Box Cutter Guide V1

Box Cutter is released!

Legacy Hard Ops users will of course receive a discount.

Box Cutter is a brother of Hard Ops and a standalone product.


To start it press alt + w. To draw a sub box press ctrl + left click and drag. It requires a selection otherwise it uses the selection lasso.

BoxCutter is a secondary project focusing on cutting with a different perspective than the toolset we all know as Hard Ops. They are intended to be used together however separately they still work albeit behave differently.

Starting box cutter after enabling the add on is under the hard ops T panel.


The t-panel is worth looking  into.


This step is important since it allows the sharpening to happen after cutting. The beveling and sharping helps in differentiating the shapes easier when they are the same color.

Also Hard Ops received a last minute update to support box cutter in the Q menu under mesh tools in object mode.


The last one isn’t necessary however it’s there for additional functionality. The hotkey at the moment is Alt + W.

In total theres 3 ways to start box cutting.

Alt  + W

T panel >> hard ops

Q >> Mesh Tools >> Box Cutter 

That is as easy as we can make it.

Now for the complicated stuff but very fun stuff.

Firstly when you are in box cutter the screen has indicators. This is important. Very very important.


The box on the right is AR’s idea of indicating Box Cutter mode. I wanted it red but haha its grey. On the left is the Cutter indicator.

This is something you want to be aware of.

D – changes mode (Box , Circle, Ngon) for now (while in box cutter state)

Esc cancels

So basically in Object mode you can use D to change cutter mode. And cancel with escape. You want to cancel when you aren’t using it since we currently are still dealing with it. You can open multiple box cutters on top of each other by accident. Which is unexpected and unwanted behavior.

So now lets get cutting!


Holding down ctrl allows for you do cut out a shape in a box that you draw.

However this has a modifier to it as well. Holding alt while drawing makes it cut to the depth level of the 3d cursor!


This is quite an interesting behavior when you want to control depth however we are still examining other options. But there is more to it than even that.

If nothing is selected you can draw a white box. This is just for creating a quick box.



With nothing selected it draws white boxes and with a selection it draws a sub box. If you hold ctrl + shift when drawing with nothing selected you will draw a box from the 3d cursor’s position.


This behavior is intended for speed so pressing things without being aware can make for a crazy experience. Kinda like opening Zbrush for the first time.

While the sub and additive brushes seem awesome the real favorite for me is the slicer. This brush will slice out the mesh into a new section similar to the rebool but with a whole different perspective.


Holding ctrl + shift will bring up the slice/rebool box. The same modifier of shifting to alt during still applies for cutting with depth. The way Box Cutter is setup is that you can make quick cuts in quick succession then go in for the kill with finer detail and Hard Ops based workflow.

Admittedly this will take some practice but hey this is version 1. As with Hard Ops we plan to make large improvements over time and refine it the level of what we consider “finished”.

When it comes to the art of cutting in Blender it goes without saying that guidance edges are as important as ever when it comes to performing booleans successfully. So additionally the option to fast bisect has been mapped to ctrl + D. Pressing it will take you into an edit mode setup where you can quickly click drag and bisect.


For this basic example it is overkill but in the thick of things this is a very useful tool to ensure your bevels and booleans are working together. Otherwise this method of creation can become a game of luck when eventually you hotline and have to undo.

Additional shapes exist with the same behaviors like ngons and circles however they are more experimental at this time.


Ngons exist too but they’re my least favorite at this time. And also are the most experimental.


You have to click to start which provides no feedback until the 3rd point or so. This behavior I feel will be the hardest to get used to however it is available for those who want to use ngon shapes.

We still have much more planned on expansions for this in the future so stay tuned for more information. This wiki is a bit short at this time however a more detailed one will follow.




Notes. Esc ends box cutter. End box cutter before closing your scene or opening files. The red border is to let you be aware of box cutter mode. So you don’t accidentally press alt + W twice.

64 thoughts on “Box Cutter Guide V1

  1. Hello! Thanks for this awesome plugin. I m using Blender 2.76 (Mac OSX).
    My question is – Is Box cutter is already released or is under development?
    I m using Hardops 0079 but i couldn’t find box cutter anywhere.


    • I just saw first line of the Post! I don’t know how i missed it. So, Box cutter is another product.
      I am glad to know that Hardops Users will get discount!

    • well this is my about page. I would have said it on the box cutter page. Box Cutter is separate and will be detailed later. Hard Ops will be updated until we no longer support it. So for now all updates are free. Box cutter isnt out but hops owners will receive a discount. Non hard ops users can also buy it separately.

  2. Hi, this tools (Hardops too!!) is great. I’m a Blender noob, long time Maya user, but HardOps made me to start playing with Blender :). Cutter is working fine, but D (change shapes) or ctrl + shift doesn”t work for me in Cutter mode. I have only switched Input presets to Maya, but the rest of the settings keep Blender. Any ideas please? Thanks, great work!

