Budget 3D Modeler's Pocket Kit




The essential tools you need to model an object later in 3D on your computer.

Step 1: Assembling the Kit

To model an item in 3D, you need to know the object's dimensions and details. Sometimes you can obtain drawings or blueprints to help you, but for the smaller items, you need a way to record some basic measurements and details.

Assemble the following components:

3"x5" memo pad
mechanical pencil
6-inch steel pocket ruler
6 foot measuring tape

Most of these items can be found in your local grocery or department store. You may need to visit a hardware store to get the steel pocket ruler.

Step 2: The Measuring Group

The Measuring Group is made up of two components - the 6-inch steel rule and the 6-foot measuring tape.

The 6-inch steel rule, unlike a regular ruler starts at the very end of the ruler, allowing for very precise measurements for both standard and metric. The one I have also has decimal equivalents on the back for standard 8ths, 16ths, 32nds and 64ths divisions.

The steel rule's pocket clip also allows it to be used as a depth gauge.

The slim 6-foot measuring tape allows you to measure objects larger than six inches or around odd-shaped items and still be a convenient size for your pocket. This measuring tape also measures in metric.

Step 3: The Recording Group

The measurements are useless without some way of recording them so they can be used later, along with any unusual details.

The notepad allows you to write down measurements and make detailed drawings of the object your modelling.

A mechanical pencil allows you to write and erase as necessary.

Step 4: Upgrades

Some basic upgrades to this kit would include:

0.5mm mechanical pencil for sharper details
Pocket protractor for angles.
Rubber eraser for removing pencil marks and paperweight.



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    17 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    6 in scale, memo pad, and a digital camera, i.e. decent camera phone and you're in business. You can use "pixel comparison" and get close enough measurements for most things. If you need a larger view than what the 6 in scale an afford, keep something on your person with a specific length, i.e. a belt or a string. Other than that great stuff. By the way, I'm a Catia instructor. What 3D software are you using?

    6 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    i myself prefer Sketchup over CAD, as its easier to use and less finicky.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Dude i agree with you but i prefer cad because it has more support and is able to produce better models but it crashes and is stupid sometimes.(Autocad 2010 is very unstable :-( )


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    ya, it is pretty unstable. i just recently got ahold of Inventor and i find it to be very easy to use. there are some things you can do in Inventor that you cant do in Sketchup, but there are also things you can do in Sketchup that you cant in Inventor.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I've used several different programs ranging from $10 landscape designs to the most expensive CAD programs, including Sketchup.

    It really boils down to what do you need.  My uncle designs all his woodworking projects in VISIO, but it's just so he can get basic dimensions. 
    If you're looking at just modeling something for show, basic CAD/modeling softwares will work.  But if youre looking real design work with the ability to modify your designs and manufacture your designs, Sketchup is one of the worst programs to use. 

    I feel sorry for sadben for AutoCAD 2010.  Why not revert back to a previous more stable version?  I use CATIA V5 fulltime and I had to revert from R19 SP4 back to SP2 to get back a more stable version.

    Good luck


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I use parametric software like Inventor 2011, when i found out about it, i nearly broke into tears. Its like i have been cheated during my entire grade 10 year.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You can get them with graph paper but that's just an ordinary lined memo pad. Alternately you can use index cards that have graphs on them.


    11 years ago on Step 4

    You could also include a keychain digital camera to get pictures but the resolution are not very good with those.

    1 reply