Exact Edit: set exact distances or angle measures between objects

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Overview

Exact Edit is a set of tools designed to make certain kinds of precision editing (like CAD work) easier with Blender. The zip contains 2 separate tools: Set Measure and Free Rotate. Both tools let you place up to 3 “reference points” that create an “axis” for Blender’s built in transform operators like grab and rotate. These reference points can be added, removed, relocated, and switched out. Each of the tool’s have different functionality after the reference points are placed:

Set Measure:

With 2 reference points selected objects will move along the “edge” between the 2 points depending on the input distance. With 3 reference points selected objects will rotate around the face-normal “axis” of the 3 points as it passes through the 3rd pivot point depending on the input angle.

Free Rotate:

Exact Edit’s Free Rotate tool sets up rotations for Blender’s built in rotate tool. Unlike with the regular Exact Edit, these rotations are not to a specific angle measurement and are instead “free hand” like with Blender’s rotation operator. With 1 reference point you can set a global axis lock at the point’s location for rotations. With 2 reference points the line connecting the points becomes the rotation axis. And with 3 reference points, like with Exact Edit, the face-normal “axis” of the 3 points (as it passes through the 3rd pivot point) becomes the rotation axis.

Some background info: Originally I planned to add these features to Exact Edit Alpha (formerly Exact Offsets), but ran into problems because of design limitations with the way that add-on was implemented. Instead of trying to work around those limitations, I decided to start over with new code and made significant changes to the design. The functionality of Exact Edit is similar to that of Exact Edit Alpha, but there are several important differences to keep in mind:

  • Exact Edit should work with any object: meshes, lights, cameras, empties, etc.
  • The “Free” point is placed first instead of the “Anchor”
  • If a 3rd “reference point” is placed, the third point is the pivot (the 2nd point remains unchanged)
  • Only selected objects/geometry are affected by transforms (if the object the “Free” is on is not selected, it will not be transformed)
  • Because of the underlying design issues, I have no plans to backport the new features from Exact Edit to Exact Edit Alpha (Exact Offsets). Exact Edit can be considered the “official” successor to Exact Edit Alpha.

Set Measure - Translate / Move:

https://i.imgur.com/3EkXnFv.gif

Set Measure - Swap points, Rotate / Change Angle:

https://i.imgur.com/qe1SHRq.gif

Free Rotate - Free rotate around custom axis:

https://i.imgur.com/3HJj2IK.gif

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Very handy. Thanks nBurn.

Thanks for the good addon

Just got redirected here from the other thread. But yeah this is some pretty cool stuff. Combine this one with what is in TinyCad and Mesh Edit 2, and it really takes Blender up another notch for doing technical CAD-like modeling.

Amazing work! covers one of the few flaws of blender.

Now i only need a tool to set the exact lenght of edges or the area of a quad

That reminds me, I should probably add a notice to the first post of that thread as well…

Glad to hear it. When I do CAD stuff I’ve used those as well along with MeasureIt and NP Tools. I have a few other unreleased add-ons that are part of my “Exact Edit collection” I use as well, but they’re not quite ready for release yet.

nBurn! You just may be my Blender savior. In this thread, I asked about an Absolute Scaling utility like the one in Modo. Does this look like something you’d be able to do? Or are maybe familiar with another addon that does something similar? I know Blender has something along these lines for Object mode, but I’d like one to work while in Edit mode.

Your “Exact Edit collection” might be what I’m waiting for?

Cheers!

Ah, sorry, somehow didn’t see this reply until releasing an update. I’m not sure if it’s what you describe (I’m not familiar with Modo), but I just re-added the scaling feature from Exact Offsets / Exact Edit Alpha with an Edit Mode option, there’s a GIF demo in the first post. There will be a full change log will be in the next post.

Exact Edit version 0.1.0 released! Download link is in the first post.

Changes:

  • Renamed “Exact Edit” tool to “XEdit Set Measure”
  • Renamed “Exact Edit Rotate” tool to “XEdit Free Rotate”
  • “Set Measure” and “Free Rotate” are now 1 add-on and don’t need to be individually enabled

New Features:

  • Scale mode (selectable with UP / DOWN arrow keys), works in both object and edit mode
  • Added Edge and Face support for “Add Selected”
  • Menu showing active transform mode
  • Added panel in the Toolbar buttons for those that don’t like using the spacebar menu

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed bug preventing help text from updating when the “Add Selected” button was used

New panel in Toolbar:

https://i.imgur.com/M7KxMkX.png

Well done, thank you nBurn !

Nice skills nBurn, you’re starting to feel comfortable among axes and vertices :wink:

Thanks stephen_ledger and Okavango. The axes and vertices weren’t that bad, most of the work for the 0.1.0 update went into creating the menu system to enable switching between move and scale.

WHAAT! really good stuff, keep up the work !

Exact Edit version 0.2.0 released!

Donwload links

Changes:

  • Added tool names to top of menu
  • Minor changes and clean up to UI
  • Some minor code cleanup

New Features:

  • Added a measurement history to the popup dialogue, stores last 10 unique measurements
  • Added ability to create a new multi point on the fly (hold Shift when clicking “Add Selected”)

The “Last measure” numbers are stored as floats, so you get weirdness like “1.2” being stored as “1.2000000476837158” (or 2-22 * 5033165) thanks to the base ten to base two conversion. This is not the nicest solution, but it works for now.

Also, because there was a few people that requested this, Gumroad page.

3 Likes

2.80 (beta) version is available

If you have downloaded one of the 2.80 dailies from the last 2 days or so (i.e., 27d097e92d54 and a5b5bd2c24e0 for Windows), this updated version should already be in the add-on “Testing” category under “Exact Edit”.

Please keep in mind this is a beta version. Set Measure has most of the basic features are working, but it doesn’t work (reliably) with some of the newer 2.80 features (e.g.: multi-object editing). Free Rotate is currently disabled (for now) as I had some issues porting it over to 2.80.

For people who want to install Exact Edit on one of the older 2.80 builds, you can get an updated copy of Exact Edit here:
exact_edit_0.3.0.zip (30.0 KB)
If you are installing Exact Edit on one of the builds more that 2 days old, make sure to remove that builds installed copy of Exact Edit before installing this new one. Please note that this 0.3.0 version will only run on 2.80, not 2.79.

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This add-on is a godsend. I only wonder - do you have any plans to add support for metric and imperial units? It would be very handy to be able to type N" instead of N*.0254.

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Some type of “auto-multiply” option?

No, moreso just the ability to input centimeters, inches, feet, mils, etc. In 2.80.75, the add-on triggers an error message when attempting to input units. So I have to multiply every input by a constant of .0254 to convert from inches to Blender Units.

I don’t know if it’s related or might be useful in tracking down the error, but I noticed that the input prompt seems to lag significantly when typing anything other than a number or decimal. For instance, typing ‘mm’ in rapid succession in an attempt to specify millimeters is impossible. There is a delay on the order of several hundred milliseconds before the prompt will accept the second ‘m’. Maybe that’s useful for debugging? :man_shrugging:

EDIT: Closer inspection reveals it behaves akin to an out-of-tune denouncing function. Rapid concurrent entries of the same symbol are impossible, but different combinations of numbers and letters work fine. I.E. 12345 works fine, 111.11 or repetitive strokes of the backspace key do not.