The Beam Builder addon allows you to create beams and adjust the shape with an operator. While you easily can create beams in edit mode, this addon could save you some steps. You will create a profile for your beam which you can then extrude or use as profile for a curve.
How to use the Beam Builder addon?
At the moment the path to get a profile for your beam is a bit long but hopefully the developer comes with an update one of these days. The path is: Shift + A > Mesh > Industrial Objects > Beam Builder and then choose the profile. The following profiles are available:
So that is the Box Beam, L-, T-, U-, I-, O-, Z-, Special Box Beam and Other Beam. Once a profile added to the scene you will see an operator like below.
The first thing you will want to do in such operator is to put up the scale. (At the moment of writing the beams are quite small scaled). The Tickness and Taper are for the overal shape of the profile. And the Radius is for the bevels. Each beams has so it’s own set of parameters.
A little warning is if you plan to extrude the profile in Edit mode, do it with a solidify modifier instead. This, because if you do it in Edit mode, you need to point the normals outside (Shift+N). So it might be more convenient with a solidify modifier. (Especially if you have Hardops, Speedflow or other add-on that works with solidify modifier.
You can also use the Beam as profile for a curve. First you need to convert the beam into curve. For that, go to in the Menu bar in the viewport to Object > Convert to > Curve from Mesh. (Shorter: Object then press V, C). Then place another curve in the viewport and in the properties panel you go to the Object Data tab (with curve symbol). And there under Geometry section, you pick in the Bevel-field the Beam-object. There, turn also on Fill Caps if you prefer.
These profiles work also with the PolySweeper addon. You need to rotate the profile on X-Z-plane and apply the rotation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you might need to set the origin. The workflow is a bit cumbersome in blender but here it goes:
- Go in Edit mode, select Edge, Face of Vertex. There where you want the origin to be.
- Press Shift F, Cursor to selected.
- Go out of Edit Mode and Press F3. Then type: Origin.
- Click on Set Origin, then Origin to 3D cursor.
Where to download the addon?
You can download the Beam Builder addon on Blenderartists. Look in the thread to the latest download. This time, you need to unzip the .zip file. In the unzipped folder you find another .zip file and that is the one you need to install in Blender. It’s called add_mesh_industrial_objects.zip. Then as usual in Blender go to Edit > Preferences > Addons > Install. Browse to the .zip file and press install again. Activate the addon, save and refresh. You can find the addon by pressing Shift + A > Mesh > Industrial Objects.