I have known about Blender for almost a year now, but have not really tried it out to learn it. I had started a project about a year ago and never finished it. I think that the scope was beyond my ability as I am coming into this program pretty fresh. I went to school for Media Arts and Animation and graduated with a bachelors. But that was in 2005 and I was using 3DS Max, and when I became a family man I stopped practicing. So I have been watching various videos on how to, people’s creations, and what have you. Plus I have been going to different websites that relate to Blender and reading up on it. Now I think I have a nice starting ground to attempt a project from beginning to end.

I have always been fascinated with nuclear reactors and what not so my project is a reactor of sorts. I am drawing reference from various reactors around the world with open silos and the atmospheric processor from Aliens (love that movie). I am a little nervous about this project as it is my first real project since graduating and it is on a new piece of software that I am still learning. However I plan to finish this. Attached is a reference collage I put together in GIMP and a screen shot of my progress so far.

Any constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated as I continue this journey to learning an interesting and powerful FOSS program (Blender) and other FOSS programs (GIMP) that can help as well.

Well, judging from this you have literally just started. I can’t tell what you are using so this might be a little redundant, but for this I think the array and mirror modifiers would be well suited. Also, you should try starting out with Cycles for rendering, as it is vastly more realistic. Though for someone with education on the matter I guess it’s just about getting to know the UI and raw practice, so keep at it. ^^