Quick way to add many bolts to metal plates


I want toadd bolts to plates (for an airplane). The plates differ in shape and size. The bolts will not be in the low poly mesh, but will be baked on a normal map. dDo is used for texturing so i need a color map.

I want to add ~200 bolts so I am searching for a quick way to do this.

some ways I thought it could be done:
-use brush texture to make a stamp. After adding the bolts I have to color each one. (maybe after baking normal map and use that as a reference in photoshop).
-sculpt holes, and add colored bolt objects, then combine the meshes.

Still, I think both ideas would cost me a lot of time. Is there a quicker way to add bolts to a model?

Thanks, A

If you want your bolt to be featured on the high poly in order to bake , you can try with the array modifier and play with the offsets for the space between the array-ed bolts so you don’t have to place all those bolts manually.

But using a bolt as a texture for painting is valid too, you can use the Line stroke method by example to paint your bolt in lines with the spacing set for making … space between them on your normal map



I want toadd bolts to plates (for an airplane).

Aircraft structure are mainly put together with counter sink rivets. The rivet heads are counter sunk to create smooth outer skin to reduce drag. At the beginning of WW2 some outdated aircraft were still using round head rivets. But that soon changed as aircraft speed increased. Counter sink screw are used for access doors.


Its best to use normal map for a texture like that.

In this case I would use floating geometry to create the counter-sunk rivets. Then bake it to a normal map.

Could also make a helper object and use a particle system.

From left, top down:

  • Hull
  • Copy of the hull, panel edges selected and split. Then offset with offset edges addon: move
  • Limited dissolve to reduce rivet count on some panels
  • Shrinkwrap modifier to place all vertices on top of the hull
  • Particle system, hair, emit from vertices
  • and particle system set to emit an object

Have to pay attention to rivet offsets for baking later. Particle system object can then be made real for that.

thanks for the info ridix.

I think I will try a combination of PyroGXPilots link (snapping) and Sanctuary’s array modifier.

The particle system… I dont really get how it works. Might look at it if the other method doesnt work out for me.

Thank you all for the ideas. If anyone has more ideas, please post!