Knurling is a manufacturing process, typically conducted on a lathe, whereby a visually-attractive diamond-shaped (criss-cross) pattern is cut or rolled into metal. This pattern allows hands or fingers to get a better grip on the knurled object than would be provided by the originally-smooth metal surface. ^
This tutorial will show you how you can create several styles of knurls in Blender.
After you have completed this tutorial, you should have no problem recreating an object like this:
Start off by readying your mesh. For the tutorial I will use an un-capped cylinder with 32 vertices around it’s perimeter.
Now go into editmode, hover your mouse over the cylinder, press Cntrl-R to use the loopcut tool, and scroll your mouse wheel to increase the number of cuts until the cuts create a square shape over the original geometry on the cylinder.
If they aren’t already, de-select the two vert loops on the ends.
Now press E, select ‘Individual Faces’ from the list, then, hit the escape key right away to cancel the extrusion. The reason for that is that extrusion uses the basic scaling method once the extrude is complete. That won’t work for us very well, so we will use the ‘Shrink – Fatten’ function.
Press Alt-S to ‘Fatten’ the selection a bit (Varies, keep in mind that were creating the ‘height’ of the knurls with this step)
Set the Transform Pivot to ‘Individual Centers’ and go into Face select mode if you aren’t already.
At this point you need to decide what style of knurling you want. You can have Square, Diamond or Point.
To achieve each, you only need minor tweaks to the base mesh.
Before extruding the knurls, triangulate the selection by pressing Cntrl-T. Then extrude individual faces, set transform pivot to ‘Individual Centers’ and face selection mode, and scale the tips down to taste.
Go through the normal steps, but skip the Triangulation. Once you get to the final scale, instead of scaling ‘down to taste’, hit S to scale, then press ‘0’ on the num-pad to scale zero. Press W and ‘Remove Doubles’ to clean up duplicates.
Square knurls are the most basic. Same as diamond, but skip the triangulation.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful end enjoyable!
If you want to smooth adjacent areas that aren’t knurled, Apply set smooth to your object, then add an Edge-Split modifier.