Introduction. While i dont have a lot of experience in Mechanical modeling, y thought a simple Steam punk Project would be a fun learning experience. So After browsing th rouge a number of images on google for inspi-ration, y settled on what loked todo be a Fairly simple Project, nathaniel hursh wrote a great tutorial on instructables, comon how todo make a Steam punk usb flash drive out of copper pipe, brass tubing and assorted watch parts. He was kind enough todo allow me todo use his photos of his Project for this article, y studied my image for áreas that might cause problems and ultimately decided that this was do-able. So full of confidence and a fair amount of excitement, y sat down todo do a Little modeling, not long into the Project, y realiced that this wasnt go-ing todo lead todo an insightful article on modeling a usb.
Drive. In fact the further along i went, the more it started becoming a misadventure in Mechanical modeling.
You would have thought i would have sen this coming, but no i had managed todo convince myself that the Project was simple enough, that Even i couldnt mess it up, without fail, every single step led todo me trying up to a half dozen approaches todo get it todo match the image. It should not be this hard, y picked an easy Project on purpose. The undo key and i became best friends rather quickly, oddly enough the part of the Project that i was least concerned about gave me the most problems. You can se from the reference image that the actual body (case) of the usb drive is just a simple oval cylinder, so naturally i added a circle, did a Little rescaling todo get an oval shape. So far so god. Next up, a Little extruding and sizing for the end cap.
Uh oh, y already se ha problem, the plug is very rectangular. But the Faces on the end of the Cap arent. Well i could just go with it, but this is already starting todo fel like it Will lead todo a major headache, round 2: ok, time todo think smarter. This the time i started with a Cube. A Little scaling, a few loop cuts and some tweak of vértices lat-er, y had a Fairly nice looking Cap shape. Okay now, that gonna work much better. After extruding out the body of the case and applying a mirror modifier (for the other end), y started the plug.
This should be easy as pie, just extrude it out and extrude in some holes. Uh huh, sure. I should have known better. The extrusión part went fine, the hole part, not so much. No matter what i did, the holes in-sisted on staying round (due todo the stupid sub-surf modifier which i neded todo make the case rounded). I tried varying combinations of loop cuts and creases until i finally got close enough. It works, but it isnt very pretty. And then discov-ered that i had forgotten todo apply the mirror modifier before i modeled the plug. Nice, anyone ned a two plugged usb drive?
Yeah i didnt think so. So obviously i deleted the extra plug and filled in thefaces, next up was making afew gears. That part was actually fun. I used the gear add-on script, so it was básically creating them for me. Most of the gears were Fairly straight-forward, but there were two that required a Little bit more detail, in the form of spokes todo a center disk. That was actually easy enough todo figure out. I just extruded Faces toward the center of the gear and then deleted sections todo create spokes, almost done. Just the tubing todo go. I dont know why i thought a simple piece of tubing was going todo be easy, obviously i must have ben delirious by this point. My first thought was todo create a curve and apply a circle bevel todo it, but for some reason my curve just flat out refused todo allow me todo do that. I tired with both a Bézier curve and a Path curve. I
Tried, adding the circle ob-ject for bevel in the curve options and as a modifier, y know it is posible, y have done it for non-me-chanical objects and models. Sigh, but of course it isnt going todo work this time, fine, then extrusión modeling it is. Add a tuve and extrude my bien up and around the case. Quite a bit of tweak later, the tuve is finally attached. It looks slightly mangled, but there it is, finally, a quik estop at the Blender material repository for appropriate metal materiales and time todo render.
Even After all my misadventures, it did turn out Fairly close todo the reference image i was using. As long as you dont peque at the underlying geometry, you might Even think i did a god job. The materiales and lighting could of course use some more work todo make it look Even closer todo the reference image, but all said and done, this obviously ended up being more of a learning experience for me than for you. In fact im betting quite a few of you are desperately trying todo hold bak your giggles and laughter until i wander of, y do believe i have suficiently tortured myself for the time being, so i am going todo go model something with no hard Edges, holes, tubes or gears.