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Rectangular Winding around a torroid in 3D Studio Max 2011
show user profile  zyxel
What would be the most efficient way of modeling a rectangular winding over a toroid (also a rectangular cross section) made with round wire ?
See the image in my gallery.

I would like to be able to easily vary the following parameters without redrawing everything:
- core proportions,
- number of windings (e.g. hundreds),
- wire diameter,
- wire distance from the toroid,
- wire turn radius around the core edges.

I was able to do it in other3D modeling software but I run into an insurmountable obstacle.
Namely, as I was attempting to decrease the inner diameter of the core (and winding) the wire diameter did not stay constant. It decreased as it got closer to the center of the core :/
read 557 times
11/17/2011 1:22:04 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 1:22:04 AM)
show user profile  jareu
I was thinking about this just today. There's gotta be a way of making a script to generate the kind of spline required. Otherwise, maybe adding some clever modifiers onto a helix and having it follow a circular spline path would do it?

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 545 times
11/17/2011 2:15:57 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 2:15:57 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Use the 'Clone' modifier.

The plugin is available from

It is very similar to the built-in Array function that comes with Max, but is parametric in its design and a lot more customizable. Have a play around with it, should do what you want unless I'm over simplifying your problem.
read 538 times
11/17/2011 2:33:55 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 2:33:55 AM)
show user profile  jareu
I worked it out, but you will have to redraw it for each type if you want different types.
You need to know:

width and height of the rectangular cross-section of the toroid
the radius of the bends on the corners (fillet radius)
how many windings
the spacing between the windings

From this, create a chamfer box with the width height and fillet radius as mentioned above.
slice both ends of it off with slice modifier.

convert to edit poly, select one outer border/edge and create a shape from it.

delete original chamfer box

convert shape to editable spline, select which segment will be the innermost side, divide by three.

press the 'S' key to enable snap.drag the bottom vertex and snap it to the middle one. select both and weld together. drag and snap top vertex to middle vertex, do not weld.. Select middle segment (which should be inbetween the two vertices, but should have a length of 0). Press Delete. switch to a side on view.

Select one of the middle vertices. enable soft selection. enable edge distance and increase the number until either the top two corners or the bottom two corners are selected (based on which vertex you selected)

adjust soft selection until you have a smooth gradient over the corners and then right click the vertex and click the box next to 'move' for the X value (Offset) enter half of the distance between winds multiplied by -1. eg, if you have 6mm between winds, enter -3.

select the other middle vertex, bring up the move type-in box like before. enter just half of the distance between winds, eg for 6mm enter 3.

go to object select mode. go Tools-> array

create a copy array with the number of winds as the count and the distance between winds as your X value. press ok.

click one of the winds, in edit poly, click attach, and select all the other winds. drag a selection box around all the middle vertixes and click weld.

Center the pivot, switch to top view

add a bend modifier
choose Z for bend axis. enter 360 for the angle.

Add a renderable spline modifier with the radius of the wire.


[edit] you may need to shift the bend modifier gizmo to the closest outer edge of the object to get the right diameter.

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 532 times
11/17/2011 3:03:50 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 3:35:08 AM)
show user profile  zyxel

It will take me a while to digest that
read 529 times
11/17/2011 3:06:59 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 3:06:59 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Jamie, you ever heard of Jing? It turns your wall of text into a beautiful flash format that is easy on the eyes :p
read 518 times
11/17/2011 3:35:37 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 3:35:37 AM)
show user profile  jareu
yeah but at 4kb/s internet speed here in the office :/

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 516 times
11/17/2011 3:38:24 AM (last edit: 11/17/2011 3:38:24 AM)
show user profile  zyxel
There is nothing wrong with text.
However the method outlined above is complicated and inflexible as it requires redrawing.

In another 3D modeling software I was able to make the winding much simpler by creating 2 Donuts one above the other (cloned along the Z axis) and then rotating the outer and inner circumferences of the donuts separately around the Z axis (giving the circumferential vertexes angular offsets).

Then I Bridged the circumferences of the upper and lower Donut.
The Bridging created a rectangular toroid with its vertexes connected by edges in a rectangular spiral pattern (exactly what was needed!). Next I chamfered the toroid (to make it rounder) and selected the whole rectangular spiral with a single Loop Selection. I extracted this spiral as a separate object (a curve). Then I expanded the curve in all directions so it became bigger than the toroid. Finally I used this curve as Sweeping Path for a circular wire cross section.

Is it possible to do the same in 3DS and avoid the redrawing ?

Where can I find a decent screen capture software that will make well compressed avi, and lossless animated gif, apng, etc...?
read 495 times
11/17/2011 2:41:39 PM (last edit: 11/17/2011 2:41:39 PM)
show user profile  mrgrotey
Try this method. As long as you start the helix with way more turns than you will ever use then it seems to let you adjust the amount of turns afterwards with no problem. If you start with 10 and find you need 25 after then the selection goes wonky. So I started with 100.

NOTE: This doesnt include filleting the corners though. do that on a separate edit spline mod afterwards (I didn't try that).

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

read 481 times
11/17/2011 3:33:59 PM (last edit: 11/17/2011 3:33:59 PM)
show user profile  zyxel

That's the simplest way, I have seen so far. Thank you.

Can you suggest how to approach a related problem with the edit spline mod.
Imagine that the cross section of the toroid is not a square or rectangle, but some other complex shape.

How to edit the top view of the the helix spline so it conforms to this complex cross section of the core? ... and how to automatically make it a little bigger so it outlines the cross section of the core some distance from it.

I can do it manually by dragging around all these vertexes of the helix in the top view, but there must be a simpler way aligning and conforming the spline to the desired outline.
read 466 times
11/18/2011 12:48:06 AM (last edit: 11/18/2011 12:50:23 AM)
show user profile  Garp
Nice one, Mrg!

read 458 times
11/18/2011 4:23:09 AM (last edit: 11/18/2011 4:23:09 AM)
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