Animating multiple meshes as one object

I have a group of meshes and I can set the keyframes, but when they move they are not together. What I need is a way to attach the objects together so that they move as one object.

I am a beginner and was messing around with making a lightsaber move but when it moves to the next keyframe the blade separates from the hilt. I would just “join” the meshes but it takes away the properties of the blade.

If anyone can help that would amazing :slight_smile:

Create an empty and activate group for duplication.
In the Empty pick the group which your objects belong to under duplication.
Now you can animate the Empty as a single object and all objects in the group will move as one.
You will need to move the original objects to another layer or hide them.

What do you mean by activate group for duplication? I searched online but could not find anything like this. I tried everything I could with parenting to the empty and trying different constraints but I cannot figure it out. At one point I had the group “child of” the empty but then when I tried to animate the empty it said that there is no context info for the keyset.

Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of tutorials on blender are out of date. I tried follow some but they reference things that are no longer there or are in different places (much harder to follow then). I am using blender 2.57b and if you could give a more literal step-by-step explanation that would be appreciated.

Ok. So I finally got something working. I don’t know if its the best or “correct” way though. I made an empty at the base of the hilt and then selected all the meshes and set the empty to parent. That seems to work but I dont really know how else to do it (like with duplications that you mentioned). I suppose this way I don’t have to move anything to another layer because its just my object and and empty.

It is called dupligroup.