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Rigging Landing Gear

SchimpfySchimpfy331 Posts: 0Member
So, how do I do it? I've looked for tutorials to rig landing gear and the closest I've come is robotic arms. Maybe that'll work, but I haven't figured it out yet.

If you look at the attached pic I drew a VERY crude diagram of the gear I'm talking about. A few things of note: the purple circle is the main pivot point, the light blue circle is a sliding pivot the retracts down the green track as the gear retracts and the yellow block is the landing pad.

I feel like I'm missing something really simple, but I am getting so aggravated I'm about to throw my computer through the window.
Post edited by Schimpfy on


  • japmejapme12 Posts: 0Member
    you'll need some plugin that is capable of "complex" mechanical animations... I'm pretty sure that there plenty of them out there, unfortunately i am not familiar with any of them, by name...

    or what you could do, is replace that sliding mini-leg, with a "gear"

    hope this helps a little
  • MelakMelak332 Posts: 0Member
    The robotic arm thing might work, however you could probably simplify it by using the Reaction Manager instead.
    Look it up in the max help, theres a pretty good guide that should get you started :)

    You'd end up with something like this...

    When blue pivot is (here), the leg should be (there).
    When blue pivot is (there), the leg should be (here).
    Then you can move the blue pivot (or use a slider object, or whatever) to blend between these states.

    I learned about this after looking at madkoifish's release shuttle mesh. Double thanks to MKF!

    Hope I didn't confuse you too much, can't think straight...need to sleep :P
  • D.M.J.D.M.J.0 Posts: 0Member
    I don't know what program you're using, but in Maya what Melak is suggesting is called a "driven key", and it sounds better than the way I'd do it.

    I'd probably do something like set up a skeleton for the main part of the leg, constrain orient the foot so that it remains flat, make another chain for the piston assembly and make the end of it a child of the main leg's root bone, and use an IK leg-type solver to make it bend...

    But I prefer Melak's way.
  • spudmonkeyspudmonkey0 Posts: 0Member
    Sounds like you are doing something similar to this

    3ds max 9 mechancial rig? - Threedy Forums

    If you apply the same principle then it should work nicely
  • citizencitizen171 Posts: 0Member
    I actually did it through a combination of keyframing and Forward Kinematics, that I was going to set up as a scripted action:
    DragonFly Landing Gear
  • MelakMelak332 Posts: 0Member
    With bones, you still have to keyframe them by hand, or use a spline as a guide for one or something.
    If you use the reaction manager to define two (or more) states, you just need to move them one time (or more) and can control it by a simple slider in your viewport.

    IMHO it's a very elegant solution, also easy to set up.
  • SchimpfySchimpfy331 Posts: 0Member
    Old thread, same question, different setup.

    That, and I'm having issues with the Reaction Manager in Max.

    Alright, in the attached pic you can see (somewhat) the motion I'm going for. There may or may not be a piston later on, but that doesn't really matter as it's really easy to get those linked up. The goal is to attach a controller to the purple hardpoint that I can rotate causing the master link to rotate upward thereby pulling the slave link in which will pull the main gear leg in around the axis of the red hardpoint. Ideally, I'd like to use bones with an IK chain. It seems to be the simplest and most efficient method I've found online. My problem with that is when I rig the bones and add the IK chain I can rotate the master link but as soon as I get about 20* of rotation the rest of the bones start rotating in different axes.

    If the Reaction Manager is really easy to use and I'm just being a dunce I'll use it, but I'll need a good walkthrough on how to do it.
  • SchimpfySchimpfy331 Posts: 0Member
    Okay. So I've managed to get the bones rigged and get the rotation mostly right. My last issue is that about halfway through the motion there is slight "wobble" toward the end of the chain and adding constraints doesn't fix it.
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    I know how this sort of thing could be done in blender, using constraints, I've started doing similar things with parts on my own models. What one can do is set it up so that "when object1 moves right by 50cm object 2 rotates by 45degrees", for example. It's a little fiddly but gives good results, it does require having built your landing gear mesh such that it has clearly defined angles and lengths though, so you can remember the distances and angles various parts must move through. There is also a constraint in blender which lets you make an object rotate about a chosen point to track another point, this too could be helpful here. With luck there might be an equivalent of blenders "constraints" in the software you use, I suspect it would be easier than trying to parent parts to "bones" or "chains".
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