Build a clock with Blender and Python

Tick Tock

Article from Issue 276/2023

With a little help from Blender you can create your own 3D models – including animations. This article shows you how to assemble a partially automated virtual watch model with Blender and Python.

The free Blender program package for modeling, texturing, animation, and video and image editing can be found in the package repositories of most Linux distributions, and there is also a distribution-independent Snap package. Typing the snap install blender command at the command line installs the graphics suite. If you need more in the way of installation options, you can download the application directly from the Blender Foundation website [1]. While you are there, you can also access the extensive documentation, tutorials, and examples and grab the versions for Windows, macOS, and others. On top of this, because the Blender Foundation provides the source code, the program can even be adapted to run on less common operating systems. Of course, in this case you will have to compile Blender yourself.

On Linux, either open Blender in a terminal or use the Open in Terminal shortcut in the window manager of your choice. If neither succeeds, first launch Blender and then try to discover the path of the Blender installation in the Python Interactive Console by typing Then enter this as the start parameter for the call in the terminal. This ensures that error messages and output from the Python command print("Hello world"), for example, also reach their target (i.e., the terminal window). This is especially important if you don't just want to use the Blender Python Console in Blender's Scripting workspace and individual commands, but also want to call Python programs you saved previously.


Blender's user interface is divided into workspaces. Each of them hosts a different collection of editors and windows that appear at specific positions on the screen. The program lists the available workspaces on the right below the menu bar. They include Layout, Modeling, Sculpting, UV Editing, and Animation. Almost all workspaces contain the 3D viewport window and other windows.


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