This tutorial is for those who are interested in geodesic
structures. It is easy to follow and is well suited for beginners
who want to try their hand at simple geometric modeling.
A bucky ball is a polyhedron that always has 12 pentagons, and 20
or more hexagons. For a more concrete example, a soccer ball can be
classified as a frequency three bucky ball. My model of the time travel
device from the TV series Seven Days is also based on
This tutorial requires an external plugin, which can be found on my
plugins page or Wings3D-Plugins.zip. Follow the
easy steps below to model a bucky ball (v0.98.20b)
- Create a geodome. This primitive can be found under
More in the object creation menu. Make sure to click on
the option box and enter the values shown in this image. Keep in mind that
bucky balls can only be created from icosahedron-based domes
with frequencies that are divisible by three. So make sure to
select a resolution of 3, 6, 9, 12, etc. in the Resolution
box. Use 6 for this example.
- Create 12 pentagons. Select the vertices (12 in total) at the
center of each pentagon. If you are having trouble visualizing
Select>By>Vertices With>5 edges
from the Select menu. Now simply delete or collapse them.
- Now we need to select and delete the vertices at the center of
each hexagon. Since there are 110 of them, you may think that a lot
of tedious mouse clicking needs to be done. Here's where Wings3D's
powerful range of selection tools—especially
Select>Similar—comes into play.
- Create 60 hexagons. Select one vertex directly across from an
edge of any pentagon. Then press 'I' to automatically select 60
verts. Now delete them. If you did this correctly, you should start
to see the basic shape: 12 pentagons, each one surrounded by 6
- Create 30 hexagons. Select one vertex that is exactly halfway
between any two pentagons. Then press 'I' and the readout should
state "30 vertices selected." Refer to the screen shot in step 1.
Delete these and we're almost done.
- Create 20 hexagons. Select any vertex that has 6 edges
emanating from it (there's no menu option available for this
selection), press 'I' to select all 20 similar verts, then delete
or collapse them.
So now you have a frequency 6 bucky ball. At this point, you can
select and triangulate or quadrangulate all faces to see some
interesting patterns emerge. You can also select similar faces,
edges, or verts and apply vertex colors. And just for practice, you
should try to make a high resolution ball by using a higher
frequency. I've gone as high as 18.
An alternate method exists that allows for any frequency. First,
disable the Spherize option. Then bevel all edges to the
maximum extent and inflate all verts to 100%.
If you found this useful, I would appreciate any comments or
suggestions. And let me know if there are any errors or omissions.