Smoothing a textured surface

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Olle
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Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

I'm totally new to this, but I figure this is an easy one for those with more experience: I'm planning to make custom gun grips by modifying 3D laser scans, and the first thing I need to do is to remove the existing surface features. There are mainly two things I need to remove:

Checkering: This is cut into the surface of the grips, so if I use the smoothing tool I'll get a slightly recessed surface with some "ghosting". Is there a tool that will smooth only to the highest points of the texture, or do I need to somehow define and generate a new surface? Without much previous experience of 3D modelling, I can only describe it in woodworking terms: What I want to do is kinda like what you would get if you spread putty across the checkering to smooth it out.

Medallions, screw holes, escutcheons etc: These features can be either flush, recessed or slightly protruding, so I figure the best way to remove them is to cut them out and replace/fill with a new surface.

Hope this makes sense, and I also hope it's something that's easily done. :wink:

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Mike-S
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Mike-S »

Try these settings:
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Mike,

Thanks, that seems to work! The edges are still a bit iffy though, some careful work with the "undo brush" will re-define the bottom edges (inside corner), but I would also need to sharpen the upper edge (see picture). Is there any way you can create a new surface by defining a number of points (like selecting high spots in the checkering, drawing splines etc)? The smoothing seems to be just the ticket for the main surface, but it will obviously be very iffy to use around the perimeter.

The checkering is done on a raised pad on the surface, and what I'm trying to accomplish is a nicely defined pad with sharp edges so I can put my own carving on it.

Sorry, I'm am engineer so I love to do precise work. :wink:
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Grip smoothing 1.jpg

Olle
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

And by the way: The shape of the brush seems to be projected straight down in the Z-direction, which gives it an elongated shape like in the picture. Is there a setting that makes the brush maintain its shape and follow the surface?

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by mtylerfl »

Olle wrote:And by the way: The shape of the brush seems to be projected straight down in the Z-direction, which gives it an elongated shape like in the picture. Is there a setting that makes the brush maintain its shape and follow the surface?
Nope.

FYI...I would model the handgrip based on the scan, for absolute accuracy (not using the scan itself for actual carving). You can create multiple sweep profiles from the scan using the Measure Tool/Create Model Cross-Section feature, then use those profiles (after node cleanup) to create accurate contours for the grip (and use the modeling tools to create an area for custom carvings, drill locations and so on). That way you won't need to deal with divots, bad edges, a texture you don't want, etc., because you can model it as you like.

Watching the excellent tutorial videos will help you learn how.
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Olle
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

I have tools like that in my scanner software, it slices the object and generates splines. However, I can only export those as IGES or STEP, and I haven't found anything like that in Aspire yet. I can't say that I have watched all the tutorials, but I looked again and couldn't find anything about this.

Olle
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Really, "absolute accuracy" is not needed as far as the dimensions go. The accuracy I'm after is more in the visual appearance, like crisp corners, nicely rounded surfaces and such. Still, re-generating the checkered from splines could still be the best way to do it.

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by mtylerfl »

Olle wrote:Really, "absolute accuracy" is not needed as far as the dimensions go. The accuracy I'm after is more in the visual appearance, like crisp corners, nicely rounded surfaces and such. Still, re-generating the checkered from splines could still be the best way to do it.

I have tools like that in my scanner software, it slices the object and generates splines. However, I can only export those as IGES or STEP, and I haven't found anything like that in Aspire yet. I can't say that I have watched all the tutorials, but I looked again and couldn't find anything about this.
There's no such thing as "absolute accuracy" - especially in wood. Bad terminology on my part. I should have said you have control over the outcome (almost said "absolute control" which is another exaggeration!).

Anyway, Aspire can automatically derive a cross-section profile from your scan (or any other 3D model). I mentioned this already, but look in your Owner's Manual for the Measure Tool. There is a description there how you create a cross-section with it. Very easy to do. To use a cross section for a two-rail sweep, the cross section is rotated to a horizontal position and I trim off the horizontal "tails" after using them as a guide for rotating (sometimes I'll draw a horizontal vector to help as a guide). Then I will copy/paste a duplicate superimposed over the original. I will node edit the copy so the profile is nice and clean. The original is just a temporary guide during this process so I am sure to follow the contour reasonably well. After that, I'll delete the original or place it on another layer to keep it as a "spare".

Make as many profiles as needed for your two-rail sweep(s). Usually just a couple or so. Make an outline of the grip to use for trimming the model neatly. This can be auto-traced from the scan and cleaned up (node editing again) or you can manually draw a nice outline using your scan as your guide (fewer nodes, less cleanup when drawn manually).

Hope this helps. There are a LOT of tutorials to watch. Each one will make things clearer as you go. Here's a basic two-rail sweep tutorial: http://support.vectric.com/tutorials/V8 ... 3DMOD.html

Oh, I have a question! What 3D Scanner are you using?
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Olle
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Well, I have been using a consultant to do my 3D-work, and I have always told him: "don't spend two hours on something I can fix in two seconds with sandpaper". And here I am, trying to create the perfect 3D model myself... :mrgreen:

I had to leave the Aspire work to do some "real" work, the problem with learning new software is that I gotta put food on the table at the same time. I think I can follow what you're saying though. I have used the sweep function in other programs, but they were limited to one profile sweeping along one vector. I assume that Aspire can sweep along several vectors while at the same time changing the profile, thus creating the rounded/tapered/curved shape needed for this?

