# modelling line and stringer construction

Hello to all. I’m pretty new to the 3d modelling game. I play with modelling a few minutes every couple months or so, and I have for years, but I haven’t done enough to really know what I’m doing. I could really use some help on my modelling techniques.

I’m trying to model a car that will be built using what’s known as “line and stringer construction”. The body consists of many long panels that only curve in one direction and are completely flat in the other. Compound curves are approximated using multiple panels that meet at the edges. To understand what I’m talking about, imagine a drink bottle that looks like a perfect octogon when viewed from above. When viewed from the side, it looks like the classic “Coke” bottle shape. Hot air balloons are built the same way, with many long flat pieces of fabric sewed together to approximate a round shape. These long body panels will stretch from the front of the car all the way to the rear of the car with many panels edge to edge from one side of the car to the other.

I’ve usually only played around with meshes, but from what I know of curves, it seems like this type of model would really lend itself well to using curves. I can create the right curves easily by building them on top of profile drawings (side view and top view), but I don’t know where to go from there. What I need is to extrude the curves infinitely, creating a curvy plane if you will, then find the volume that is defined by the interior of these combined curvy planes. I can build panels by extruding rectangles along curves, but I still don’t know how to combine them into a single object. If I convert them all to meshes and use boolean operations on them, the resulting meshes are of poor quality, containing very long, narrow polygons and extraneous vertices. Not to mention this is a really akward process. There must be an easier way.

I’m still trying to sort out what you are asking, but I recall a post, that got quite a few replies, that was an inquiry as to what would be the best way to model a hot air balloon. Maybe you can fid something helpful in that thread. If you do a search for hot air balloon I’m sure you’ll find it. ( can’t remember if baloon is spelled with 1 or 2 l’s though, grr )