Piperator is an addon for blender which helps generating complex pipe layouts. Below are a couple examples what can be done with this addon:
Just download the zip file here:
After downloading, open blender and go to:
Edit -> Preferences -> Add-ons -> Install...
Choose the downloaded zip file and press
"Install Add-on from File..."
Afterwards in Preferences, activate the support level Testing, search for the Piperator plugin and put a checkmark in the box to enable the addon.
How to Use the Add-on
The Addon can be accessed through two ways in blender:
- in 3D-View: Add -> Mesh -> Piperator
- in the Sidebar (Access with shortcut key: ‘N’) in a “Piperator” tab.
All generated Pipes and objects will be tracked and can be deleted through the menu or by searching for the operators:
In total, this Add-on adds the following operators to blender:
- Add Pipes
- Add pipes to object
- Delete Pipes from Object
- Delete pipes from only the selectd object(s)
- Delete All Pipes
- Delete all pipes from the current scene
When opening the editor the plugin has the following parameters:
- mesh mode
- selects different modes how the pipes will get generated. The different modes are: Skin Modifier (standard); Simple Wire; Poly Curve; Pipe Meshes;
- flange probability
- the probability at which flanges will appear along the length of the pipe. The start and end of the pipe will always have a flange
- support period
- the period at which supports get added to the pipe this is measured in blender units.
- the radius of the pipe
- material slow index
- the index of the slot of the material in the source object that should be used for the pipes.
- resolution v
- the resolution of the pipes along their circumference
- how far the pipes will be placed from the source mesh
- NEW layer number
- Can be increased up to five layers of pipes. This makes it possible to have more complicated network
- random seed
- get different variations for the pipes with different seed values
- number of pipes
- number of pipes that should be generated
- glue to surface
- if selected, pipes will prefer paths that are closer to the surface of the source object.
- NEW use vertex colors
- make pipes originate from “sources” which are marked with green vertex colors and go to “sinks” which are marked with red color using vertex colors. The colors don’t need to be precise, it’s enough if they are “roughly” green or red (rgb: [>0.5,<0.5,<0.5] for red and (<0.5,>0.5,<0.5) for green).
- delete pipes from a previous operation on the source object.
- debug mode
- add empties and wireframe that was used to generate the mesh.
here are some pictures showing the different mesh modes:
A short example on how to create a refinery-like structure:
- pipes follow the edge of the mesh, so by influencing the topology of your mesh yo can define the layout of the pipe network.
- don’t subdivide your mesh too many times, because this makes the pipe layout algorithm much slower
- subdivide your mesh often enough so that the pipes have enough edges available.