I'm following along with a YouTube tutorial series to get a jump start in how to use Blender for 3D modeling, specifically for 3D printing. This page is the notes I've taken along the way.
Modifier keys help make movement and panning possible. With a touch scroll mouse, the touch scroll by itself moves the camera. The scroll + Control or Command will zoom. The scroll + shift will pan.
The widget on the top right will snap the view to top/bottom/left/right of object. There are key options for this too (if you have a num pad).
If you get lost somewhere in 3D space, press Shift + C to move back to center of the scene.
Setup improvements for the interface
Do this the first time on a fresh install.
- Preferences > Interface > Resolution Scale: 1.25
- Preferences > Interface > Line width: thick
- Preferences > Themes > 3D Viewport > Wire Edit: [pick bright blue color]
- Preferences > Themes > 3D Viewport > Vertex size: 4
- Preferences > System > Undo Steps > [crank it up high]
Add-ons for more features
Internal add-ons are under Preferences > Add-Ons (click checkboxes to install).
External ones can be found and imported.
Recommended internal add-ons:
- 3D View: Measureit
- 3D View: Stored Views
- Add Mesh: Extra Objects
- Add Mesh: Bolt Factory
- Export Autocad DXF
- Import Autocad DXF
- Mesh: Tinycad Mesh Tools
- Object: Bool Tool
- Object: Align Tools
- Mesh: 3d Print Tool Box
- Interface: Modifier Tools
- Mesh: F2
Recommended external add-ons:
General resource/forum: blenderartists.org
Setup for Millimeter scale
- Right Menu > Scene Properties tab > Length: Millimeters
- Right Menu > Scene Properties tab > Unit Scale: 0.001
- Top right menu inside scene > Viewport Overlays > Scale: 0.001
Now preserve these settings for all new files with: File > Defaults > Save Startup File
Right click version number in bottom right corner and select "Scene statistics" for handy info
When a mesh object is selected, [tab] will toggle between object mode and edit mode.
Select vertices, edges and faces with 1, 2, 3 keys.
Select a "loop" of faces around an object, alt/option + click on edge. Works for vertices and edges too.
Control + i to invert a selection
Control + click faces to create a pathway from previously selected face to newly selected face
Circle select is a way to "paint" a selection, press "c" to enter that mode. Hold shift to deselect
Create, delete, & duplicate
3D cursor is the object left in the middle when everything else is deleted.
X brings up delete in menu
Shift S brings up in-context menu, including way to get 3D cursor back to "world center" (or shift + c)
Shift and right click to snap 3D cursor to your mouse
Shift and A brings up add menu for adding objects
Origin of an object = little orange dot
Origin of creation = 3D cursor
Shift + right click on an object to snap the 3D cursor to the surface of that object
Top has menu for snapping, you can choose vertex
Shift + right click and hold to drag 3D cursor around, add Ctrl to snap near a vertex
Shift + d to duplicate a selected object. It follows the mouse, right click to drop at origin of duplication
While constrained to cursor, limit to X, Y, Z axis movement with those keys.
While constrained, Shift + Z to limit to only X/Y movement
While constrained and fixed to an axis, type 5 to move it 5 mm out on that axis.
Press - to toggle between -5 and 5 mm from original position.
Press [enter/return] to confirm the placement
Duplicate in edit mode keeps the duplication in the same object
Control + L selects everything linked to the vertex you've picked
Control + J to join two objects together. The active one (parent) will retain the origin point
Movement and transforms
If you change an objects dimensions, you have to Control + A and pick Scale to adjust the scale back to 1.
G to grab an object (lock to cursor for moving)
Constraints are global at first, but click again to constrain to local (object's axis). Example: rotated cube, click Y to constrain to global Y axis, click Y again to constrain to Y axis of cube as it's rotated
When multiple things are picked you can use the pivot point menu to pick various ways to define pivoting (based on the active, each according to their individual object origin, or even using the 3d cursor)