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I'm trying to cut shapes out of a mesh, but I'm having trouble doing it, or at least doing it properly. I'm currently trying to model this flashlight: Flashlight

The part I'm specifically having trouble with is the part near the green light, where there are cutouts from the cylinder. I'm not sure how to do those properly. The thing that first comes to mind is creating another object, using an array to copy it around the cylinder, and then using a boolean modifier in difference mode. This works, but it creates an ugly mesh, and it also doesn't seem very flexible, for when you need to do more complex stuff, and working on a mesh that indirectly affects the mesh you're actually trying to affect seems a bit weird. I've also tried doing things like knife project, but it's geometry isn't any better.

So, basically, what I'm asking is: Is there any way for me to do this while keeping my geometry clean?

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Yes your initial array method will work. Here is the model of a circle. I have extruded it into a cylinder and delete the faces I don't need and apply an array modifier to get the below mesh. I have intentionally left out the last array object. With the mid-edge of the original mesh selected ...

enter image description here

Hit CtrlB to bevel the edge and you should achieve this...

enter image description here

Next with K I have added a cut using knife tool between the bevel like this ...

enter image description here

Now I will extrude downwards with the E to make a depth for the groove...

enter image description here

Before finalising the cut I will add a subdiv modifier. And the modifier stack looks like below. The object offset is an empty with a 22.5 degree rotation to create the array copies, rotating around the mesh's origin point.

enter image description here

Finalising those loop cuts in 4 locations shown here.enter image description here

And now this is the mesh I have. From here on out you can either bake the normals of the highres mesh onto a low res mesh. Or clean up the highres mesh so that it's not too high a poly for efficiency sake. Hope it helps

enter image description here enter image description here

And here's the Blend file for your reference.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for the late(ish) response. This fixes the specific issue that I was having for modeling this specific thing, but I was hoping for a more general solution...take an upvote $\endgroup$ – markasoftware Feb 7 '16 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ This is generally how it's done. $\endgroup$ – hawkenfox Feb 11 '16 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ Well, what about a situation where the shape I'm cutting out isn't a beveled line? Would I just try to deform the mesh and then "intrude" it the same way you did here? $\endgroup$ – markasoftware Feb 12 '16 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't a beveled line? What do you mean isn't a beveled line a more descriptive image may help . My explaination works for the part you are trying to model. One problem per question is the goal here. If it's another question that is different from the original question please post a new question for the new problem you are facing currently. $\endgroup$ – hawkenfox Feb 13 '16 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ How exactly did you do the array? Did you use an empty, or is there some way to do it without that? $\endgroup$ – markasoftware Feb 16 '16 at 4:02

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