Rotator Object

The rotator object creates a number of new objects by copying, rotating and translating its sample objects. For example, you can create the balls of a ball bearing using the rotator object.

To create balls for a ball bearing:

1. Create one analytic sphere

2. Select the sphere and activate the Rotator tool (it's in the Modifier tab). The tool control bar now shows you a number of rotator tool specific options.

Rotator tool activated

3. Enter a point through the view window to define the center of rotation. This accepts the tool. You now have four spheres rotated about the defined center point.

Four spheres created by rotator tool

In the select window, you can now see a rotator object and three instances. If you click the '+' handle of the Rotator object, you will find the original sphere and a NURBS axis object inside it. The rotator object duplicates the sphere about the created axis object.

A sphere is instanced and rotated three times by a rotator object

Modifying rotator objects

You can change the number of object copies created by a rotator object (and other options as well) afterwards. For example, to change the number of spheres to 8:

4. Select the rotator object and open the property window.

5. Go into the Spec tab and set the U Direction/Angle field to 45 degrees. Then set the Count field to 7. You now have eight spheres (the original sphere + seven instances).

Changing the U direction angle and number of copies

In addition to rotation, the rotator object can translate objects along the defined axis. Value 1 translates spheres by the full length of the axis. You can also replace the straight NURBS line with any curved object to get spheres translated and rotated along a curved path.

If you only define 'translation' and set rotation to zero, the rotator object can be used as an alignment tool.

Translation and rotation along a curve

The rotator accepts also a two-dimensional object, such as a rectangle, as an axis. In this case you can control the rotation/translation in two directions. For example, you can create arrays of objects using two perpendicular translations.

Animating a rotator object

Rotator objects can be animated the usual way: just set animation recording on and modify the rotation options, such as the number of copies, to key frame them. You can also animate the axis and sample objects freely.