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Blender for Robotics is shaping up


robotFor more and more people, Blender is not just about 3D graphics. They use it as a framework for all kinds of applications. Today: Blender for Robotics.

Séverin Lemaignan wrote:

Hello BlenderNation team,

I drop you a short message to let you know about the latest  developments on the "Robotics" side.

As a part of the annual EURON (European Robotics Network: the network of European research labs working on robotics) meeting, we had last Monday (the 6th) a workshop in Leuven, Belgium, on topic "Blender for Robotics".

The purpose was to identify the current uses of Blender amongst the scientific community + figure out possible areas of collaboration. About 40 people from all Europe attended the meeting and I has shown that Blender is already pretty popular in our labs, mostly for 3D visualization of robots and their environments. Beside, at least to people are currently (or are about to start) working as full-time job on the improvement of the Blender workflow for robotics.

One other outcome of this meeting is the creation of an official mailing list ([email protected]) and a wiki page to help coordination on this topic.

I'll keep you posted of future news!


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. ..and neither should there be IMHO..

    I already tell Ton when he declares 'blender is for artists' that that is not a good thing to announce and that people should be able to use it as they are smart enough to do whether it be for art or visualising molecules or fractals or robotics.

    The insides of Blender are potentially very useful to many purposes and endeavours some not even thought of today.

    People will surely highly value access to a quality free resource and especially one being 'open' to picking over and skillful reuse.
    This is why it is also important that python works extensively and well with Blender.

    ok so I rest my case now ;) Long live Blender!


  3. I'm most impressed by this one, even though I don't really know the field of industrial design.

    It's a bit of a big thing to be using for such a small etching, although, can you imagine it with a 10ftx10ft sheet and a vectorised image converted into IPOs and curves? ;)

    BTW, I'm sure I'm not the only one that noticed the newtek logo inside the blender logo, that's maybe a bit derogatory to Blender's logo a little :)

    (not trying to start a newtek vs blender flame war btw so don't!)

    Nice work, would like to see more results from what other pieces can do.

  4. great work, one step closer to having my own blender controled slave bot.
    @ bart: i think it was in the 50's that some one came up with an automated cofee machine so why u would need a robot to do exactly that same job is beyond me :P

  5. @bart :
    Soooo... Is Shapeways going to use this to offer CNC service for customers ? Eh? Eh?

    @all :
    I think people would be surprised by the amount of things people do with Blender in science.
    While it's hard to justify the cost of a package like Maya or 3DSMax for your lab boss, with Blender you just download the software and go try something nuts/fresh/original

  6. I use Blender for designing robots. Probably one of the greatest advantages is that in group design sessions, I can keep up with the conversation in 3D (on the most basic conceptual level). Its a great way to quickly communicate and develop ideas in a group setting.

    Grease pencil is really useful for this as well, because it allows non-blender people to go up to a smartboard or promethian and actually draw right into the blender scene, rather than just pointing.

  7. I wonder if blender could be use on anykind of CNC. Can it generate g-code without a software like mastercam or enroute ? It would be VERY usefull for most of the jobs i'm doing right now... !

  8. @Arcanum: There was a blenderart mag about something like that a while back. 16 or 17? It's not all within blender though, there was a free CNC (not ass free as Blender)program he used. I looked into it until I found the price tags.

  9. as long as you have any controller-board attached to you PC, just drop some lines of dx,dx dz-coordinates to the parallel port and your motors will follow. It's up to your imagination how to get the bézier-curve interpolated ;) and the motors step .... but it's the most fun part of computers anyone can do: Software => motion
    PS: i miss my parallel-port *sniff*

  10. First to comment on the article: I think it's great seeing all the uses for Blender, and it seems to be put to use more and more frequently in a variety of ways. Looking forward to what we'll see in the future :D

    Now for my small unrelated complaint: I don't know how much it bothers other people, but I find the WP Great Box at the top of each article to be REALLY annoying. Please add a way to disable it permanently or maybe make it appear only on the first article you read. Other than that, BlenderNation continues to be awesome!

  11. @PCChris: thanks - I mainly added it to see if it could keep new (read: Google search) visitors on the site a little longer. it certainly should not be annoying. You *should* be able to get rid of it by clicking on the 'X' in the top-right corner. Also, I've tweaked the settings so that it shouldn't appear more than once per day. Please let me know if that works for you.

  12. @Bart: if the x button is supposed to stop the box from popping up ever again then it does not work. Otherwise, it works perfectly fine. I removed some of my cookies and did confirm that the once a day code works. Thank you very much! I think the box should be tolerable this way. :D

  13. I thought that Blender may be used for dewelopment of any integrated robotics networks of remote open development networks FOR ALL PEOPLE .

  14. Kristofer Monisit on

    This is wonderful! How did you do it? Python scripts + IP networking? My team and I actually thought of using Blender to control an 'ancient' Microbot TeachMover (for our undergraduate thesis). However, since we didn't have much of a background in Python, we just used Blender to create the 3D models, and MATLAB was mainly used to interface with the TeachMover.

    This was how it looked like eventually (YouTube):
    Part 1 -
    Part 2 -

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