The Building Blocks Pane

The Building Blocks pane is an interactive user interface for building 3D models. It is available through the menu item Panes —> Building Blocks.

When you first open the pane, it is empty. The first thing to do is create a new set of blocks. This is done with the tool button labeled “Add a new set…” (newset).


Figure 1: The name of the new set is displayed in the list of all building block sets.

The new set will initially have one block in it. (Creation of the new block is optional and can be turned off in the New Set dialog.)

The whole model will be composed of only three kinds of blocks: 4-sided (tetrahedrons), 5-sided (wedges) and/or 6-sided (hexahedrons). Each type of block can be split into smaller blocks that are still either tetrahedrons, wedges, or hexahedrons.

As you build your model, most of your actions will be automatically translated into commands that are sent to the Console pane. Such commands usually start with the keyword “building-blocks”. You can shorten this to “b-block” or “b-b” when typing a command in case you want to enter commands directly. See the command reference for details about the commands.

Note: The display technology used by the Building Blocks pane is the same as is used in Plot panes. This means that the ability to use the left mouse button on displayed objects depends on “picking” being enabled. For picking to be enabled, anti-aliasing must not be used. If you find that you can’t select objects in the Building Blocks pane, you may need to:
  • check the settings on your video card to ensure that anti-aliasing is not enforced.

  • check the “Picking” setting in the Options dialog to make sure it is enabled. To find this setting, use the Tools —> Options menu item, and in the Options dialog find the section labeled “Plots”. In this section is an area labeled “Global Plot Settings”. Here you can find the Picking check box. The box must have a check in it for picking to be active.