Boolean woes, looking for alternatives.

Hi, I and a semi experienced user with a modelling puzzle that I hope some more advanced techniques can solve. I toyed with blender years ago, but haven’t used anything other than maya for quite a while and am just getting back into the swing of things.

I need to create a flower of life pattern for someone, it needs to be mathematically accurate, and I need it to be merged into a single object so it can be cleanly deformed over a dome shaped frame. Here is what the pattern looks like:

My theory was to overlay toruses to create my desired form (the flower of life pattern is simply a series of intersecting circles after all), then boolean them together and fix the terrifying topology that results. However, after it took me 20 minutes to clean a single merge, I realized I would be at it for days. Are there any advanced techniques that might allow me to speed up this work? Perhaps some form of duplication+merging since the pattern does repeat itself quite a lot over the entire shape? Or a multi object boolean, or something?

Here are my my toruses all laid out, in case my description was confusing.


There are only four kinds of intersections, so in this case it makes sense to model these manually and copy them to their proper locations.

To model these intersections I would use a mirror modifier to reduce the amount of modelling needed. For the most complex intersection (a bit of a nightmare) the mirror modifier can be set to all three cardinal axes. To find the locations for the vertices on the mirror planes I would, for each torus:

  • (1) add a plane as a separate object and place it on the mirror plane and
  • (2) with the torus selected, set the snap tool to closest face with “Project individual elements” enabled.
  • (3) Align the view to an edge in the torus (Shift+Num7) and
  • (4) grab the vertices to have them projected onto the plane.
    By creating separate transform orientations for each torus, the last grab action can be reduced to only the local Z axis (G, Z, Z).

Not an easy task, but that wasn’t what you asked for. :slight_smile:

In Released Scripts and Themes there is a thread called,
CAD Addon: Edge Tools (blender 2.5x).

Is helpful for precise intersection of vertices.
You might want to get that if you don’t already.
Hope that helps in some way.

Thanks to both of you! Yes the intersections! Im not sure why I didn’t think of it in terms of that before. Ill look into that script too.