My latest attempt has involved a hexagon shape repeated with array modifiers.

Hexagonal attempt with half sphere

I then tried wrapping this over a sphere with the shrinkwrap modifier, but that didn't seem to work so well.

enter image description here

I couldn't get any better results by playing with the modifier offset or moving the two objects around.

Basically, I want to model something like this, with smaller holes:

Ideal model


One way is to Add an Icosphere, select all verts, bevel (Ctrl + Shift + B), extrude, and delete the extruded faces. This will result in N-Gons but may be okay if you don't need to smooth.

Select all Verts

Ctrl Shift B to Bevel

Extrude the faces in

Delete the extruded Faces

  • $\begingroup$ according to his picture he want a mixture between pentagons and hexagons. $\endgroup$
    – user320
    Oct 7 '13 at 12:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To get the shape looking more like the one in the image, try playing with Ctrl + F > Wireframe. $\endgroup$
    – iKlsR
    Oct 7 '13 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @User320 Actually, first the OP tries with only hexagons. I think he is content with both. :) $\endgroup$
    – Gunslinger
    Oct 7 '13 at 13:23
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MarkBTomlinson Sweet solution. However, you should just hit delete faces after the second image. Then add the solidify modifier. It gives you mesh thickness. This way it will have a solid inside. $\endgroup$
    – Gunslinger
    Oct 7 '13 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Gunslinger yep that would have been more like it, still interesting if you don't mind nGons. $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '13 at 15:56

Instead of the shrinkwrap, there's an older but more precise tool to turn verts into a sphere.

  • Put the 3D-Cursor where the center of your sphere whould be
  • Select all verts
  • Hit Space, type 'to sphere' or press AltShiftS, select that tool and hit 1, Return to make it completely spherical. Most subsurfed spheres aren't really precise, so this tool changes that.

Here's my approach to this:

enter image description here

Making the cookie cutter

  • Create a mesh that has faces where you want the holes to be (I).
  • Parent a Cylinder to the Sphere and enable Duplifaces for the sphere (II)
  • Scale the Cylinder to the desired width
  • Select the sphere and hit CtrlShiftA to make the duplis real.
  • Select all Duplis and Shift-Select the middle one, then hit CtrlJ to join them into one single mesh

Making the sphere

  • Make a sphere to your liking. I used an Icosphere with applied subsurf modifier and 'To Sphere. While in Editmode I gave it depth by duplicating it, scling it in and flipping the normals, so the boolean modifier will be happy.
  • Put the Cylinder object right where your sphere is and scale it so the cylinders intersect with both inner and outer surface of the sphere. Save your file.
  • Give the sphere a boolean modifier, set it to Difference and put the cylinder mesh in the Object field to perform the task.
  • Hit Apply.
  • Delete, hide or move the Cylinder mesh
  • Give your sphere an Edge Split modifier and set the shading to smooth.

The advantage is that it works with irregular shapes too.

Try this to get close to the example image

(Bevelling like Mark did is much faster. Do it like he suggested and skip to the bucky ball.)

Start with a level one icosphere

enter image description here

Subdivide it twice

enter image description here

Select one corner vert and use Select (or ShiftG) >> Select Similar >> Amount of Adjacent Faces

enter image description here

Dissolve the verts with X >> Dissolve Vertices.

enter image description here

Enter Face Select Mode.

Select one pentagon and this time use ShiftG> Select Similar >> Polygon Sides.

Invert the selection with CtrlI

enter image description here

Get rid of the excess faces with X >> Limited Dissolve

enter image description here

Select everything and hit the Smooth vertex button a few times. (This is the point to which you could jump if you followed Marks Tutorial. My approach is pre-vertex beveling)

In vertex select mode, subdivide two times. This extra topology is useful to get a round sphere.

enter image description here

Inset individual faces (II)

Delete the big faces with the help of ShiftG> select similar.

enter image description here

Subdivide again. Select everything and use AltShiftS> To Sphere with factor of 1.0

enter image description here

Extrude it four times and scale inwards each time.

enter image description here

Give it a subsurf modifier and enjoy the result.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Hm, too much work to delete, but the images of the question loaded after I finished the 'answer'. I'm not only starving, I also have only 64kbit internet. Sorry $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '13 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ on the other hand, if you use six sided cylinders... $\endgroup$ Oct 7 '13 at 14:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks very much for your answer! It's great to see the difference between dupli-faces and dupli-verts, but I think I like the dupli-verts a little better $\endgroup$ Oct 8 '13 at 18:49

Ok, I think I have something that will get you pretty much that same result. First create an icosphere and set the subdivide to 5.

Settings for icosphere

Then find a five sided pole and select it. Then hit Shift+G and select from the dropdown, "Amount of Adjacent Faces". You should have several isolated vertices selected throughout the mesh. The hit Ctrlnumpad+ 4 times to expand your selection.

vertices to delete

Delete the selected vertices. You will notice several six sided shapes left. Select the interior vertices like this,

Six sided selection

and delete them until you have a mesh that looks like this.

Final Mesh

After this, just add a skin modifier and a subsurf modifier.


You should have something that by now, looks a bit like this.

Final Result

If the "Tubes" are a bit large, you have to select all vertices in the mesh and hit Ctrl+A and "scale" the vertices to your liking. After you are happy with the result, just apply the skin modifier. I hope this works how you want it to.


Here's a flexible approach using dupliverts and a boolean modifier to create patterned circular holes in any object:

  1. Add Ico sphere object enter image description here
  2. Add Cylinder object enter image description here
  3. Rotate Cylinder 90 degrees on X axis, apply Rotation enter image description here
  4. Parent Cylinder to Ico sphere enter image description here
  5. In the Properties Object tab for the Ico sphere, select Duplication-> Verts and check Rotation. After that, apply Make Duplicates Real enter image description here
  6. Delete Ico sphere and original Cylinder, Join the remaining cylinders in to one objectenter image description here
  7. Add the target sphere you want to poke holes in (for this example, a UV sphere), then add a Boolean modifier for the new sphere, using Difference based on the new Cylinder object created enter image description here
  8. Apply the modifier, delete the new Cylinder object enter image description here
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ which is exactly what I proposed yesterday (: $\endgroup$ Oct 8 '13 at 17:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh cool, that's awesome! That's similar to my first attempt, which involved cylinders, array modifier + rotation, and the boolean modifier. But this is pretty much exactly what I wanted. The answer above had a mix of pentagons and hexagons, but this means I can cut out regular holes in any shape. $\endgroup$ Oct 8 '13 at 18:46


I suppose I'll add one as well,

A) Add any shape you like.

B) Use a variation of Extrude, accessed with (alt-e) and select Edges Only. Now drag out the newly created edges far enough away from the original so that they do not overlap.

C) Select the old geometry in Wireframe mode and use (x) then (e) to delete the edges. Now select the points which remain and this time use (x) then (d) to delete those points.

D) Now what you are left with is a wireframe of the original model.

E) Add a Skin modifier.

F) Use (ctrl-a) to scale the weight of each point. This tool will puff out, or contract, the geometry that this modifier creates.

G) Apply the Skin modifier and then add a Subdivision Surface modifier.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Steps B and C are just needlessly complicated way of doing x -> only faces $\endgroup$
    – hjaarnio
    Oct 21 '13 at 19:30

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