Quick instructions on how to position the Assembly Facility arms.
I added Inverse Kinematics to make this easier. This means that when you rotate one part of an arm, the rest moves with it. The original .PRJ version by Eric Peterson doesn't have this feature, so this tutorial won't apply to that one. Use the 3DS or MAX mesh on my page for this tutorial. This doen't mean this mesh is mine; it's Eric Petersons. The Enterprise-C mesh is Jörg Gerlachs. Ofcourse you can use any ship you like, but a ship with a round saucer section works best.
I also suggest you group the ship mesh together and the McKinly station together, so you can easily switch between them, without having to pick out all the parts. Practically all MAX files on my page are already grouped. This tutorial assumes you have some experience in 3DSMAX, but I'll try to explain everything in enough detail to make it understandable to beginners as well.
Place the ship under the station. Make sure it about fits (saucer in the larger, round section ofcourse).
To ease things out, select the ship, right click it and select properties. There uncheck everything in the display box, and check Draw as boxes. The ship will now not be drawn in detail, which speeds things up and makes the station easier to see. But to position the arms around the nacelles, we'll have to see those in detail. So select the nacelles, and set their display properties back to Backface cull and Edges only. This has been done for the left nacelle only in the next picture.
Now we'll start with the aft arms (the ones at the nacelles). You can do those two by pairs (assuming the nacelles are equal width). Select the innermost parts of the arms on one side. and rotate them in the front view. It's done for a part in the next image. Also note the ship has been drawn as boxes exept for the nacelle.
Rotate the first one (selected here) a bit, then go on
with the second, rotate that one a bit, and go on again.
You'll see that the rest of the arm will always go along.
You'll get the hang of it in a second. Then you can do
the right side, and the two horizontal arms along the
saucer section. The 4 others are next:
To easily rotate the diagonal arms along the saucer, we're going to rotate the entire scene 45 degrees. Use the mouse to drag a square around the entire scene to select all objects. Then click the rotate icon. Select the top view, and right click the rotate icon. In the Z area, enter 45. After you press enter, it'll disappear again, but the scene will have turned 45 degrees.
Now the arms that were diagonal are horizontal and vertical. Rotate them just like you did with the other arms: The ones that are horizontal can be moved again in the Front (op Back) view, the ones that are vertical can be moved in the Left or Right view. It's easiest to select the right arm in the top view, and then rotate it in the others. Look at the numbers of the arms. They're always numbered arm-?-?-?1 through arm-?-?-?5, the question marks varying with the arm selected. So it's easy to just pick one part of an arm (an easily clickable one) and use Select by name from the edit menu to work them from inside out (?1 is inside, ?5 is outside).
After rotating these last arms, you're finished! Get some
camera's in, some nice lights, maybe a planet (McKinley
station orbits Earth in Star Trek -- although this is not
McKinley, it looks like it), and you're ready!
Tutorial made on 03-10-1998 (dd-mm-yyyy) by Erik Timmermans.
Copyright (C) 1998 Erik Timmermans.
The Enterprise-C mesh used in the screenshots is (C) Jörg Gerlach. The McKinley station is (C) Eric Peterson.