Back to blogging, in this case continuing with solid modeling. As I said before, there may be little to say about the Extrusion command for advanced users, but some of you may find this interesting, and I would also recommend it to anyone that has not seen the enhancements after 2007.
The Extrusion command has an option called Direction. It can be accessed from the command prompt or by right clicking and getting to the in canvas menu (after having selected the profile and started the extrusion).
Why do we have that option? If you have a situation where instead of needing to do an extrusion along the normal of the profile, you need to do it along a certain direction, you would have two ways to do it. The long one is to draw a path and then select Path in the Extrude options. But if you have references that can be snapped, and the path is straight, then Direction is much easier, since you just need to select the first and last point of the direction of a non existent path.
Let's say you have two pillars, and need to create a reinforcement along the diagonal. These would be the steps:
In this case, I already have the pillars, and the profile to be extruded diagonally is already drawn next to the left pillar.
Once the Extrude command starts and we select the profile, if we right click or hit enter, the profile will try to extrude along the normal (in this case, vertically). That's when we right click and get to the in canvas menu, where we'll select Direction.
So, what points should I choose in order to get this result? Since the profile was a rectangle with half the width than the pillar, the first point to choose will be the profile's vertex coincident with the midpoint at the bottom of the left pillar. The second point will be the vertex at the top of the right pillar as shown in screen. It's quite obvious, since we need to select two points that will generate a path for the profile to move along.
That was easy! No more auxiliary lines for these situations. Just two clicks!
Now, we may need to edit the extrusion. Let's check its properties.
In the properties palette, under Solid Type, we see Extrusion, and we can change height and taper angle. In this case, height will be a vector along the path formed by the two points selected. Looks quite obvious, but in following postings, we'll see that an extrusion is not always such when we check the solid type. But I'm not going to steal my own thunder.
If we select the extruded object, we'll also see the grips that control the profile and the one for the height. As usual, this means that we can use direct manipulation in order to change the shape of the rectangle (as long as we keep four vertices, this works - meaning you can't add a new vertice), or we can also change its height by clicking on the control at the top of the extrusion and simply moving the mouse (or you can also type a specific distance).
And that's it.
You may wonder if there's a difference with making a path. We'll check that in the next post.