I'm just starting with Blender (2.93) and have some CAD experience (recently FreeCAD). I've seen a number of posts and discussions, but I'm beginning to think that there is no straightforward solution for my problem.

I'm trying to set the orientation of a pivot point accurately. As an example, presume a cube that has been moved/rotated arbitrarily with its own pivot point also moved and reoriented. I can easily move the pivot point to a vertex of the cube, but I cannot manage to align the axes along the edges of the cube.

I've also tried creating a custom transform, but I have the same problem in that I can't reliably set the orientation of the axes (if I choose Face, I get the Z axis along the normal, but can't control X or Y).

It seems this should be simple and, coming from the CAD world, pretty basic. What am I missing? On a bit more philosophical level, does this just turn out not to be an issue in Blender (even for hard surface modeling)?

Pointers to a useful tutorial or the like would really be appreciated.

Thanks, --Don

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure I understand exactly what you want to obtain, but what about using an empty with a copy rotation constraint set to the cube. Then use this empty to create a custom transform orientation? $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Nov 3, 2021 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ you can manipulate the origin orientation, so you can align the origin with the custom orientation, the problem of a simple edge is that you can set only one direction, but maybe show some screenshots of your situation? $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Nov 3, 2021 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


There are quite a few more 'official' ways to do this, e.g. using an aligned Empty, or ShiftNumpad 7 aligning the orthogonal view to a reference face, and then aligning your pivot to the 'View' orientation, or vertex-snapping a helper-cube...

... but here's a hack for speed. If you create a transform orientation from an edge or 2 points on your desired pivot Y, and align the pivot to it, then RY rotation-snapping the pivot with 'Active' to 'Vertex' around Y, strangely works. It seems always to be at a multiple of 45 degrees from the target. You can spot that angle, and manually (numerically) rotate the remainder:

enter image description here


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