Perfecto sent me an email asking for a wire frame of the unsmoothed T connection of the piston / actuator.
This is the message:
Your piston looks really nice and smooth where the parts are interconnected. Can you email me a screen shot of the low rez wire frame before smoothed? It would allow me to compare with how I do it because it's always a trouble area for me. I can make it smooth like yours but it takes some doing for me.
Here you are Perfecto. I sent a reply to your mail describing the process. Let me know if you are confused and I can post a build sequence to show how I connected and controlled the edges.
This shows the edge flow for the union of the two 12-sided poly cylinders of the main body and the union of the 6-sided cylinder for the hydraulic connection on the side.
The process it always the same (I do these 4 steps, IN THIS ORDER):
1. boolean union the two parts
2. clean up the edges (if you choose the location and number of sections of the two parts wisely the cleanup is easy, if you choose poorly then the cleanup can be very hard).
3. add edges to control the smoothed edge flow. Note the two edges above and below the hydraulic fluid connector on the side - If these were not there - especially the bottom two - the fillet between the intersection of the two parts would be non-uniform.
4. add bevels (or edges) to tighten up areas. (I try to make saves BEFORE or AFTER I do bevels because it's hard to manually undo them after you delete the history. If you just add edge loops they can simply be deleted. If you want to go back to a previous state the backup can save you a lot of grief. Look at the bevel where the hydraulic connector intersection is, because it's a 1 section bevel the original intersection loop of the two parts is gone, so you would have to delete all the faces and manually have to try to recreate the intersection loop this can be a real pain and cause your surface planes to start going all wonky).
note: I tend to prefer 2 segment bevels to tighten edges because its a single operation and I have more precise control of the offset vs. eyeballing the insertion of edge loops. I just wish I did not have to constantly delete the history in maya which forces me to make a zillion backups - which becomes a logistical nightmare. You do have to chose between the two options carefully as bevels can cause surface planes to go wonky.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Sir Isaac Newton, 1675