where I'm at" in 3D space. I'm so used to a parametric 3D application where it's an absolute must to define a plane. There's no such thing as "free floating" objects that aren't connected to a plane like in AutoCAD. Can you shed some light on this?

 

Thank you again for the great lesson. :)

 

-TZ

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lrm

Tzframpton,

 

Thank you for the compliment. I am glad you liked the tutorial.

 

The one thing I struggle with most in Max is "where I'm at" in 3D space. I'm so used to a parametric 3D application where it's an absolute must to define a plane. There's no such thing as "free floating" objects that aren't connected to a plane like in AutoCAD. Can you shed some light on this?

 

 

Unlike AutoCAD and Inventor where you have an active work plane (UCS for AutoCAD) where screen pick are projected onto that plane, 3ds Max (as far as I know) does not have a similar feature. 3ds Max relies more on its object snap feature and active coordinate system for 3d navigation.

 

With all object snaps turned off screen picks are projected to the XY world plane no matter what coordinate system is active. If, for example, you want to draw some lines on the surface of a box that is skewed in space you might turn on 3D snap with a Face setting. Screen picks will snap to the surface of the face you pick. Try creating a wall (from the Create tab, AEC Extended), at a non-orthogonal orientation. Set 3D object snap to Edge/Segment and Face. Now add a casement window and pick and drag from the center of the wall along the wall then click and move the cursor up to create the window. If you have done it correctly you should be able to go to the Modify tab with the window selected and change the Open Window % and see that with the window open a hole has been made in the wall.

 

The 3ds Max coordinate system gizmos also help you navigate in 3D similar to relatively recent improvements in AutoCAD. With Move active the gizmo shows you the active coordinate system. Placing the cursor on the red X axis arrowhead limits move to the x direction, the gizmo box formed by the XZ axes will limit move in the XZ plane, if Local instead of View or World is selected, the object’s coordinates system (as defined by the pivot) will be used.

 

I made sure that the cylinders for the excavator were aligned to a principal axis in AutoCAD before importing them to Max since the default orientation of an imported AutoCAD object’s pivot is define by AutoCAD’s WCS. 3ds Max pivots can be changed but I find it easier to set the orientation in AutoCAD rather than Max for imported geometry.

 

For my excavator I made sure that all geometry was symmetric with the vertical XZ world plan. I then repositioned all the pivots (with Hierarchy, Affect Pivot Only) so they had an appropriate XZ coordinate (e.g., at the center of where a link would rotate) and a Y value of 0.0.

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lemaigroup

video quite complete and detailed.

Thank you very much for your LRM

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