Anybody use Blender? - RC Groups
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Nov 09, 2012, 01:34 AM
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HELModels's Avatar

Anybody use Blender?

I'm interested in creating a 3D model for Flightgear and one program that gets recommended is Blender which is opensource. The problem I have is all the terminology and trying to control what I'm doing. I found a tutorial in French and my French is lousy, but I understand the concept of what he did. He took a 3 view of a plane and he cut it up into 3 images and then found dimensions for that airplane. Somehow and this is the part where I'm really stuck, he created a box and inserted the images on the inside faces of the box and set the dimensions. I figured out how to insert images, but I cant figure out how he does it using planes instead of background images.

Anyone have any idea how to do this in Blender or a good tutorial in English?

Here's what it looks like.
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Nov 09, 2012, 02:21 AM
Reduce the drama...
rick.benjamin's Avatar
Using TurboCAD required me to learn a lot of new concepts.
I want to master the skill of turning a 3v into a plan.
I don't think there are any shortcuts.
Supposed to be possible with Turbo, but not for me, yet.
Might be the same steep learning curve with Blender.
In case you haven't found them yet,
Nov 09, 2012, 01:10 PM
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HELModels's Avatar
Thanks, yeah I've been through quite a few tutorials. Some of it is starting to sink in and I can now do some. I found one tutorial on using background images and you can control which axis the image is visible, but it's not the cool method.

The cool but mysterious method:

Nov 10, 2012, 08:24 AM
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HELModels's Avatar
I found what I was looking for and that is "import image as plane" and I can take a plane and orient it. What I cant do yet is make it visible for some reason. I import the image as a plane and it takes on the aspect ratio of the image which is good, but it just looks like a regular plane with no image visible.
Nov 10, 2012, 12:15 PM
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HELModels's Avatar
I'm getting closer. I imported 2 of the views as planes and then adjusted their locations and orientation. For some reason the image doesnt have a white background. It's not easy.
Nov 11, 2012, 02:55 PM
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HELModels's Avatar
I know I can setup the 3 views now. I borrowed the 3 views from the tutorial I linked and now the problem is when I add a mesh cylinder to manipulate, it blocks the view. I need a way to make the object opaque. I'm hoping I can find that in the manual.
Nov 14, 2012, 10:53 AM
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HELModels's Avatar
I'm finally getting somewhere with it. I can now use bezier some and I can extrude and size. I learned that the image needs to be background and is only visible in an ortho view. This allows you to create objects and edit and the object is translucent over the background.
Nov 14, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Blender 3-view Tutorials

The following are for the newer Blender 2.5/2.6, not the older Blender 2.4.

Weeliano has 75 videos on YouTube. Many are Blender tutorials.
Use to download his V2 Rocket tutorial for Blender v2.57:

At the 4:55 mark he uses File menu, Import, Image as Plane.
At the 8:15 mark he changes the model so you can see the reference image through it. He uses Properties Editor, Object button, Display, change "Textured" to "Wire"
I used the following BlenderMama tutorial to load P-40 3-views from the Size needed to be 18.0 in Blender to be near scale size.
Image reference in the new 2.58 Blender release
The new Blender 2.58 release comes with a new tiny but useful feature, “empty image display”

In the past I used to UV map plane objects to get image references in my project, then there was the "Import Image as Planes" addon, but now things are even easier.

Add an empty (Add menu, Empty or Shift+A, Empty), then on the Object Data panel, change Viewport Display Style from "Plain Axes" to "Image", load an image (deckchair.jpg in screen shot below) and set transparency (0.580) and size/scale (1.85). The imported image is 1 Blender unit on the x axis, so you can scale it to the needed size.

If you checkmark X-Ray in the Object panel, Display section - you will be able to use the reference in Solid draw type mode (Textured draw type in screen shot below) to easily construct over it. Very nice!

to display Edge lengths.
Tip: Using Empties with Image Display Mode
In this quick Blender 2.5 tip we show you how to use the Image Display mode for Empties that is available in Blender 2.58. This feature gives you a versatile way to work with background images.

Tip: Using Empties with Image Display Mode (5 min 16 sec)
- Length: 5:16

#9 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:57 am
There is script ‘add image as plane’ but it is good another script turned to be a feature inside base program.
#9.1.1 - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm
Another great thing about empty images over image planes, is you can go into wireframe and your reference images are still there.

Nov 14, 2012, 09:18 PM
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HELModels's Avatar
Thank You for that. That'll do the trick.

Here's a wing I did by using bezier over an image of the airfoil. Blender is powerful once I get over the initial shock that everybody mentions. I'll keep messing with it.
Nov 16, 2012, 11:49 AM
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HELModels's Avatar
Originally Posted by ssmeier
The following are for the newer Blender 2.5/2.6, not the older Blender 2.4. ..........................................
Thanks again ssmeier, this has opened up a whole new world. Finally, I can make some use of all this processor power.
Nov 16, 2012, 12:01 PM
Team of ONE....or...Team Me
DeadTom's Avatar
Yes Blender is very powerful, I come from a CAD background and the initial change over to Blender was very different but not insurmountable.
Looks like you are getting a good grasp of it so far, I have been designing up parts to add to my 50" rotorspan Cobra helicopter that will be printed on my forth coming 3d printer.
Keep up the good work,
Nov 16, 2012, 12:18 PM
The "pro" in procrastination
Steve85's Avatar
Looks like a pretty powerful piece of freeware. Does anyone know if you can "slice" a 3D model like the one of the cool but mysterious fuselage to produce former shapes? What about adding stringers and other structural components? Can you export the former shapes to DXF files to enable CNC cutting?

So many questions...

Nov 16, 2012, 04:10 PM
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HELModels's Avatar
I know you can export to DXF but how to cut an entire model in half and then pull out the good stuff could take more work than just starting from scratch to get shapes. I took the example blender file from post #1,3 and tried to cut out the extra stuff and it didnt work out so great for me. I ended up with a bunch of vertices only after I cut it in half and removed horizontal edges. My conclusion is it probably depends on how the file was made and for what purpose. A 3D render just for looks isnt the same as something drawn to be read by a machine for printing or cutting or even to build from plans.
Last edited by HELModels; Nov 18, 2012 at 05:05 AM. Reason: Blender can do it, but it probably depends
Nov 19, 2012, 05:16 AM
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HELModels's Avatar
I'm pretty well immersed at this point. The one function I really like is the bezier and Nurbs. I have no idea what a Nurb is, but like the bezier you can tweak it.

Here's a shape I'm playing with. I took two beziers and made a top and a side and joined them and then kept duplicating and moving until it defined a compound shape.

The problem now is I want to fit the vertices on the front to line up with a plane and cant figure out how to do that.

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