Modelling a simple X-Ray machine in Blender

Modelling a simple X-Ray machine in Blender

Hi all,

as you know I am recovering from a cornea graft (transplant) as a result of Keratoconus. The pain is gone (albeit still sore from time to time, but I don’t consider that pain). My good(LOL) eye loses focus frequently (as it has done for a couple of years now). My operated-upon eye is still blurry but so much better than before the op. Nevertheless I have an obligation to meet. I had promised to do some 3D work making a simple model of an X-ray machine and then using that in some medical slides for a presentation in Paris.

So I thought I would share my progress with you guys :)

First things first. Modelling is not something that I was describe as my forte. Lighting and scene setting rank as my favorite skills in digital art. Next comes texturing and the creation of normal maps etc. And then modelling. The reason is simply that my eyes have always distorted my perception of things, so I never really trust whether what I am modelling matches reality.

Anyway, on to my progress.

My tool is Blender.

This is a shot of the x-ray machine side-one.


Here is another from the diagonal.


I have rendered this in IRay, getting the following:


Obviously it needs more work. It is very rough and missing details, decals and finer shaping. It also needs a back end and some tubing. I won’t show you the source photographs because I took them inside a hospital and I am not sure of the legalities.

The most exciting thing for me was learning to extrude along a curve. I learnt it from the following YouTube tutorial by Final Cut Pro X Tutorials :

I had never done that before and I needed to create that big curvy bit at the back. On inspection the curvy thing was a kind of H-beam. So I made the image of an H-beam in Inkscape, saved it as an svg file and imported into Blender where I converted it to a curve (yes, an H-shaped curve). I then followed the above tutorial using that H shaped curve.

So yes, pretty happy with the progress.

Also big thanks to my supporters out there on WordPress and Facebook who have sent me an overwhelming number of private messages and emails wishing me well since the operation. Muchly appreciated. :)

My final thoughts are intended for those of you out there with Keratoconus. There seems to be two types of people with Keratoconus – those who fight it and those who are overwhelmed by it. Trust me – we all find it overwhelming at times, but that should not stop you. I hate the damned thing and am very frustrated by it. But at the end of the day, being beaten by it is a decision that you make. During the past month I have been fairly limited where my hobbies are concerned because they are mostly visual. So I found myself an old Yamaha keyboard and started teaching myself piano (didn’t need my eyes for that). So yes, when it is overwhelming just take the time to examine your alternatives. Fight the good fight. :)







  1. You’re absolutely right, about it being a decision to fight Keratoconus or not. My first decision was to ignore it and pretend my first diagnosis of it wasn’t true. Then for ten years, I did nothing about it, until my eyesight deteriorated to the point that corneal transplant was my only option. On my second diagnosis (the reason behind why I had created my current blog), I realized that I couldn’t pretend anymore that it didn’t exist. I’m happy to say that my transplant was a huge success and I’ve gone from the status of “legally blind” to “nearsighted” in the matter of a few months, in my left eye. The results always varies for every case, this disease sucks and there is no cure for it yet (I’m still hoping that medical science will catch up!). However, I believe it’s worse to not try at all and give up. Then the disease has won. Anyway, besides my rambles, I wish you lots of luck in your recovery, Greg! And I look forward to seeing more cool creations of yours! I always enjoying visiting you blog! :-D

    1. Yep. I know all about denial. I was in my early teens in the 1970s when I was first told that I would be blind by 21 and I totally denied it. Luckily the doctors were wrong, but it was only in 2007 that I even learnt how to pronounce what I have. And then I plunged into full research. It’s wonderful knowing that your surgery was a success. It make the future so much brighter, eh? :) I feel that my operation is a success too. Already I’ve gone from legally blind to being able to discern letters at 6m (albeit large letters). The last week has been amazing. Thanks :)

  2. Greg, I admire you for your wonderful outlook so I doubt that Keratoconus will ever beat you. Like the Energizer Bunny, you just keep going and going! I’m sure it is difficult at times but it is the only way to continue on and enjoy life. You are a rock!

    1. Thanks Diane :) You display a very high opinion of me. Inside my head I feel a lot less resilient. This said, I feel a growing determination and a range of ideas and directions. You may have seen my recent post on Facebook – but keep it hush hush here till I write my next post :)

  3. Hey Greg, great post man, it was interesting approach and some great tips :D also; speedy recovery with your eyesight

    1. Thank you :) The eyes are getting there and I am glad that you found something useful. My posts tend to be brain dumps, so I am amazed when anything worthwhile comes of them :) That is something that I am going to have to fix soon :) Thanks :)

  4. Greg – It’s good to hear from you. Glad to hear you’re recovering and exciting to see you working on some modeling. Wishing you all the best for your continued recovery.

    1. Thanks David :) I’m taking this opportunity to do a bit of a remake of myself, so let’s see what happens.

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