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Having a difficult time finding the correct name for this, but I have some photos.

I'm specifically trying to model a sniper scope, and some of the circular rings on it have ridges on them, but I'm not sure how to model the ridges/grooves.

Like this:

Or these google searches might show what I'm trying to explain better:

Sniper scope: http://tinyurl.com/qxyzwoc

Camera Dial: http://tinyurl.com/ndmzawr

Essentially a ring with ridges on it, I'm not sure how to model it.

The poke tool is definitely not working for me, and I cannot add loop cuts to everything. What's the best method for going about modeling this?

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There are at least three methods for accomplishing this. Each is worth familiarizing yourself with.

The Cylinder Method

1. Create a cylinder

ShiftA

Add > Mesh > Cylinder

Adjust the proportions and vertex count to your liking.

Cylinder parameters

2. In Edit Mode Select Edge Rings

Set your selection mode to Edge Select. Select an edge, then while pressing CtrlAlt select the edge next to it. Alternatively you can use the menu: Select > Edge Rings.

Select Edge Rings

3. Bevel the edge rings

CtrlB

Use cursor distance to adjust bevel width, then left click to accept.

Bevel the edge rings

4. Extrude the faces

Set your Pivot Point to "Individual Origins".

Setting Pivot Point to Individual Origins

Press E to Extrude to your desired length.

Extruding faces

5. Scale as needed

While still using "Individual Origins" as the Pivot Point, press S then ShiftZ to Scale the angle of the teeth. Scale the height using S, Z.

Scaling the faces from their individual origins

The Add-On Method

1. Enable the Extra Objects Mesh add-on.

There are two add-ons for Extra Objects, one for curves and one for meshes. The one that applies in this case is the one for meshes. Go to Blender's Preferences, search "extra", and click the check box to enable it.

Add-on Preferences - enabling Extra Objects

2. Add a Gear

Press ShiftA and find a new option in your Add > Mesh menu: "Gears". Add one.

Add a Gear using the new option in your Add Mesh menu

3. Tweak the gear parameters

The add-on provides many parameters for fine-tuning the shape of your gear. Play with it!

Adjusting parameters of the gear

The Circular Array Method

1. Add a plane and model it into the shape of a gear tooth

ShiftA Add > Mesh > Plane

The plane is just a starter shape.

Model the shape of a single gear tooth in Edit Mode.

Make sure the Object's Origin Point is where you want the center of your gear to be.

A flat, planar gear tooth shape to begin with

2. Add and rotate an Empty

ShiftA Add > Empty > Plain Axes

From Object Mode, press R and type in 15 to rotate it 15 degrees. We can change this value later, it's just an example.

An Empty, rotated 15 degrees

3. Add an Array Modifier to your gear tooth object

Modifier settings:

Uncheck "Relative Offset". Instead, check "Object Offset" and point it to your Empty.

Since we rotated the tooth 15° in this example, set the Count to 24 to start. The dimensions of your gear tooth object also come into play here, so you'll need to do some adjusting of these three factors: tooth count, rotation angle, and tooth geometry.

Check "Merge" and "First Last" so that you won't need to remove doubles later. This option merges the doubled-up vertices for you.

4. Close the loop

Set your snapping method to Vertex Snapping.

Snap Element set to Vertex

On the modifier, adjust the edit cage to the modifier result so the array geometry can be snapped to. In simple English: click the fourth button.

Adjust edit cage to modifier result

You can now extrude another vertex and snap it to the next tooth in the array. Fill in a face between this and the vertex in the center of the gear. The circle is now complete.

Enable Vertex Snapping and snap to the modifier result

Here is a screen shot to further illustrate how one segment is used to create the entire gear:

One tooth mesh spun 24 times to form a gear

5. Add some thickness

Finally, add a Solidify Modifier and give your gear some Thickness.

The Solidify Modifier transforms the flat planar outline into a 3D gear shape

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Here are the steps to create the groves:

  1. Create a Cylinder (ShiftA > Mesh > Cylinder)
  2. Select all side faces
  3. Use checker deselect (hit space and type Checker Deselect)
  4. Extrude the selected faces with E and choose the right size by moving the cursor
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