CAD Modelling for Blender
Overview And Key Functions
Construction Lines is a tool for accurate CAD style modelling. Build snappable guide points and edges, draw lines and primitive shapes in place, automatically create faces in closed geometry, precisely move, duplicate and rotate geometry in a scene and cut-through meshes with extrude.
Guide edges and points allow for a construction workflow where guides are set and models are then constructed within these guides. The guides won't interfere with model geometry and can be toggled off and on when required. Guides edges will disappear when working outside of Construction Lines and neither Guide Edges nor Guide Points will be rendered.
Construction Lines allows for rectangles, circles, and arcs to be drawn in place from precise snap points on existing geometry or guides. These can be drawn from anywhere on a 3D model without the need for Blender's 3D cursor to define an Add location. Drawing shapes onto existing faces will automatically cut into the existing face.
***Now with persistent dimension display on guides
Construction Lines works seamlessly between Object and Edit modes in Blender.
Full Documentation and Installation Instructions here
Release Video for the latest version is here
If you come from software packages such as SketchUp this is a perfect way to get started with Blender
NOTE: Construction Lines is currently in Beta and is regularly updated with fixes and improvements.
Price Reduced in Beta - Buying Construction Lines in beta will also entitle you to future versions when released.
Blender Products Supported: 2.82 - 2.93
**New Features (version 0.9.6) - Duplication & Box Selection
Extrude & Cut-Through
Cut into existing faces
Guide Edges & Points
Drawing Shapes In Place
Precise Object Moving
Create snappable guide edges and points
Precisely measure distances
Build rectangles, circles and arcs anywhere in your scene
Draw lines simply by clicking and dragging in the 3D viewport
Lines will automatically fill in faces where geometry is closed
Use lines or shapes to cut into or divide existing geometry
Build lines, shapes and guides to exact size with numeric input (including mathematical operators * / + -)
Limit drawing and movement to the X, Y or Z axes
Auto snap to Perpendicular edge direction and edge extensions
Accurate object movement with snap points or numeric input
Cut into existing geometry by drawing onto existing faces (Construction Lines will automatically create the extra required geometry), allowing shapes to be extruded in and out of existing meshes.
Extrude and cut-through meshes, object rotations, horizontal guides and direction locks.
**New features - Automatic duplication and arrays of objects and geometry, box selection, Edit mode move and delete, persistent dimensions on guides and new face creation.
Version 0.9.61 - Current Version
New Features & Bug Fixes:
New: Added snapping to guide/edge intersections
New: Alt+'X' will dissolve geometry to complement normal 'X' for remove
New: Alt+'Z' toggles wireframe/solid views
New: Font size is now in preferences and will affect the size of guide dimensions and tips box text
Change: Guides will now automatically enter horizontal mode if dragged from another guide
Fixed: 'Error: Viewlayer does not contain object' crash when exiting CL and trying to restore a hidden object
Fixed: Removed persistent dimension text from horizontal guides
Fixed: If an object was hidden during CL use, the object faces could still be snapped
Fixed: If toggling to Object mode when in Extrude, tool would stay on Extrude. Now changes back to default Select tool
Fixed: Improvements to face finding and edge splitting when adding new geometry to existing
Fixed: Bug with undo after an extrude operation. Working object would lose focus and sometimes extrude boolean object would be rebuilt
New Features & Bug Fixes:
New: Interface Updates - Dimensions and tips are no longer shown in the top bar, instead dimensions are shown whilst drawing/measuring and tips are shown in a new text box.
New: Shapes and guides are now drawn with dynamic dimensions attached to them that update whilst they are being drawn.
New: Guide dimensions are now persistent, so will remain on the guide after drawing
New: Tools panel section ('N' panel in Blender) with shortcut guide, snapping options, quick access to measurement units and options to display tooltips box and guide dimensions (persistent)
New: Objects and geometry can now be deleted from within Construction Lines. Simply select the object or Edit mode geometry to be removed and press 'X'
New: Edit mode geometry (verts, edges and faces) can now be selected, moved, duplicated (see below) and deleted from within Construction Lines
New: Object and geometry selection box. When in select mode, click and drag and a selection box will be drawn. Dragging from left to right will select any object or geometry completely within the selection box and dragging from right to left will select anything within the selection box or that that selection box is touching
New: Object and geometry duplication. Select geometry or an object and using the move tool, begin to move. Press Ctrl and the object/geometry will be automatically duplicated. Click to place and then type a number and hit Enter. This will produce multiple duplications based on the number that has been entered, with the same spacing and direction as the original duplicate. Typing '/' before the numeric input will distribute objects between the original object and the duplicate.
New: Guides can also be moved and duplicated
New: visual indication when in Edit mode. A bounding box is now drawn around and offset from the geometry to show that the current mode is Edit
New: Ability to double click an object to enter Edit mode on the object. Click away from the object's geometry will toggle back to Object mode
New: No longer need to press Enter to begin numeric input if using the number row and the Numpad can still be used for navigation. The option to use the previous Enter method is in preferences.
