Cutting multiple (circular) holes in a flat N-gon

I’m trying to cut a whole bunch of 10-12-sided round holes in a flat panel, which is an N-gon. I tried using cylinders as Boolean subjects, but doing this triangulates and completely trashes my mesh. These holes must be shallow indentations for toggle switches to sit in, like in this picture:

Is there any method or tool in Blender that I have not yet discovered which would yield me a more manageable mesh? (Coming from 3ds Max, I used to use ProBoolean, which did this perfectly.)

You can’t cut holes in an n-gon in Blender, and you should be working with quads anyway if you’re creating a varied surface.

yes there is a remarkable tool called the knife tool. (K) what you do is you use it to cut your mesh into proper Quads and start modelling properly

Hmm. Well, here is an example of the mesh that I’m wanting to edit:

I’m sorry, but how in the world would I work with panels like these if they are all quads? Cris-crossing edges going right through where I want my holes to be. With all of those curved screw indentations and whatnot…

That’s a nice looking starting mesh all things considered. I would make the holes in place before converting Ngons to quads, but you will still have to connect the edge of each hole to another edge so as to have a continuous mesh, without any disconnected geometry. So you should have started with a panel divided into quads with intersections at least where you want each hole to be. Are you using 10-12 sided holes because you want them to be round? Better to use four sided circles - hmm :smiley: - and let the sub surf do the rounding. You will need the quads later to make good subsurface smoothing possible.

Yep can’t cut an ngon, can’t bend an ngon, can’t subdivide an ngon. What use is an ngon you ask? Good question. I personally have never even used the knife tool. I just add loop cuts where I need more geometry. I don’t see the point in using the knife tool, but unlike ngons I’m sure there is a very good reason to use it. You’ve got a great start there. Good luck.

I generally think of and use n-gons as a sort of mesh scaffolding. They are good for defining an area before I’ve finished the topology. But they’re never more than an intermediate step for me. You can get away with having a few in your mesh if they’re perfectly flat and don’t do anything, but otherwise they will either get in your way like in this example or they will cause shading problems.

See if this helps.

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add your four circles over the mesh and use them as guides to cut your mesh into suitable quads using the knife. other than using booleans that is the only way to put circles in now short of deleting the Ngon

I dont think it can be done in an Ngon, but there is a way to create such a surface without triangles or quads, or lots of triangles.
Just add a circle, but stay in edit mode; select all its points, then press D to duplicate the circle, or while staying in edit mode just add another circle through the menu. Do this for as many times you want. But dont leave edit mode, also add a square on top and bottom.
Next connect the circles so you get something like below you do this by selecting a 1 point from two circles and press F key

also connect the string of circles to the outer cube with a line by pressing F key

Now next step (for which i use circle select to select edges), i first select the center part to fill , these are parts of the circles i select not the whole circle, as this was devided by the previous created edges… then press F to create a surface
I repeat it one more time for the other edges and create again the field by pressing F, below you see the second area as still selected.
There are no quads and neither there are a bunch of triangles, while you could still select circle edges to extrude

Next on top and bottom of your circle grid add a square, but stay in edit mode dont leave edit mode.

it only makes me mad that i needed something like that a few weeks ago, and didnt think of it :frowning:
Instead i did boolean which was a huge pain since i had about 30 circles, it crashed to often.

Knife project.