Project - Virtual Representation of our Makerspace

The Project
Over the next couple of months, I’ll be working very casually and hopefully with others on constructing a virtual representation of our Makerspace using Blender CAD software.

The Aims
To allow all members, (after taking a 5 min course on basic Blender operations) to see “What If” scenarios for arranging big and small pieces of equipment around the space.

I’ll be teaching classes every week that will show users an Introduction to Blender, How to Make Virtual Representations of Objects, how to code in Blender’s Scripting environment, and how to develop algos for arrangment of virtual objects.

Hope to see y’all at the classes or welcome you aboard the project!

(not a very accurate, complete, or polished example)


I look forward to checking out the Introduction to Blender when it’s offered outside of work hours.


Kewl idea!

I’ve moved this to the #interest-groups:projects category, so we can follow any updates you post on this thread easily. :slight_smile:

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I think this can be arranged! I’ll get on it tomorrow when I get enough energy up for class submissions hehe

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If you’d like to start moving things around virtually in the Science Lab or Purple Classroom message me and I’ll send you the Blender files. My first class in the Blender Series is enough to get people 85-90% proficient enough to move things around in Blender. My second class covers how to make virtual objects. Any requests for the next area to be modeled?


Neat. I have some experience with Cinema 4D and 3D modeling in general. But what I’ve found (and perhaps you do the same) is that models for pretty much anything you want exists on the internet for free use. I often just poach those if I need something. So really much of what we’d need is just accurate dimensions on everything (and the building itself) and then could just fill in the blanks with models that already exist. May not look exactly the same but it’ll take a fraction of the time.

But yah a 3D model of the maker space (and then one that could be 3D printed :wink:) would be cool just to have.

And yah that’s how I’ve always done remodeling and figuring out where I want to put things in a new apartment or whatever. Measure it all out, make 3D representations, and just move everything around in Sketchup/Cinema/whatever. Works great and saves a lot of back ache!


Next step: Second Life: Dallas Makerspace to replace Talk. There, instead of arguing, we can kick each other in the crotch. I’ve already made my avatar.


That’s a much a better idea using already existing models. Too much times goes into the small details that’s really not worth it. I irrationally avoid most of those modeling sites because “What, you want to make another password!?” Do you have any to recommend offhand?

Does Cinema 4D have features that make it stand out from other CAD softwares?

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Does Cinema 4D have features that make it stand out from other CAD softwares?

Naw it’s a pretty terrible software compared to things like Maya and the like. I just learned it because I got it in a software package for $20 in college.

I’ve never really used Blender but I’m sure I could learn it fairly easily. Sketchup I know pretty well if y’all wanna do it in that too.

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I’d like to do it in as many CAD softwares as possible to make it as accessible as possible so long as the project creep and time tradeoff for doing so doesn’t grow crazy out of control. Whatever the CAD software, I’m confident any maker willing to put in 20-60 min can learn to move stuff around (5 min really), get an overview for the software, and learn the ‘traps’ and fat finger hotkeys to watch out for.

I’m creating separate Blender files for each area and redundant objects like outlets, light switches, chairs, and tables. Importing singular objects into Sketchup after converting to an STL shouldn’t be too much of a problem if any, but I don’t know how to do that offhand for Blender files containing multiple objects… happy to give it a shot

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This is very neat stuff. I can’t make the class, but I will download it and spend some time behind the screen. Thanks for introducing me to it.

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Perhaps the Interactive Classroom, so members can play around with various room configurations prior to classes/workshops they might hold in it. :slight_smile:

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Just had a quick, uneducated go at importing a .3DS file of the Purple Classroom into SketchUp… it gets the outline of the room correct but not the 3D reconstruction or textures. I can send you the .3DS file or Blender file to your email if you’d like to try?

Sure, I can try playing with it some. Email is aggiewhoop09 at Gmail. Not sure how flexible sketchup is with playing with other programs.

I also thought about just measuring everything out this weekend and going from there. That’d take some time though, but I do think I have one of those laser measuring devices. Might be in a toolbox that’s in storage though. Will look.

I also really wanna play with that program that was posted elsewhere on talk for 3D modeling from pictures to see just how many you need for a decent 3d model to pop out.


Just a public admission that I tried on my own and have failed to get the hang of Blender. I’m bringing a mouse back from WI with me in a few days and will try again with new and improved equipment. It’s not that I’m not interested. It is that I’m not clever enough to figure it out on my own, and haven’t been able to make the gatherings.

PS Did you finish mapping the space yet? :wink:

Not to mention this could make for a hilarious youtube channel!

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No embarrassment to be had by not picking Blender up your first go by yourself… you’d be some kind of super mutant Prof X if you did. It’s best to take a class by someone <>COUGH COUGH<> who knows the pitfalls and specific points of confusion commonly faced by Blender newbies. If you can’t find those classes available it’s best to find a youtube tutor who fits your style

Getting a little closer every fortnight. We’ve measured the commons, hallways, conference room, and front room but they still need touch up and texturing. Pics to come within the week

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Greetings from Seattle! Thought I’d take some of my vacation downtime and revive this thread but first a
Big Thank You!! to @agvet for helping out with measuring DMS down to the nearest 1/8 of an inch.

Woodshop and Workshop have been measured but not constructed. Most everything still needs texturing and then we’ll begin adding furniture and equipment. After that, I hope someone will come forward and help us transition this to one of DMS’s online resources where members can play around with arrangements, guests can take virtual tours, volunteers can better keep track of equipment, and I’m sure there’s 5-10 others uses.


It’s pretty baller.

If anyone wants to help with measurements, even just general dimensions of objects like worktables, feel free. I’ll be doing it in SketchUp as well and then if I can ever find time to figure out the 3D modeling aspect of the Autodesk make (I think that’s what it was called) program someone used on their car a while back, might be able to get true to life models to maneuver around. Maybe…

We’re pretty much done with the general measurements of the space. Just need to finagle the huge room some and then we’re good to go as far as the shell goes.

this is looking awesome.

if you need any help forcing sketchup to work with you let me know. I can help, it doesnt like to play nice with other programs