I would like to create a robot that is assembled from smaller, individual, and swappable parts. For example, the normal hands can be swapped with wolverine-like claws at the joint providing the same wrist rotation and mobility.

I understand that Blender is not as precise as actual CAD - Is blender actually useable for engineering?. However, I don't need extremely precision when different parts join. For example, in this SFV video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grX4qILHIlU, Akuma has different hair styles and clothings, is Blender an appropriate tool for making characters with swappable parts?

  • $\begingroup$ Blender is not adequate as a CAD tool if you plan on doing lots of Boolean operations (like subtraction, addition, intersection etc) as main modeling process, or if you require precise geometric operations like snapping, finding perpendicularity, or precise angle snapping. Those can still all be done, it's just not very efficient and may require more steps than other software. Without knowing more, swappable parts and modular characters sound well within the scope of what Blender can do. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jan 9 '17 at 1:04

Expanding a bit on Duarte Farrajot Ramos' comment above: if you want to engineer routinely, then there are more focussed tools than blender. For the purpose that you describe, blender might suit you fine.

I myself do use blender to prepare engineering models for simulations. Not needing some of the more advanced CAD features, blender turned out to be a practical and very cost effective tool for me with the added advantage that I can model and visualize results using the same tool.

When you want to do precision modelling there are a number of guides and tutorials available on how to tweak blender for that purpose:

There are also a number of addons that help: Edge Tools and Caliper from http://www.blender3darchitect.com/ (which also has great tutorials) as well as tinyCAD.

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