How to make a chain link fence

In this tutorial I’ll try to explain how to make a chain link fence. Car grilles and repetitive stuff like that can also be made like this.
EDIT: Blend file is on message #5 and in Blendswap

First I looked for a picture of a chain link fence that was clear enough, and used it as a background in the 3D view. The first task is to find the repetitive pattern and model it.

I started creating an hexagon (6 side circle) and extruded it to follow the path of the fence.
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/7052/22341871.th.png

Then I mirrored the shape (duplicate, then scale X -1) to make a link:
http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/112/82318606.th.png

After having a link, I duplicated it several times, and joined it to make one single mesh. Using vertex snap makes this really easy, as you can see in this two step screenshot:
http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/916/90897437.th.png

I duplicated it several times. For me it’s easier to work like this, I’ll erase whatever I don’t need later. Try to be organized, move stuff around on the same axis, and use the numpad to enter the same numbers each time. Using the mouse to move things around may lead to a poor loop.
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/7005/69963988.th.png

Now, to make the repetitive pattern, we need to cut the sample that’s going to be repeating. Use the cut tool and make a vertical cut.
http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/2751/41526686.th.png

The next step is to move the part you just cut to the right, so you get a looping sample of your fence. Get rid of the extra piece of fence. It should look something like this:
http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/3267/92834115.th.png

Let’s test our loop. Set up some array modifiers, and you should get something that this. Notice how I set the modifiers in the next screenshot. I’m using relative offsets, and merging vertices that coincide. I you have a subsurf modifier, feel free to move it to the bottom and to the top of the modifier stack, to see what happens:
http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/1474/88362471.th.png

Make the fence as big as you want, but be careful, since polygon count will go up fast, specially if you enabled subsurf.

Now we want to give our fence a shape to make it more realistic. Create a lattice:
http://img504.imageshack.us/img504/9312/45091357.th.png

Create a lattice deformation modifier for the fence. A 2D lattice will work ok and keep things simple, if you don’t need much deformation. If you want the fence to make a curve, you might need a 3D lattice:
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/84/70397779.th.png

I noticed the top and bottom parts of the fence don’t look real. The good thing about using modifiers is that you always keep your original mesh.
Since I only want to edit the top and bottom links, I will apply the vertical array. My mesh will now be a vertical strip of links, but I will be able to modify the top and bottom ones without affecting the rest.
This is how I closed the top link:
http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/3545/81342092.th.png

And then I created a cylinder that goes through it:
http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/9694/28605112.th.png

The horizontal span of my new cylinder should be exactly the same as the width of the mesh. If it’s shorter, it won’t link. If it’s longer, it will mess all the fence.
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/8531/98098164.th.png

I did the same for the bottom link:
http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/3194/17834104.th.png

Finally I decided to add depth to my 2D lattice, to make deformation more accurate. I also added a couple posts:
http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4027/40570679.th.png

Nice. Thanks alot.

Agreed, very nice. This should go somewhere so it won’t be lost…It’s a very common thing to want to model. Maybe a sticky? Anyone else have an idea?

This looks great!

Would you consider sharing the blend file of the repeating chain link? I just recently uploaded a Hexagon car grill repeating pattern to blendswap.com. Here’s the link http://www.blendswap.com/3D-models/misc-objects/honeycombpattern_comeinandburn/

I think it would be a great idea for blender users to start sharing patterns the same way that people do in Illustrator or Photoshop.

just an idea…

It was my intention to share the blend file, but I forgot about it!
I attached it to this message. I also removed the textures to make the file smaller.

Attachments

fence.blend (421 KB)

Would you mind if I uploaded it to blendswap in your name?

This way it won’t get lost in a forum some where.

I was going to, but instead I sent them a message referring to this post to see if they would like to make a “loop patterns” section.
When I get an answer I will post it. Thank you anyway :slight_smile:

Posted!

http://www.blendswap.com/3D-models/looping-patterns/chain-link-fence/

How useful! Thank you for this tutorial. I like how you used a simple and practical approach. I like the irregularities at the joints that give it a welded and stressed appearance. Now, all it needs is some corrosion and other stuff to dirty it up.

wow…this looks awesome! This is nice that when i am trying to cope up with blender i am getting this forum help…

Thank you for your nice comments :slight_smile:

Hey, I’m new at Blender. I did some tutorials before but I don’t get how this works :confused:
When I duplicate the single part of the fence and when I try to scale it on the x-axis it flips to the other side and keeps the same size :o
I hope someone can help me please?

I’m afraid I don’t understand your problem. Scaling should always be smooth, unless you’re using a grid magnet, for example. Does shift+tab fix the problem?

I can’t find my last post? :o

I think it got lost somewhere … :stuck_out_tongue:
Okay anothertime: SHIFT+TAB didn’t worked for me :confused:
But my problem is: if i press S for scale then X to scale along the X-axis an then press “-1” the part of the fence just flips around :o
It doesn’t even gets smaler… I don’t know what I am doing wrong :frowning:

… its supposed to. Your supposed to duplicate first though…

Kudos for trying to help, but that post was 1.5 years ago. He’s probably moved on by now.