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Setting up Blender to use with Bukobot

Blender is designed as a general purpose 3d tool. Consequently there are lots of features, like animation that a Bukobot owner will never use. (at least not while they are using it to create 3d models.) What follows is a suggested setup to optimise the software for use as a 3d modelling tool. The instructions below assume you are starting with a clean copy of Blender with no existing modifications. (or you have chosen “Load factory settings” from the File menu.)

Setting the modelling space

First lets get rid of the default cube along with the light and camera.

  • Type A to select all objects in the modelling window. You may have to type A twice, once to de-select the central cube and once again to select everything.
  • Type X to bring up the Delete dialog and return to accept the default “Delete” option.

Now we will set things up so the display space matches our printable area.

  • Click the small Plus sign in the top right corner of the 3D window (the area which previously included the cube, camera, and light). This shows the properties of the object and modelling space.
  • In the panel which opens, find the Display heading and click the arrow to show its details. In “Grid Floor”, make sure “Z” is selected. Change “Lines” from 16 to 200. Leave the scale at 1 and subdivisions at 10.

One Blender unit is equal to 1 mm in the final printed object so this gives us a 200 x 200 mm platform. If you have a smaller Bukobot, change this as appropriate.

  • This is a good time to go to the File menu and “Save Startup File”.

Setting up the windows

Blender has a multiplicity of windows. The “Default” set has Outliner in the top right, with Properties below it. We want to keep Properties, as it has useful options like Boolean operators and fonts. Outliner is mostly useful for animation, but does contain a list of Objects in the scene, which can be handy for keeping track of everything (and a right-click can change an object's name!).

Along the bottom of the modelling space is a timeline palette, but that isn't useful for 3D modelling at all. Get rid of it (and save some screen space) by right-clicking on the line under the 3D window “header” (which is at the bottom of the 3D window):

In the small menu which appears, choose “Join Area”. You will note that a transparent arrow appears either above the line (and very large) or below the line (and very small).

Move the mouse cursor below the line so that the arrow appears below the line as below, and click the left mouse button. The timeline will disappear.

From the File menu in the top bar, select “Save Startup File” to save your window layout.

Setting your mouse and keyboard preferences

If you have a 3-button mouse and a keyboard with numberpad, you're all set. Otherwise you'll need to change a couple of settings.

  • From the top menu bar, open the File menu, then click “User Preferences”. In the User Preferences window which pops up, select the Input tab.
  • If you do not have a middle mouse button, Under Mouse, check Emulate 3. This means that alt-left mouse emulates your missing middle mouse button.
  • If you don't have a numeric keypad, check Emulate Numpad to allow you to use the top number keys on your keyboard.
  • If you are using a Mac with a wireless keyboard and a trackpad, turn on both these options and be prepared to write your own notes on how to interact with Blender. It works fine, but you will need to experiment to find out exactly how instructions translate. The “Mouse Button Emulation” section of the Keyboard and Mouse page of the Blender manual.
blender-notes.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/12 18:00 by eain