I have some engineering schematics for an aircraft I want to make a 3d model of. These schematics includes cross-sections of the air foil at different parts of the aircraft, basically what you would get if thinly sliced the aircraft. Is there a way to use the line in the airfoil cross section as part of a wireframe?

The cross section is very simple, it is basically just a black line drawn in a loop to form an oval like shape.

The air foil cross section as well as a cross section of the fuselage from the front view are below to give you an idea of what I want to do and use.

Air foil cross section

fuselage cross section

  • $\begingroup$ You can import the image(s) as a background, and use that as a guide to build a mesh. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2016 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


What you want to achieve can perfectly be done in Blender but there's a few caveats and things to have in mind before proceeding.

The first one is you can't use the images directly to model, you have to convert them into something usable as actual geometry in Blender.

You can import you images in a variety of ways

  1. As an empty Add > Empty Image

Empty image

  1. As a textured plane File > Import > Image as Planes (make sure you activate the addon in the user preferences)
  2. As a background images 3D View > Properties Shelf > Background Image

The real challenge here will be setting them to the correct size

As for the geometry itself

You can use bezier curves to easily trace over your shapes, they are the most adequate type of geometry for this type of shape, however they will make it a lot harder to actually model the shape of your airplane in 3D with a desirable topology in the future.

Trace Bezier curves

If you still like this method you can use the BSurfaces Addon to help you create the shapes from the bezier curves with correct topology

Ideally you would trace the shape of your sections with a mesh, taking care to always use the same number of segments over all cross sections, so that you can have a clean topology over your model in the end.

enter image description here

I have to leave a word of warning as final though, even though Blender is totally capable of doing this sort of work if you are looking for precision, and easy smooth surface transitions without having to care for topology and sewing seams, CAD-like solid modeling or NURBS based software are much more adequate tools for this sort of work.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the visual example and the last piece of advice about using other software. Under an ideal situation, I would be using Autodesk 3ds Max software or some other software that can do .max format files since that is the format I ultimately want the final product to be in, but for an interim, I think this will work. I had Autodesk on this computer previously but the Hard drive crashed and now I am trying to figure out how to transfer the license to the new Hard drive lol. $\endgroup$
    – cluemein
    Jul 27, 2016 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Well hope you sort out your situation quickly, until then I hope you find getting rid of the proprietary chains of commercial software releasing. I was an avid 3Ds max user a few years ago, and totally replaced it for Blender in my pipeline; maybe it will grown on you as it did on me. Came for the lack of license, stay for the freedom sort of thing ;) $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2016 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ How did you get that interface configuration? I have added empty and all that, but I can't figure out where the option for applying the image is. $\endgroup$
    – cluemein
    Jul 27, 2016 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ nevermind, figured it out, my interface just looks a lot different and I have to go through different menus to get to it. A bit annoying to be honest, but I figured it out $\endgroup$
    – cluemein
    Jul 27, 2016 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Actually I'm still having trouble with the adding empty as image. I add empty, but then the properties you show are not showing up (the ones where you tell it what file to use for the image). They showed up once, but when I tried the process all over again, I couldn't remember how to pull it up. Where do you go for that particular set of options? $\endgroup$
    – cluemein
    Jul 28, 2016 at 21:28

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