Imperial/English units in Blender 2.5

While in the 2.5 alpha there is an option to use Metric or Imperial/English units, things are not developed properly for the former system. Usually in architecture and construction dimensions are inserted for example as: 1’ - 5 1/2", or 3’ - 8 5/8", etc. Of course tolerance could be smaller such as: 1/32" or 1/64" (not used in architecture/construction too much but in furniture design, etc.). Anyway, this is a MUST for using Blender in architecture/construction wherever (especially US) Imperial/English system is used. How do I contact the developers in charge to explain them these basic things?

Try the Blender Foundation
By the way tou will be wasting your time. Any development is concentrated on blender 2.5. Why would they take time out to make any changes to the 2.49 branch on something which to be frank is not that important an issue.
If you want 1 blender unit to be 1 inch or 1 foot you have that already. Unless anything to do with fluids or physics, a blender unit is anything you want it to be.


@studioa, thanks for the feedback I, have no clue about imperial when making the conversions I just looked at wikipedia and was asking people on IRC questions like… “do you guys still use poppy seeds?”

Since most blender devs are in europe they couldnt help much.

I tried 1/64" and it seems to work as input but does not display the same way since input and display are not connected.

If you want to write some python script that converts numbers as you’d expect I can transpose into C and commit as a callback in blenders units system.

something like…

abs_val = abs(value)
if abs_val < inch: value_string = as_inch_division(value)
elif abs_val < foot: ... etc

I second that motion. Usually snapping to an imported drawing is enough, however there are cases where proper Imperial measurements make the job a lot easier :slight_smile: Currently it’s a bit difficult to think in terms of 252 inches plus 42 inches (11’ + 3’6") for example… :S

well there is another thing that i saw with theses units

the english system use yard instead of foot
which is the standard lenght in English unit in USA at least
Meter is fine in EU
but for USA and some other i guess the foot is a better unit then yard!

so it would be more appropriate to be able to see some foot instead of yard!

uness there is already a way to do that !

Thanks & happy 2.5

You’d think after they crashed their spaceship into Mars there’d be a standard conversion library available on the NASA website to do this stuff…

there are libraries out there but I could not find one that gave both very fast conversion for display (we dont want it to slow down the interface)…
and comprehensive input parsing.

But I still need someone technical to be able to explain (or better code) how this conversion should be done.

How for eg is this converted into arithmetic?
1’ - 5 1/2"

How would it be decided when to use this kind of notation?

ideasman42 - I’ll prepare a short explanation and proposal for that, then e-mail it to you. It is loooong time since I played with Python, but I guess I can try. Should I use the e-mail listed in your e-signature, to send you the material?

ideasman42 - I’ll be covering all these in the material I’ll send you. Meanwhile, the distance you wrote above is equal to one foot plus five and a half inches = 12" + 5.5" = 17.5" that equals in metric 17.5 x 2.54 cm = 44.45 cm
Using English units to type distances wouldn’t be hard. The main point here was that a lot of US users will be very happy to see this in 2.5 and I believe/hope would be easy to implement. I’ll follow up with the material, once I finish some other tasks.

Yeah, one of the most common, ignorant comments I’ve heard from colleagues and friends who primarily use CAD or Max is that “Blender doesn’t have units, CAD snaps and is more precise”. Retarded statement, really, because Blender DOES have units, you just have to imagine them to be whatever you want. Work in inches? Fine, BU = inches. With the metric system it works fine, but with the whole “12 inches for 1 foot” thing it gets a bit shifty.

Thanks ideasman42 for taking that on!

We (the English) dont use Yards instead of feet :stuck_out_tongue:
3 feet is 1 yard.
Though we are an odd bunch when it comes to imperial vs metric as most people tend to use a combination of both.
When measuring someones height, most people would use feet and inches yet for weight we use stones for a person and grams for ingredients :stuck_out_tongue:

I want to be able to use the customary system to its full extent:
1 league, 1 mi, 5 rods, 3 yards, 1 in, 17 pins + two gunter’s chains and a fathom = ?

+1 for the rods and gunter’s chains… whatever they are.

you don’t really know what you are on about, I studied engineering were most of my books were from the states and used both metric and imperial units, of the top of my head 3 feet = 1 yard; 12 inches = 1 foot. feet is to yard what meters are to kilometers, pounds to stones etc

hey i’m on the north east of North America and
we can still get the old rulers and tapes in ordinary hadrware stores and most of theses are still in foot not yard
i know that surveyor use the yard unit more often but that’s not eveybody!

mind you normally we can also have tapes with foot and meters but not yard and meter
unless you go with custom made measurring devices

yard is use sometimes but don’t think it’s the most common unit
so i would like the ability to switch betwen the yard and foot

at least it would accomodate eveybody eveywhere in the world

anyway let see what they can come up with to make it more user frienldly

happy blendering

Guys, please stop fighting or posting things just to post.
My initial thought was to cover US measuring system (English/Imperial) that is not well implemented in 2.5 alpha. I know most of the world uses Metric, though even the US government, in public projects, is using both Metric and English/Imperial in a slow push to move towards Metric.
To clarify even more: I’m an architect and I do practice on both sides of Atlantic (US and EU) and I’m very familiar with both systems. Also I’ve done projects in other places of the world, so I believe I have a good understanding of what is going on, at least in architectural and construction fields. I’ll prepare my proposal with explanations for Ideasman42 and submit to him for review, then based on that we will move to the next step. There are many 3D modeling packages (for example formZ) that has both English and Metric implemented and it is just a matter of simply switching between them - I do not foresee any issue and at the end we will have a robust implementation of both systems in 2.5.

Houses are measured in square feet, I’m not sure about commercial buildings. Yards are used in football, golf, and beer :wink: Seems like you hear yards used more for land distances. Tape measures use inches. Feet are a pretty common unit, I would focus on that.

By the way next time someone asks how tall I am I’m going to reply “Oh a bit more than a fathom.”

edit: Cross-posted, what he said ^

I don’t know if this helps, and I hope it doesn’t hinder, but I went ahead and made some comps of a possible gui solution. I am certainly not a professional builder of anything, but I’ve done quite a few diy projects for furniture and the like using blender and sketchup as prototyping tools. Frankly I’ve never used yards for any measurements, but I’m sure they come in handy for something.

Images below: (the display units for “dimensions” change depending on what box is check.)

Anyway I think this workflow for setting display options works pretty well. The only booty part is that sometimes decimals do not reduce well and you could potentially get a huge fraction, but I don’t think that is much of an issue when working with the standard measurement units of construction. I don’t think most people are likely to construct something using only yards as a measurement anyway, but more power to them if they do. Additionally, if the user were to uncheck all boxes, perhaps it could just default back to “none” for the unit type.

This would also translate fine for metric use excluding the fractions checkbox.

I think it might even be beneficial to add in a miles check box, incase you’re building an intergalactic space city. :wink:

we cannot go into Centimeters or Millimeters.
The Inch is not the smallest unit measurement.

So doing things like cabinetry, finish carpentry , Tile setting things are all very hard to do.
We break it down to fractions of an inch. For most Architecture use you only need to go into 1/16 of an inch.
For machinist though you will have to fragment the inch to 1/1000 .

dosn’t mingus have this already done for his cad script?