I used a NextEngine scanner with a 3D turntable to generate the model, it took a while to learn how to set up the object, plan the scanning process and finally arrive at a clean model, but I think I got the hang of it now. You have to stitch it together from several scans, align them, delete bad areas and keep the good ones, so it can be pretty tedious if you want it to be accurate. It takes some practice, but the models seem to come out good enough for what I'm doing. They seem to be true to scale as well.

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Ok, had to get back to the computer to see if I can figure it out... Just to make it more complicated, this is a compound shape on top of another shape (a raised pad protruding from a curved surface, see picture), so it would probably help would be to trim the model so only the checkered area remains, then sweep the contours across the XY plane. With that done, I could just put the swept object "inside" the model and be done with it.

To do this, I need to draw an outline around the checkered area, but it seems like you can't draw vectors in the 3D view and the grey shading in the 2D view is too faint to really work as a guide. In another program I have used you can toggle the 3D view to "straight above" and simply trace details straight through the model and on to the XY plane, which makes it very easy to add "helper vectors" for different purposes (like trimming, adding an extra toolpath and so on). Can this be done in Aspire? Or is there a way to make the shadowing in the 2D view more pronounced?
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Grip smoothing 2.jpg

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by martin54 »

If you select the grey scale model & right click you will get a fly out menu, select object properties & you can alter the amount of fading when the object isn't selected :lol: :lol:

Rather than scan grips & then try to alter them would it not easier for you to create your own from scratch ??
You may also find that you can get a plain model you could add your own detail to by doing a search on the internet. Have a search on the forum as well as there are a few people making gun grips.

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Sweet, turning the fading down to 0% is definitely better! Is there a way to draw vectors in the 3D view as well, maybe even 3D vectors?

I could possibly try and create something from scratch, but I have planned to make accurate reproductions of obsolete grips so I need to learn how to work with scans. Measuring and reverse engineering them would be pretty complicated, especially the "organic" shapes of revolver grips. I collect WWI-WWII handguns and I'm already machining some reproduction parts for them, so it would be nice to add a line of repro grips.

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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by mtylerfl »

Olle wrote:Sweet, turning the fading down to 0% is definitely better! Is there a way to draw vectors in the 3D view as well, maybe even 3D vectors?

I could possibly try and create something from scratch, but I have planned to make accurate reproductions of obsolete grips so I need to learn how to work with scans. Measuring and reverse engineering them would be pretty complicated, especially the "organic" shapes of revolver grips. I collect WWI-WWII handguns and I'm already machining some reproduction parts for them, so it would be nice to add a line of repro grips.
You're getting there, good job. You still need to take some time and watch more tutorials, although we are happy to answer your questions (but, you will likely have fewer questions after watching more videos). Hard to resist jumping right in and doing stuff isn't it? I know where you're coming from. I have had the tendency to do that with new software too. More often than not, after totally confusing myself in software I'm not used to, I'll stop and watch tutorials for the next few days.
:D

BTW, I also have the NextEngine Scanner. Been using it for years and love it! I demoed it at the Vectric User Group at Jim McGrews this year. During one of the breaks, I scanned a doughnut with a bite taken out of it (at Michael Mezalick's prompting!). Folks were impressed with it's ease of use and quality output. Imported the STL into Aspire and showed it during my "official" presentation on a lark. (Laid out both the top and bottom halves to carve and glue together for a full doughnut.)
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Olle
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by Olle »

Yeah, when you have to learn while you're trying to make a living you have to kinda jump straight into it and do whatever you can to crank out results! I'll definitely check out all the videos, but I would feel more comfortable doing it once I have this one ready and the CNC humming in the background. :wink:

In any case, I believe I have made some progress: I drew the outline of the checkered area, and used it to split the model in two: The grip panel now has a hole punched in it, and there is a checkered "puck" sitting right next to it. I used your instructions to create two end profiles of the puck, so I believe I have everything needed to do the sweep. I did a few extra profiles along the way, but I'll save those until I have the "sweeping 101" out of the way.

Now I just have to figure out how to split the outline exactly at the corners, so I can use the curves as rails. I had to join them to be able to split the model, and forgot to make a copy.
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Grip smoothing 3.jpg

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mtylerfl
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Re: Smoothing a textured surface

Post by mtylerfl »

Olle wrote:Yeah, when you have to learn while you're trying to make a living you have to kinda jump straight into it and do whatever you can to crank out results! I'll definitely check out all the videos, but I would feel more comfortable doing it once I have this one ready and the CNC humming in the background. :wink:

In any case, I believe I have made some progress: I drew the outline of the checkered area, and used it to split the model in two: The grip panel now has a hole punched in it, and there is a checkered "puck" sitting right next to it. I used your instructions to create two end profiles of the puck, so I believe I have everything needed to do the sweep. I did a few extra profiles along the way, but I'll save those until I have the "sweeping 101" out of the way.

Now I just have to figure out how to split the outline exactly at the corners, so I can use the curves as rails. I had to join them to be able to split the model, and forgot to make a copy.
Very good! As far as making rails from those vectors, make copies first and move them out of the way or put them on a new layer and make that layer invisible. You will want the closed vector for trimming the model later. After that's done, make sure you verify your original layer is active.

Select the vector you want to make rails from and use the node editing tool to delete the vector section(s) not needed. (Hover on the vector and hit the letter "d" on your keypad.) You will find you need to extend the vectors beyond the endpoints of the "short ends". You can do that by drawing a vector more or less perpendicular to the short vectors and a little beyond the longest vector at each end of the sweep rails. Use the extend vector tool to lengthen the short vectors.
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