If you are a 3D artist then using Blender should be high on your list of priorities. If you are into animation, then Blender has got you covered with its animation and rigging tool kits. If you are interested in any form of creative application or project, then Blender is the creator’s dream. But what about something a bit more logical? Could Blender be used for something like Mechanical Engineering?
While Blender can be used for tasks related to Mechanical Engineering, it is not the ideal tool for this kind of workflow. Blender is geared more toward concept design for digital products, while mechanical engineering revolves around technical designs for manufacturing, construction, and architecture.
It is not a case of saying you should completely discard the Blender software as a mechanical engineer or for any project related to manufacturing, construction, or architecture. This is because Blender still has the accessibility to tools that can be used in these workflows.
Is Blender Useful For Mechanical Engineers?
Mechanical Engineers require various forms of software during the design phase of the project. The software can be CAD software, simulation software, or 3D modeling software like Blender. Because Blender is a form of 3D modeling software, it is best suited to concept design in this workflow.
For example, you are designing a part for a vehicle as part of a car manufacturer. This part is used to hold the engine in place while in motion, preventing unwanted movement or damage caused by vibrations.
Your design could be a type of chassis that protects the engine, so you need to experiment with various designs to see which is best suited.
Blender can be used for the concept phase, creating various designs and then placing them with the engine to see how they look and fit.
The idea here is not accuracy but validity. Once a design is decided upon from the various concepts, another application can be used to create the full model, to meet the specifications for the product to achieve its purpose.
Blender has some of the tools required for industrial design, but not all of them. For example, you can use Blender to create technical drawings for your models, as it does allow for 2D orthographic views and measurements of your objects within the viewport.
You have the ability to design and create models that are accurate to a tenth of a millimeter. However, this is not Blender’s practical design, and these tools are often cumbersome and unintuitive compared to more suitable applications like CAD software.
What Are The Better Options For Mechanical Engineering?
There are, admittedly, plenty of options that are more suitable to the technical requirements of mechanical engineering when compared to a creative suite like Blender 3D.
Many of these come in the form of CAD software. CAD is shorthand for Computer-Aided Design. The purpose of these forms of 3D software is to create highly accurate 3D models for construction and manufacturing, as well as for architecture and 3D printing.
Before you even begin creating the 3D model of your design, you will often need to start with some technical drawings of the product. These blueprints (basically) view the product from different angles while displaying important data like target measurements and how the product is to be pieced together or connected to a larger object.
Technical drawings serve as manuals and troubleshooting tools for identifying the weak spots in a mechanical or static design and rely on precise mathematical formulae to ensure that each part fits together correctly in the design.
The truth is, there are many things that a technical drawing can display, and its value in any logical pipeline cannot be understated.
Again Blender is fully capable of acting as software designed for creating these technical drawings, but in reality, this would be ill-advised because you would need to use some rather off-hand methods to create your drawings. Better to use software designed for technical drawings in the first place.
Many CAD applications allow you to create these technical drawings and design the 3D models to your target specifications.
While they can be expensive, the best, and most widely used, CAD applications that meet these requirements come from Autodesk.
- Fusion 360
You also have these alternatives, which are more accessible and inexpensive.
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