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Tutorial (Build a Cup)


In this tutorial, you will learn the basic functionality of BlocksCAD by creating a cup.

First, make the basin of the cup by subtracting one cylinder from another.

  1. Navigate to the BlocksCAD website.
  2. Optional: Create an account.
  3. Click the “3D Primitives” menu on the left side of the screen.
  4. Add a cylinder block by clicking and dragging it into the project area.
  5. Click the Render button on the right-hand side of the screen. A preview of the cylinder will appear.
  6. By default, the radius1, radius2 and height fields are set to 10mm and the cylinder is not centered.
    • Set radius1 and radius2 to 40mm.
    • Set height to 90mm.
    • Click the Render button to see the updated cylinder.
  7. Create a copy of the cylinder by right-clicking on it and selecting “Duplicate”.
    • Set radius1 and radius2 to 37mm.
    • Leave the height at 90mm.
  8. Click the “Transformations” menu on the left side of the screen.
  9. Add a Translate block into the project area.
  10. Click and drag the 37mm cylinder over the translate block until it becomes highlighted. When you release it should snap into place.
    • Set the Z field to 3mm. This will move the cylinder 3mm in the z-direction (up).
  11. Click the “Set Operations” menu on the left side of the screen.
  12. Add a Difference block to the project area.
  13. Insert the 40mm cylinder into the upper slot of the Difference block.
  14. Insert the Translate block (containing the 37mm cylinder) into the lower slot of the Difference block.
  15. Click the Render button. A cup-like shape will appear. Note that the walls are all 3mm thick due to the difference in the two cylinders and the z-axis translation.
  16. Optional: A taper may be added to the cup by subtracting a number from the radius1 field of both cylinders. For example, for a taper of 5mm radius1 of the larger cylinder would be 35mm and radius1 of the smaller cylinder would be 32.

Next, create a handle for the cup.

  1. Right-click on the Difference block and select “Disable Block”.
  2. Click the Render button and note that the basin is no longer visible.
  3. Add a cylinder to the project area.
    • Set radius1 and radius2 to 40mm.
    • Leave the height at 10mm.
    • Using the drop-down menu at the end of the block, center the cylinder.
  4. Add a second cylinder to the project area.
    • Set radius1 and radius2 to 35mm (the handle will be 5mm thick).
    • Set the height to 11mm. This will ensure that the smaller cylinder bores through the entirety of larger one.
    • Center the cylinder.
  5. Add a Difference block to the project area.
  6. Insert the 40mm cylinder into the upper slot of the Difference block.
  7. Insert the 35mm cylinder into the lower slot of the Difference block.
  8. Click the Render button. A ring will appear. Note that the walls are all 5mm thick due to the difference in the two cylinders. You will subtract a portion of this shape later in order to form a handle shape.

Position the handle on the side of the cup.

  1. Right-click the disabled Difference block and click “enable”.
  2. Click “Render”. The two pieces of the cup will now render, though depending on their position they may not be visible due to being in the same place.
  3. Click the “Transformations” menu on the left side of the screen.
  4. Add a Rotate block into the project area.
  5. Insert the Difference block into the Rotate block.
    • Set the “X” field to 90 degrees.
  6. Click the Render button and note the new positioning of the handle.
  7. Translate the handle up and away from the basin.
    • Set “X” to 35.
    • Set “Z” to 45.
  8. Click Render and note the new position of the handle. Note that part of it is inside the basin.
  9. Add a Difference block to the project area.
  10. Insert the cup handle blocks into the top slot of the Difference block.
  11. Locate the blocks that represent the inner portion of the basin. Right-click it and click “copy”.
  12. Click “Render” and note that the inner portion of the handle has been removed.

Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited. This research was developed with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The views, opinions, and/or findings expressed are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.