I do not know where to ask this question. Apparently Blender is not for CAD modeling. What CAD modeling software supports posable 3D human models?

For a couple years now, I have been researching powered exoskeletons as a hobby. I would like to attempt to model one somehow, but I need a realistic human body to use as a reference, probably one of the realistic models with predefined pose motions and body shape/size parameters from Daz3D.

The goal would be to have the 3D exoskeleton move in combination with the 3D human model in a realistic manner following proper physical motion constraints of the physical hardware and for it to not be able to move outside the motion constraints of the hardware or the human body.

As far as I am aware there is virtually no professional 3D CAD software that supports the use of such posable human 3D models with internal bones. I have looked and I just cannot find anything.


Now yes, I will agree, there is a professional parametric human model available for CAD software, from a company called AnyBody. However they do not sell their human model, they only rent it, and it is only available for an approximate cost of $60,000 per year.

Discounts to this stratospheric cost for hobbyist usage are absolutely not available. I have tried. As such they are far out of my reach and only affordable by deep-pocketed military, business, or engineering schools that only accept graduate-degree level participants. So AnyBody is completely out of the picture as an answer to this question.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about Blender.
    – Sazerac
    Jul 23 '19 at 1:36
  • Some CAD software supports importing mesh objects, so you could importe posed characters created in Blender or any other software. While Blender is not a CAD program you can still do hard Surface modelling with it, if you respect proper topology avoid too many Boolean operations. You could at least sketch basic shapes and dimensions in Blender, then export a reference model to do the actual CAD work in any CAD like FeeCAD, Autocad, Nurbs Software like MoI or Rhino etc. Jul 23 '19 at 9:26
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    @Sazerac There is no requirement on this site for a question to about Blender. Where did you get that idea?
    – Eric S
    Jul 23 '19 at 14:01
  • Perhaps Poser? posersoftware.com
    – Eric S
    Aug 17 '20 at 13:37

I would say use blender, you do not actually need CAD software. As a hobbyist I don't expect your model will be used to generate CAM files that will be fed to the CNC machines. If you do get to that stage, your blender model can be a good reference point to make a more accurate version.

As a hobbyist, using a realistic human character and modeling your exoskeleton around it should be enough to scratch your itch.

I would suggest looking around for a human rigged character that you can use, if you want to get a variety of characters maybe look at MakeHuman.

Using blender you can use python scripts to read in data from whatever motion tracking/simulation that you want to use and use it to move the armature in blender. You can find several questions about setting up and using pyserial to read in data from things like an arduino or using a kinect for a cheap home mocap studio.

There are a collection of constraints you can use to prevent joints moving past specific limits, or you can use python based drivers if you need more control.

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