Blender for tinkering?

Hello, new Blender user and new on the boards. I’m wanting to use Blender for creative tinkering. I’m a long time CAD designer. Below is a project I completed about 10 years ago in plain AutoCAD. I have always worked in solids modeling programs so I’m a bit intimidated with meshes and NURBS, but my creative side wants to learn.

I have no goals set other than letting things flow naturally. I’m interested in more abstract modeling and rendering and especially interested in having a try at simple animations.

I hope my solid modeling skills can be transferred easily but after a week of tinkering I think it’ll be a longer process than I originally imagined. Looking to search the forums and begin asking questions soon.

I do have one question: any way Autodesk materials can be used in Blender? I’ve tried searching online and this forum and can’t dig up any answers.


IMO a key to learning Blender is to find a nice graduated/gradated lesson course that will smoothly introduce concepts in a logical manner. While there are many MANY resources online for Blender sefl-education, my experience is that it is a bit of a hodge-podge, and much time is wasted and confusion generated by jumping around to all the various approaches. One would hope that one unified course would avoid that kind of thing.

One thing to beware of is The Great Divide, the changeover between 2.8n and previous versions of Blender. This can cause great confusion. Be alert to UI color changes that signal which version is in use, since not all presenters specify.

I would suggest you look into Grant Abbitt’s offerings on his website ( ) and YouTube.

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Thanks Jeric. I will check that out. I found a few really good tutorials that showed me how to use precise values for geometry and snapping with Blender and that has already increased my efficiency in Blender, just in the past few days alone. This is consistent with how I’ve worked as a CAD designer for the past 16 years.

I’ve already made my first animation and it was simpler than I expected. I’m currently diving into the rendering engines and materials/shaders.


Good. Got linx?

Yes, this is the tutorial I watched:

For my guitar project in my first post, I used digital calipers to get each piece’s dimension, so this Blender tutorial translated extremely well for my workflow.


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Nice. That tutorial is a model of clarity. :+1:

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Welcome to Blender community.

I might consider that you will be able to edit manage your scenes in Blender and use it as a general purpose software. However CAD software has some really specific features that will be really important. Such as spline based modeling with bezier patches or modeling with constraints.

I really hope at some point the future a developer jumps in to Blender to get working in these.

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I have already learned that I can achieve a similar effect of how you design in a CAD software with this process: start with a single vertex, then use Extrude to create an edge with another vertex, step by step. This is similar to how you draft in CAD software. My brain is trained to create an outline or profile first, then begin the extrusion process, where from what I can tell, lots of Blender users start with a mesh and mold it to what they want. Very different process from what I’m used to, but I’m getting there. I like my progress so far.


Hey, since you have CAD backgroung THIS add-on might interest you.


Oh, is that not in the basic functionality? Or specifically, dynamic bezier patching?

I’m still a noob: I just expected that, like, “lofting” was somewhere in the native Blender toolset. Lately the links I’ve found have rather deprecated the practice of spline modeling, contending that Subd workflows have largly replaced it, but for mechanical objects, like Formula 1 cars, spline modeling would seem to offer advantages over subd ‘extrusion’ modeling.

(Some patch modelers are ‘dynamic’ in that you can move the underlying curves around, and some are static, and pop out a mesh that is fixed.)

There are techniques that allow lofting (either natively or with addons), such as taking a couple of curves and constructing the hull of a ship or rotating a curve to create a vase but these are the simple stuff.

However what is impossible to do now is to work efficiently with splines and create model based on a spline cage.

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Oh how you have made my day with this little gem. The author is spot on with how CAD designers work. Can’t wait to give this a try, thanks!


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