# How to approach the modeling of duct work, piping, wiring?

I'm wondering how to approach duct work, piping, and wiring?

In the past, I have used the spin tool to make corners, but I find it very cumbersome.

How do you do duct work and piping? I have seen people use curves, but I find it's hard to get straight 90 degree angles or just uniform angling across the whole model. It's also hard connecting piping together if they started from different locations.

Here's some reference:

• Curves and objects with array modifiers set to follow the curve Dec 5, 2015 at 20:45
• – gandalf3
Dec 5, 2015 at 22:41

To create basic connections you can use any or a combination of the following 3 Techniques:

• Pipe Joints, part of the Mesh > Extra Objects Add-on

Open the user preferences window (Ctrl+Alt+U in 2.79, or Edit>Preferences in 2.8) Navigate to the add-ons section.

You'll have a new item on the add menu to create pipe joints.

UPDATE:

As of version 2.79 and 2.8 Pipe Joints are accessible on Add>Mesh>Mechanical>Pipe Joints.

At creation time, each of the tools have a different set of options to refine the angle, diameter, etc. (if the tool tab is not open press T to make it visible or press F6

Keep in mind that once you make any further transformations, those original parameters cannot be reset (read this).

• Connect different segments.

To connect two cylinder segments that have the same number of vertices, select the end edges and use Bridge Edge Loops, and adjust number of cut and smoothness.

• Curves

To create large sections and more intricate paths , create a base shape for the pipe.

And use it as a Bevel object on a curve:

To deal with sharp turns adjust the control points by pressing B and selecting Vector. The width of the curve can then be ajusted by changing the radius of a control point.

• I didn't know about the extra options in the bridge edge loops operator. Thanks for mentioning that! Dec 6, 2015 at 0:47

Two other ways to make pipes: Vertex extrusion and Spin tool.

A fun way to make pipes is first to create with simple vertex extrusions:

Then bevel the angles (Ctrl + B and tweak the parameters in the Operator box):

Then bevel your curve to give it thickness (Properties panelObject DataGeometryBevel). After that, reconvert to mesh, give it a Subdivision Surface modifier, and a smooth shading...

Instead of converting to curve you could give your mesh a Skin modifier (CtrlA to change the vertices radius):

When you're good, apply the Skin modifier, give your object a Subdivision Surface modifier:

Another way is to use the Spin tool. Switch to top view, select the edge, put your 3D cursor where the center of the rotation is supposed to be:

Select the Spin tool:

Rotate the edge, use Ctrl to constrain to 10° by 10°, tweak the Operator box parameters if necessary:

• Thanks. With my limited knowledge of Blender and looking at the different ways I am thinking I would use the Vertex Extrusion method as it seems to me to be the easiest the 'wrap the 'pipe' around corners on the fly and correctly follow the sides of the docks.- I am wondering how to get the lengths of the pipe to 'fit' around the docks and the vertex extrusion appears to be the easiest way. Please tell me Aug 31, 2021 at 3:45
• "how to get the lengths of the pipe to 'fit' around the docks", I'm not sure to understand where is the difficulty, maybe elaborate? Aug 31, 2021 at 4:13
• Well consider the letter E as docks and that each leg is wide (actually my docks have the appearance of the letter from overhead). For this example (of learning) I want to add 'pipes' (say) all around the periphery of E and I was thinking that I need to know how long each leg is allowing for the fact that the 'line' will be expanded into a pipe shape later and also allowing for clearance at the 'corners'. What if I make each part (between the bends ) the wrong length, is there a method to change the length of each 'leg' a a later time. Also how to change direction for the extrusion. Aug 31, 2021 at 9:07
• when you extrude (E) you can stipulate the direction with X, Y or Z if this is what you're asking Sep 1, 2021 at 3:49
• Most of the time I use the shortcuts, but if you use the extrude icon you can still press the axis you want while dragging the yellow gizmo Sep 1, 2021 at 8:49