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Tutorial: Modeling a Flange


flangeBlender isn't often thought of as the best tool for mechanical modeling. But some have utilized its excellent modeling tools to produce just about anything they can imagine. And a few have created some excellent tutorials on how they did it.

This tutorial covers the modeling of a flange. Being one not well versed in the realm of flanges, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What is a flange? Luckily, a quick search of wikipedia resulted in this simple definition, "a flange can be a plate or ring to form a rim at the end of a pipe when fastened to the pipe. A blind flange is a plate for covering or closing the end of a pipe. A flange joint is a connection of pipes, where the connecting pieces have flanges by which the parts are bolted together."

What is excellent about this tutorial is its demonstration of the creation of circular openings on a mechanical surface. A big thank you to the author, and go check it out here.


  1. Couldn't it be done with Blender's constructive solid geometry tools? (a.k.a. Boolean?)
    Unless of course the smoothed aspect was desired, but even then it must be hard to parametrize this precisely...

    Looks nice, although I have absolutely no idea of what it is supposed to be :D (a flange could be anything)

  2. flanges are used to connect pipes to other pipes, valves, tanks and other stuff you need in an installation that transports fluids. they are very usefull, because you can put a plate inbetween it, so you van remove pieces of the installation for maintenence.

    this is a nice method to create a clean topology, but if that doesnt matter you can use the method that i use: spin the flange, so you get one part. (in this case 360/8 degrees). remove faces where you want the hole, add a tube and scale it, so it is as thick as the flange. select the edges of the top of the tube and the hole you made in the flange.

    now the trick: press shift + f. to clean it a bit up you can use shift + j. and then repeat it on the bottom.
    now spin duplicate the part (360 degrees and 8 parts) and remove doubles.

    the problem with this method is that the topology is pretty messy afterwards, so you can't subsurf or bevel it.

  3. @aws357: Blenders booleans are pretty much unusable for even the simplest stuff in most cases. On denser or more complex meshes don't even bother using it. (search the blenderartist forum for more info)
    It's sad, but I have a lot of hope this will change soon.

    On the other side it's like you mentioned: If you want the result to be smooth(-able) you shouldn't use booleans in the first place, no matter if the work or not.


  4. I tried your tutorial. Why don't you make a 45 degree segment instead of a 44 degree segment. Just spin 22.5 degrees and so forth. With this aproach you don't need these messy "repeat steps ...". In general: you should do as much as possible _before_ applying spin dup. You do too much afterwards. Anyway, the piece looks very nice when its ready.

  5. thanks, that was a really good tutorial. the language was a bit bit vague in places ( grab and move the thing? ) but i really liked the tutorial method, with a link from the descriptive image detail to the full screenshot. and the repetition reinforced the instruction, to build a stronger awareness of the workflow. i have spent a lot of time in instructional design, so i appreciate details like that. copying instructions may make sense the first couple of times, but after a few tries, you begin to understand what you are repeating, and why. and with understanding, comes knowledge. good job, i think i actually learned something today. thanks again! : )

    jim ww

  6. Nice tutorial but when I try to spin counter clockwise in version 2.43 it still spins clockwise and yes I did unclick the clockwise button. Oh and if I hover over the clockwise button it says that it applies to the screw tool hmmm.

    I must have missed something

  7. >"when I try to spin counter clockwise in version 2.43 it still spins clockwise"

    Matro, I had the same thing happen so I just changed the degrees of rotation to a minus value.

  8. Thank you, guys, for your kind responses and sorry for the language. As you noticed I am not a native English speaker and it's difficult to invent specific names for those "things", unfinished parts of the flange. Why not 45 degrees? I don't remember now. There was something connected with calculations. But it is not the point. The idea was to make round holes. That's why I didn't use solid geometry. I tried it, but it didn't cope because it needed recalculation of faces, and the holes came out of any kind of funny shapes, not round as they should be. I am very happy that you found my tutorial useful. I tried a lot of free modeling programs and Blender is the most outstanding among them. It is very flexible and capable to produce everything you can imagine. I could described the process of creating the whole gate valve, but it is not as tricky as to make the holes to be round. Thanks again for all your kind words.

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