How to Make Precision Movements

I’ve been modeling in Blender for over three years and for some reason I never ran into this problem before.

I needed to move an object a precise distance measured in thousandths of an inch (I work exclusively in Imperial measurements) however, when I did this:

  • hit ‘g’ to move,
  • hit ‘x’ to restrict the axis, and
  • typed in the number (which is -244.506 thousandths of an inch)…

there was no way to designate thousandths of an inch, so I got unpredictable results. In other words, I have no idea where the object ended up. Maybe miles away; who knows?

After some digging, I found out a few things:

  • Blender’s measurement system recently underwent an overhaul,
  • there is now an Advanced mode for entering values on the fly (like when you’re moving an object), and
  • the designation ‘mil’ can be used for either millimetres or thousandths of an inch.

So, when you’re typing numbers during a transform operation, these symbols (typed after a number) designate Imperial unit types:

  • ‘mil’ is thousandths of an inch,
  • double quote (") is inches,
  • single quote or apostrophe (’) is feet,
  • ‘yd’ is yards, and
  • ‘mi’ is miles.

But there is one extra step to get the correct results. You have to use Blender’s Advanced numeric input mode. That means the above procedure becomes:

  • hit ‘g’ to move,
  • hit ‘x’ to restrict the axis,
  • hit ‘=’ to enter Advanced numeric input mode, and
  • type in the number (-244.506mil).

You can also do it this way in the ‘n’ View Properties pane Transform > Median > X input:

  • click in the input box,
  • deselect the contents (just move the cursor for those of you new to all this),
  • move the cursor to the end,
  • type the number (-244.506mil), and
  • hit Enter.