Skip navigation
Currently Being Moderated

Another Dial Challenge!

Oct 16, 2013 3:24 PM

Tags: #illustrator #dial

I've got a new Challenge for you guys, hoping you can help me out with this dial.  Also, as always I will need very clear instructions as I am by no means a master at Illustrator, not sure I will ever move from the "beginner" class.  But anyways, here it is and the numbers are not an issue, but everything else needs to be recreated as close to the original as possible but no need for "exact" as this dial was probably hand drawn back then as most are.



Only the clock face is needed, not the surrounding black area and the tiny holes on each side as well as the larger hole in the middle are not an issue, those are registration marks.


thanks guys!!!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 16, 2013 4:59 PM   in reply to Jber505



    Using the original dial as a locked template and having Stroke>Cap and Join set to Round, you may (Smart Guides are your friends):


    1) Create the rays as follows, every time adjusting the Stroke Weight to fit the original:

    1a) Drag horizontally with the Line Tool to create a horizontal line longer than the dial, then Object>Path>Add Anchor Points;

    1b) Rotate copies by 30 degrees until you have all the rays;

    1c) Centre the rays over the centre of the original;


    2) Create the outermost ring shape as follows:

    2a) First create a rectangle with the right height (fitting the horizontal segments) and as long as the horizontal ray, then Object>Path>Add Anchor Points once;

    2b) Then create a line between the middle Anchor Points of the vertical segments in the sides (you can do that with the Line Tool, dragging from one to the other, Smart Guides say anchor);

    2c) Then create a circle with the centre at the middle of the leftmost bend (at 9) and fitting the rightmost bend (from 2 over 3 to 4), it should fit reasonably well, keeping the centre on top of the line created in 2b) (Smart Guides say path), you may adjust size and move the centre horizontally if needed to fit;

    2d) Then copy the circle from 1c) and move its centre to the centre of the rays Smart Guides say anchor) and then Object>Transform>Move and press Enter (this will repeat the move to fit the other bend);

    2e) Then select both circles and the rectangle and Pathfinder>Divide and Object>Ungroup and delete all the redundant parts;


    This should give you the finished outer ring;


    3) Cut the rays as follows:

    3a) Select each ray and click on it with the Scissors Tool where it crosses the outer ring (Smart Guides say anchor or path);

    3b) Select the redundant outer parts and delete them;


    4) Create the inner ring as follows:

    4a) Object>Path>Offset Path with a negative value equalling the distance between the outer ring and the inner ring, first attempt;

    4b) Undo and redo until you have it right;


    This should give you the finished inner ring;


    5) Create the central part as follows:

    5a) Object>Path>Offset Path with a negative value equalling the distance between the inner ring and the central part, first attempt;

    5b) Undo and redo until you have it right;

    5c) Give the central part a fill;


    This should give you the finished central part, and thereby the whole dial.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 18, 2013 9:11 AM   in reply to Jber505

    Here's another technique


    Screen shot 2013-10-18 at 9.10.36 AM.png

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 18, 2013 9:38 AM   in reply to Jber505

    You are welcome, Jber.


    Very nice (see below).


    For the base layer, you can (using a different numbering):


    i) Create the circle,

    ii) Drag horizontally with the Line Tool (holding Shift) where you want each cut;

    iii) Select each of the lines and Object>Path>Divide Objects Below;

    iv) Delete the top and bottom.


    That is very simple and makes no mess/grouping/whatever.


    The fitting of the rays and the corners of the outer ring is a bit tricky, with a careful adaption of the latter to the former; that was the reason for my starting with the rays (in the first attempt to decribe it, I started with the rings and adapting the rays, but then I realized that I had to use the exact 30 degrees and so changed the order).


    The corner issue may solved it if you make the rings a bit thicker (as I see it they are a bit thinner than the original), and if you make sure that all the parts (rays, rings, and central part) are concentric; you can select all and Align>Horizontal Align Center + Vertical Align Center (if you click one object right after the selection, it will be the key object which stays in place and everything else will move to fit).


    Seeing the new version and realizing, I regret two things, sorry:


    Some of the Round Caps of the rays are visible, and the rays are visible between the inner ring and the central part.


    Both errors can be set right if you (with Scale Strokes & Effects unticked in the Transform palette flyout):


    6) Cut the rays at the outer and inner ring as follows:

    6a) Select all the rays and in the Transform palette add *1.1 to the W field and press Ctrl/Cmd+Enter to scale them up a bit (this will undo step 3) which was a mistake, sorry;

    6b) Object>Path>Outline Stroke to change the stroked open paths into filled closed ones;

    Using the (normal) Selection Tool) for the rest:

    6c) Select and copy both the outer and the inner ring;

    6d) Hide the original outer and inner ring and the central part (click the Eye in the Layers palette);

    6e) Click the outer ring and Object>Path>Divide Objects Below, then click the inner ring and Object>Path>Divide Objects Below;

    6f) Drag over and delete the outer and inner parts of the rays so that only the parts between the two rings remain;

    6g) Show the original outer and inner ring and the central part.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 18, 2013 9:43 AM   in reply to Larry G. Schneider



    As I see the original, the side parts are somewhat less bent than would be the case if they were parts of the same circle, hence the clumsier way of using two circles.


    Based on an on screen measurement, I believe each should have its centre just about on the arc of the other, corresponding to twice the radius.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 18, 2013 12:44 PM   in reply to Jber505



    Thank you again and I'm sure that I will be back with the next challenge!


    It would be a great loss if you were to get too many tips, never to return.


    These very pleasant tasks consist of (re)creating combined shapes that are very neat and regular.


    I believe the right, or only, way to fulfil them is to take the time to spot the individual basic shapes and their relations, and then choose the tools that can make them and combine them. Obviously, you need to know the tools to be able to recognize when they may be used. And then care is needed.


    In this case the rays form one set, which may be made independently and then cut.


    The rings and the central part form shapes that are combinations of straight lines and arcs, thus calling for rectangles and circles of sizes to fit.


    The special likeness in shape and constant distances between the rings and the central part call for the offset path to create them all from one (and then an important decision is which to choose).


    For tasks like these, it may be convenient to centre everything round X = Y = 0, so that you can look at the figures in the Transform palette (using the relevant Reference Points) for guidance and control. Your friends the Smart Guides also work on the Artboard itself, saying page and intersect.

    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 21, 2013 5:45 AM   in reply to Jber505

    You are welcome, Jber.


    If you wish, next time (hopefully there will be one) an open discussion of how the original can be seen could be worth considering, maybe followed by the different ways it may be recreated (or redesigned if an option and desirable, the key being how the original can be seen and thereby how it could have been different), and if needed how the different possible ways may be realized.


    Depending on the task, a redesign may be an option, and in that case there may be different ways/alternatives. With the present dial, an obvious alternative could be more rounded ends using a single circle (instead of the two), as suggested by Larry, combined with scaling (instead of offset path) between the rings and the central part; with that, the 10-4 and 8-2 rays would go through all the corners in exactly the same way (instead of passing by the two innermost sets).


    And the discussion might include opinions on the choice between intriguing/quaint/messy and consistent/regular/boring.

    Mark as:

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Answers + Points = Status

  • 10 points awarded for Correct Answers
  • 5 points awarded for Helpful Answers
  • 10,000+ points
  • 1,001-10,000 points
  • 501-1,000 points
  • 5-500 points