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Is there a way to rotate only the origin, without rotating the geometry? All I can think of is rotating the whole object in object mode. Once the local axis points in the direction I need, then I go in edit mode and rotate the geometry back in the opposite direction, to its original position. I can live with that, but is there another (faster) way to do this?

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Related: – gandalf3 Jun 30 '15 at 17:02
up vote 9 down vote accepted

First go into Edit Mode (Tab). Select the whole mesh (A) and copy it to the buffer (CtrlC).

Mesh copied to buffer

Leave Edit Mode Tab and rotate (R) your object as you like. Then go back into Edit Mode, delete the whole mesh (X or DEL).

Delete the mesh

While still in Edit Mode, paste the mesh from the buffer (Space and type "Paste Selection from Buffer" then hit Enter).

Paste Selection from Buffer

Now leave Edit Mode and the mesh is back in place, but the object is rotated.

Note the rotation shown in the Properties panel

Not a direct button to do what you want, but this is pretty quick to do.

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While it adds more steps to what I was doing, your solution ensures that the object remains precisely where it was before. Thanks. – cegaton Apr 26 '14 at 2:32
But it doesn't work for empties... :( – philipyassin Mar 6 '15 at 21:19
I don't believe empties have any transform beyond the object transform. They do not have a shape datablock the way other objects do. – JtheNinja Jul 5 at 17:51

In object mode you could press Ctrl A, then select Rotation. That will set the object's global rotation to 0, so in essence you would be rotating the just origin.

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@ David, thanks, but it's not quite what I'm looking for. I'm looking to rotate the orientation of the local axis away from the global, but without having to rotate the geometry... – cegaton Apr 26 '14 at 1:00
@cegaton could you edit your question and explain further what you are looking to do. There is no way to rotate just the object's origin. – David Apr 26 '14 at 1:04
I don't think it's possible either (or I just don't know how to do it), that's why I was asking... – cegaton Apr 26 '14 at 1:12

WARNING : This will lose any modifiers and materials on the objectgandalf3

  1. Add a plane and move it to where you'll want the origin to be.
  2. Select your object, hold Shift then select the plane.
  3. Press Ctrl+J to join them.
    Object's transformation values will be set to plane's transformation values.
  4. Press Tab to switch into Edit Mode.
  5. Delete the plane.

NOTE: You'll have to rename the object as its new name will be "Plane".

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Note that this will lose any modifiers and materials on the object – gandalf3 Jul 5 at 18:43

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