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CorelDRAW X5 : The X5 Test Drive - Using the Polygon Tool to Design a Gear Shape

6/10/2013 4:03:58 AM
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The Polygon tool might not seem like it has features to automatically create a gear shape and this is partially true. The Polygon tool produces symmetrical shapes that can be dynamically edited; they can be dramatically modified and still keep a special base property. Gears are symmetrical. The trick to creating a complex-looking gear to weld to the initials “D” and “G” is to slightly modify a polygon so it becomes a multi-spoke star shape first. Then you add a control node to the object and drag the node to reposition it. This is one of those things it’s easier to see while you do, but in the following steps, you’ll modify a polygon you create so that the spokes end in a blunt, straight edge instead of a point. This gets you 90 percent of the way to creating an elegant gear shape; the other 10 percent is demonstrated in the following sections.

Creating and Modifying a Polygon

  1. Choose the Polygon tool from the toolbox (it’s just below the Ellipse tool).

  2. On the property bar, set the number of sides to 16. This will produce a polygon with 16 control points and control points in-between.

  3. Hold CTRL (this constrains the shape to equal width and height), and then click-drag on the page until the width and height fields on the property bar (the second-from-left fields) tell you the shape you’re creating is about 3 inches. At this point, release CTRL and your mouse button. Your polygon should look like the illustration here.

  4. Choose the Shape tool; hold CTRL, click one of the control points along the path of the polygon, and then drag until the result is a star shape, shown here. The reason for holding CTRL as you drag is that it keeps the control point from drifting to the left or right as you move it. Otherwise this would produce a radial saw blade shape and not a star whose path segments mirror each other.

  5. With the Shape tool still active, click a point on the path, as shown in Figure 2. Then click the Add Node(s) button on the property bar. You’ve created a change in the property of the path, although it doesn’t look like a change yet. The polygon can still be dynamically reshaped. Look closely at the polygon path—you added a control node, but there are actually 16 added control nodes, because you made a change to a dynamic object.

    Figure 2. When you add a node to a polygon object, additional nodes are created symmetrically around the shape.

  6. Take your time on this step: with the Shape tool, drag the top control node a little to the left and then a little down. Stop when you have the shape shown here. The polygon looks very much like a 16-tooth gear now, doesn’t it?

 
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