New: Preferences have been re-designed with collapsible sections and now include preferences for all colours and shortcut keys
New: Snap point size can now be set in preferences
New: Guides are now context-aware so will default to horizontal guide if dragging from an edge
New: Right-clicking the mouse will now cancel the current tool
New: Re-do action can now be called with Shift+Ctrl+Z
New: Guide point names have now simply been changed to _CL_POINT
New: Locking to arbitrary direction is now Shift + Ctrl rather than just Shift as this previously caused unintended locks
New: Rectangle drawing has been fixed so that dragging now tracks correctly to mouse
New: All drawing now assumes ground plane if no other objects in the scene
New: Disabled header bar buttons so that nothing can be selected
New: Objects can now be selected from the outliner
New: Selecting an object or objects and pressing Shift+F will focus on those objects, in the same way as Blender's '.' on the Numpad
New: Added preference for snapping radius. This can help with accuracy and speed on more complex meshes
Fixed: Faces are now highlighted fully on select (not just outlined)
Fixed: Guide line ends are now correctly highlighted when selected
Fixed: Extruding a face that has a normal pointing away from the current view, will now flip the face normal to allow it to be extruded
Fixed: Issue with rectangles being drawn on the ground plane after numeric input, rather than the current orientation
Fixed: Bug with circles being drawn in the incorrect location when drawing on top of newly created geometry
Fixed: Bug with circles not rotating correctly to object faces
Fixed: Extrude not responding correctly to numeric input
Fixed: Issue when trying to draw over an image plane object. Selection would keep toggling out of Edit mode on the working object
Fixed: Issue when using measure tool. Entering a number without click a starting point first crashed CL
Fixed: Bug when drawing along an existing edge. Drawing a line along an existing edge would create a new vert but if another line was drawn from that the existing face would be removed
Fixed: bug when drawing diagonal lines across multiple faces. Face splitting algorithm would get stuck in an endless loop
Fixed: Previously internal processes would be controlled by a timer, which would make sure not too many events would be handled at the same time. This code has been re-written so that a timer is no longer needed as it was causing performance issues on some Apple Macs
Fixed: Issue with selecting 2D objects drawn on top of other objects. The closest object will always be selected
Fixed: Numerous fixes to face finding and face/edge splitting when drawing on existing geometry
Fixed: "Construction Lines" tooltip no longer shows when hovering over toolbar
Fixed: Extrude no longer snaps to face being extruded
Change: The default move shortcut is now 'G' rather than 'M' to integrate better with Blender's shortcuts. This can be changed in preferences
Change: Removed face creation from the context menu and changed the way it works. Face creation now only works in Edit mode. Select a set of vertices and press 'F' to fill in the face.
Change: No longer supported on Blender versions earlier than 2.82
Change: Multi-selection now uses the Shift key instead of Ctrl
Updates & Bug Fixes:
Hotfix for a bug in face creation
Updates & Bug Fixes:
Modal events which are fired too quickly are now consumed, which improves freezing issues (especially in Blender 2.92). Can be turned off in preferences if required.
Circle drawing will now orient to the face it's being drawn over
Arcs can now be drawn in any direction (not just locked to x, y, z axes) so can be aligned with any face rotation
Can now use viewport navigation widget
Fixed bug when drawing a shape onto an existing face, when lose geometry is already on the face (face wouldn't split properly)
Improved face finding in concave faces
Changed face select/highlight to an outline only
Extruding a face will now show a wireframe of the extrusion path
Can now use Mac Cmd key with Z to undo
Preference for toolbar icon spacing (issue on Macs with icon scaling)
Fixed issue with Edit mode automatically being entered after adding new geometry (in Object mode)
Fixed issue when using undo outside of Construction Line, which would reactivate Construction Lines incorrectly, so it was no longer usable.
Added a new preference to turn off dashed line overlays. This sometimes causes viewport performance issues on older Macs
Updates & Bug Fixes:
New toolbar to replace context menu
New Object mode rotation function for single or multiple objects
New construction guide select and move - move the whole guide or drag an end
New construction guide rotation
New Guide intersection points
New Face extrude and cut-through (Blender 2.91+ and interim only until Extrude Manifold is fixed) from within CL (See Known Issues)
New Selection mode for selecting objects to move and rotate and selecting faces to extrude/cut-through
New direction constraints so that measurements and lines can be constrained to any arbitrary axis
New Horizontal guides which can be dragged from any edge and remain parallel to the starting edge. Includes a new preference to set the default length
New global axes snapping. Limits to visible axes (controlled in overlay) There is also a preference to turn on and off.
Can now set a default tool for CL start
Face center dots are now shown so that face split will be more apparent
Returns previous context settings (edit selection mode, etc.)
