Maya/Blender in CAD

Hey guys, our team wants to experiment using Blender/Maya for CAD instead of SketchUp and Inventor as we usually use. It’s more for decorative parts so thats why I thought it would be better than the standard Inventor/SketchUp. What do you think?

Maya and Blender are more for creating video animations than detailed computer-designed parts.

Even then, (imo) 3ds Max is a much better alternative to blender, and is easier to integrate with inventor.

You don’t use a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job.

If a part is purely decorative you might not need a model and of it. If it isn’t a rough approximation is usually sufficient.

Personally, I think you’re asking for a bad time using software not designed for engineering CAD, but if that’s your thing, it’s your team.

Honestly, blender isn’t the program you’d want to use if you’re doing something small like this - blender is overly complicated and usually you’ll spend more time learning the software than completing your project.

Sure, why not?

You don’t need the Internet’s approval to try something new unless it might injure someone :slight_smile:

Blender is a very powerful tool and learning to use it now will help using it in the future. Having more software experience can be very beneficial when the programs available outside of FIRST often are limited due to cost. The more you understand about the integration of various modeling programs (Inventer, SolidWorks, Maya, 3DS, Blender, Sketchup etc.), the more you will understand about working with different native data types.

While I agree that Blender is a great tool (I use it myself for animation), I would advise against using it for part design. If you want a more modeling oriented approach, by that I mean building with shapes instead of with parameters, Rhinoceros seems like the best choice. However, I don’t know about pricing or educational licenses for Rhino.

If your end result is a mechanical part made out of wood, steel, plastics, or sheet metal, I would stick to a mechanical CAD tool.

In SolidWorks, You can use functions like Sketch Picture to produce a curvy logo or Splines to trace Photoshop images. There are some nice videos on youtube. Marie

I would not use Maya/Blender for CAD, but you can do as you like.

The reason I would not is that tools like Inventor/Solidworks/ProE are the tools of the professional engineer. As such, having your teammates learning those tools is a great advantage in the next few years when they enter the workforce. Note I don’t see Sketchup as a professional tool, instead as a hobbyist tool.

Maya/Blender/3Dmax are excellent animation/video tools. If someone on the team is looking to go that direction in their careers, then modeling the robot in those tools is a great idea, but those models probably will not help when you need a part cut.

For actual stuff without dimensions, Blender/ Maya FTW. 3D printers are great for this.
But if it touches the robot, don’t use Blender of Maya if it’s 3D. If it’s like a 2D plate, maybe, but you would need to scale it to approximately the corrent size. 3D I would probably avoid just because it would be tricky to mount anything 3D.

Anything structural should be Inventor or Sketchup.

I’d go with Solidworks or Auto CAD for something like this still. I’m not sure of the types of files that you can export with Blender or Maya, but with most design CAD options its really easy to just export it as a .STEP or .STL file and have it machined or 3d Printed.