Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is It Real Or Is It Blender 3D?

  Over the past couple of days I have been busy once again at the QC Co-Lab maker space in Davenport Iowa making more parts for my Makerbot Semi Lowboy trailer.  Once I get a few more parts made I will post the latest progress with that project.  
  In the meantime I have been also working at home on the latest version of Blender 3D.  Blender is a great 3D software that you can download for free to create beautiful 3D graphics, full animation and even create your own games.  This software even has a full video sequence editing software built right into it. I use it to edit my videos complete with sound, title, and effects editing.  Great stuff. 
  I have been using Blender 3D for around ten years now and I also use it for concept work to see what a project may look like before I even build the first part.  I actually did this for John Deere for a time for a new concept that they wanted modeled up faster than what we had previously been using to design with.  
  Blender just updated it's render engine and so I am learning new things as I always am and have been having a ball with the latest version of Blender. Below you will find just a sample of what I have been up to.

 This first image is not a photograph but a 3D computer model I created using Blender's new render engine called Cycles. Pretty amazing to be able to create something that looks this real in a computer. The new render engine is not difficult to use.  Just a bit more steps to make it all do it's thing in the computer. 

This little guy on the trike is a concept idea that has been stirring in my head for some time now.  The vehicle started out as a pedal powered trike but now has evolved into what could be a full vehicle that runs on gas or electric power.  Check out the detail that Blender show in the rendering. Looks about as real as you can get without having it sitting in your garage.

  I wanted to see what the concept would look like for real and Blender now has made that possible without spending a small (or large) fortune to get there. 

In this image I was playing around with the front suspension and steering set up so the driver had room for his (or her) legs to be stretched out. The first version of this concept was more cluttered and not as clean looking as this one.

  In these two images you get a good view of the steering and suspension with and without the driver. This concept could be just a small commuter car or a even just a toy for a small child.  When using Blender the computer model can be saved and a new one copied and changed in minutes which saves a lot of time in making modifications to the design. My cargo trailer for my motorcycle (see photos elsewhere on my blog) was created this way.  This makes for an easier way to concept out a new design in a very short time.

 This is a nice top view of the trike concept. For now this vehicle is a fun idea but the concept has a long ways to go and still has a lot of bugs in it before I would ever consider building it for real.  But with Blender it gives me a good idea of what the finished vehicle (or at least the frame) will look like long before I decide to spend the time and money to actually put it on the road. 
   If you have not yet looked into using Blender 3D I suggest that you do so by checking it out and other images that I have here on my blog.  The software can be downloaded for free online by going to for the latest version which now is at rev 2.60.  There is also a nice set of beginner instructional videos online at which will get you started using this wonderful and fun tool to help you concept your next project. Worth a look for sure!

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