Objects or faces already selected in normal Blender modes will remain selected when entering CL
Fixed when switching between Workspaces whilst CL is running
Fixed bug when entering negative numbers in imperial mode
Fixed bug when adding geometry to an existing mesh, outside of an existing face - face geometry was being removed
Changed - CL stays remains active even after pressing Esc. To exit completely use either shift + Esc, the exit button, or click another Blender tool
Fixed CL remaining active in either Object Mode or Edit Mode after exiting CL in the opposite mode
Fixed issue with calling undo where undo history was taken outside of CL start
Fixed issue with line drawn shapes not cutting into existing face correctly
Extrude: There seems to be some issues with the way the Exact boolean solver works so sometimes cutting back into an existing mesh leaves artifacts.
When installing/updating CL in preferences, sometimes random errors are thrown by Blender, either when trying to enable CL or when first trying to start CL. This happens mainly on Mac computers. Simply restart Blender to fix.
Updates & Bug Fixes:
Fixed failure to split face when drawing lines onto an existing face
Fixed bug where shapes could not split an existing face, after the face had already been split by a line
Normals of new shape or line drawn faces are now correctly oriented to view
Display text now displays the current modelling mode (Object or Edit mode)
Features & Updates:
New feature to allow for circle, rectangle and line-drawn faces, to cut holes into existing faces. New geometry is automatically created to allow this to happen away from existing edges.
Big improvement to edge snapping, snap point no longer runs away from the cursor
Changed lower limit to guide scale in preferences to 0.0001
Guide edges now have a scaling preference. The value is from 1-5
New text display in the bottom left of Viewport to show which tool/action is currently running
Support now for Blender 2.9
Fixed Arc direction snapping and locking
.(dot) on the Numpad now works correctly for decimal input (azerty keyboard issues)
Fixed issue with Construction Lines not working after loading a file which has been saved during Construction Lines use. A running flag was saved into the file, so Construction Lines thought it was still running
Fixed issue when creating a new object, deleting it and undoing the action multiple times. Construction Lines on occasion would still keep a reference to some deleted objects
Improved face finding and creation on existing meshes
Fixed issues when axis snap overrides snapping to a geometry point. These two snaps work together now
Calling undo whilst in edit mode will now remain in edit mode rather than object mode
Fixed issue when using imperial units sometimes failing with multiple digits before a decimal place, in numerical input
Features & Updates:
Snapping can now occur when line/tape is dragged perpendicular or is an extension to an edge (snap is highlighted for both cases - pink for perpendicular and purple for edge extension)
Numeric input is now triggered after the Enter key is pressed. This allows for the Numpad and number row to be used for camera orientation during normal operation. Pressing Enter again, after typing a value, will apply the number/expression to the current operation
Select a guide edge and create true geometry for use outside of CL using the context menu (hold Shift and click guide edge to select. The guide will change to an orange colour when selected )
Added new preference to override Unit Length with Unit Scale when adding guides and new geometry (this is useful when working with custom scales)
Added new preference to set guide scale. This will affect all new guide points. Existing guides can be updated by using Scale All from the context menu
Default scale for guide points is now smaller
3D mouse events are now passed through to Blender, so using a 3D mouse to navigate should now be possible
Strength of axis snapping has been reduced, allowing for greater freedom of movement when drawing and measuring
Fixed OpenGL issue with dashed tape measure not displaying on some Apple Mac computers
Fixed bug when calling undo multiple times, where undo will lead outside of current Blender context and cause a crash
Fixed issue with correct measurement display when changing length units
Fixed bug which allowed some non-numeric values to be used in metric mode input, causing a crash
Fixed issue with numeric input when using Imperial units and typing a number with greater than one decimal place as the first value
Mouse clicks outside of viewport area are now handled correctly (either passed through to Blender or ignored)
RGB values for guide colour in preferences are now correctly limited
Numerous performance and stability improvements along with lots of minor fixes
Big performance improvements when cutting into existing geometry
Fixed stability issues when using shapes to cut into existing geometry
Please note that upgrading from version 0.9.0 requires the removal of version 0.9.0 from Blender before installing any new version.
Dimension input now allows for Imperial values (when Blender's Unit System is set to Imperial) - Values can be written in multiple ways eg. 12'1" 3/8, 12'1, 12' 3/8, 12. Decimals can be used for the first value. Will work with either Feet or Inches set as the Length Unit
Hold Ctrl and using the mouse wheel will allow for changes in circle/arc segments and will also automatically add guide point divisions to the current guide edge - Whilst dragging a guide edge use Ctrl+Mouse Wheel to increase/decrease the number of guide divisions
A guide point is now added to the start of a guide edge
Bug fix to arc and circle when using with existing geometry face - was not cutting correctly - NB. This is a patch fix, the face finding and face intersection system will be re-written for the next Construction Lines Version
Bug fix to measurement scale - was not previously taking into account user-entered Unit Scale, only unit type scale
Version 0.9.0 - Initial Beta Release