Awkward Alignments

This is a technique I use to align anodes to the members of oil platform jackets. A lot of the time the members of a jacket are sloping at funny angles so the align tool won't be much use and the Normal Align tool is a bit too fiddley and not accurate enough.

The orange cylinder's bounding box is aligned to the world which makes it difficult to align the red box to it's surface.

Make sure 'AutoGrid' is ticked and create a box that sits on the end of the cylinder, it doesn't mater what size it is. Then set the coordinate system to 'Local' and use the align tool to center the box to the cylinder on the X and Y axis.

Convert the box into a poly object, then use attach to attach the cylinder to the box. The cylinder is now part of the box object and will inherit the co-ordinates from the box which was perfectly aligned to the original cylinder.

Go to the element sub-object mode and delete the box. You now have a cylinder with a correctly aligned bounding box.

Now it's a fairly easy job to align the anode box to the cylinder. Make sure that the coordinate system is set to local and use the align tool to align the anode to the cylinder.

Step 1 Align the X,Y and Z axis (it's important that you do this first), click 'Apply'

Step 2 Center the anode on the Y axis, click 'Apply'

Step 3 Align the anode along the X axis using max and min, this will put the anode on the surface of the cylinder. Click 'OK'

Note: You may be working with different axis depending on the orientation of your objects.

Now we need to rotate the anode around the center line of the cylinder.

Select the rotate tool.
Select 'Pick' from the coordinate drop down and click on the cylinder.
Select 'Use Coordinate Transform Center' (marked red).You can then rotate and duplicate the anode around the center of the cylinder.

Using the right coordinate system you can move, rotate and duplicate as many anodes on the cylinder as you need.