  3. This tool looks very interesting, but it is not easy to control, and of course I will continue to pay attention to the development of it, until it can be easier to control and beyond the function of BoolTool.
    I hope that HardOps can have a new function of smooth surface of the model.

    • oh yeah V1 will always be rough. But by V3 it will become something more.
      We’re looking into integrating this with hops for smoothign issues on the level youre talking about.

      You mean the vertex normals right? We’re researching it but other than blend4 web that sort of control isnt easily accessible unless we could find and hire a math nerd. But we’re always talking about that behind the scenes.

  4. Is there a way to have the cutting snap to the grid? I find it a bit hard to make exact cuts ATM.
    Cool stuff!



    • nope! You found our biggest missing thing!
      We’ll have it on the next version hopefully. But the V1 is a rough idea of what we are starting with.
      In time it will become as essential as Hard Ops.

      • Cool!
        Not a problem at all, I just instantly missed it when playing with BoxCutter.
        It would be especially cool if a visual indication point would already jump to the grid intersections while moving the cursor (like for instance in Rhino if you should be familiar with it). That way you always know what will happen if you commit.

        Another thing: The mesh edges (when enabled) are only shown after one clicks. But since it’s often important to know where edges are to prevent boolean problems: would it make sense/be possible to show them already when pressing CTRL?

        For me, “D” only toggles between circle and rectangle – am I missing something?

        Cutting in perspective mode creates very “interesting” stuff 😉
        I guess it’s not really trivial to get that to work…

        Thanks a lot for your work the and very affordable crossgrade price!



  5. Ok, one more FR: Angle snapping for the circle in for instance triangle mode (SHIFT?)



    • Tom says: Another thing: The mesh edges (when enabled) are only shown after one clicks. But since it’s often important to know where edges are to prevent boolean problems: would it make sense/be possible to show them already when pressing CTRL?

      you got to un check the wire box…..and check the show wire box for the object …i have set up a hot key but as your gonna be box cutting on one item awhile not hard to just go through normal menus….you can go a step further and check show all wires/lines

  6. One major critique to both Hardops and this new one – give me the option to set my own short cuts. You can’t have alt-w, I’ve been using it for ages for something else.You definitely can’t have Q. Don’t assume everyone uses vanilla blender.

  7. Outf_____gstanding!!! Got ur e mail about box cutter. Downloaded demo, n did some stuff to a cube in under 5 minutes.which normally what I did would have taken a half hour or more the old way. After this note going to go buy it. Great job to all involved, really speed up modeling and without thinking much how to cut here, there, etc to get same result without screwing up mesh. the next round of drinks are on me:)

  8. I can use D to switch between Circle and Box, but cant get NGon, what am I donig wrong. Also, my UI gets, errm, “interesting” when I activate Box Cutter, all the lines get very thick, including the grid and the colours go a bit odd.

  9. The CTRL-ALT key command and the CTRL dragging with nothing selected are behaving strangely for me. CTRL-ALT cuts the mesh at the cursor depth as it should, but only a very thin slice right at the cursor is cut, (basically cutting a very thin hole through the mesh at the cursor) it doesn’t cut the mesh to the surface. Additionally the CTRL drag with nothing selected creates a box, but is is very thin. I assume these two are somehow related.

    Otherwise great addon. I can see with further development this is going to be an amazing workflow enhancing tool. Thanks !

    • certain boolean knowledge is required like guidance edges. By setting up the edge flow underneath to take booleans you can increase your chance of success. Its a small nuance but to ease it we added the boolean switch on the T panel. Carve is more likely to work than bmesh but bmesh works great when it does.

      Also to cut or sub you have to have an object selected. Otherwise white boxes.

  10. Well I think I found an undocumented and very cool feature (?): if you tap space after drawing a shape you can move it around before carving (ala photoshop ;D)!
    All you have to do is:
    1 – draw a shape with crtl + click + drag (it works in other modes too)
    2 – tap space just once before releasing the mouse button
    3 – move the shape around while keeping the mouse button pressed
    4 – release the mouse button once you got the desired placement
    It is harder to explain than to actually do it! It soon becomes second nature 😉

    I just LOVE the box cutter by the way! Brilliant idea!

  11. Hmm, nope activated experimental details in the addon UI but still don’t get N-Gon. Also, clicking the ‘info’ tab in the addon ui gives error in the console window:
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “G:\blender-2.76-windows64\2.76\scripts\startup\bl_ui\”, line 1378, in draw
    File “C:\Users\Colkai\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.76\scripts\addons\BoxCutter\”, line 72, in draw
    File “C:\Users\Colkai\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.76\scripts\addons\BoxCutter\”, line 101, in draw_info_tab
    write_text(layout, info_text, width = bpy.context.region.width / get_dpi_factor() / 8)
    NameError: name ‘write_text’ is not defined

    • the add on must be in the add ons dir of the pc not install from file. Also make sure you have .11.

      my path is C:\Users\maste\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.77\scripts\addons\

      And of course latest version. Let me know if this persists. We gotta get you box cutting immediately.

      Enable ngon in the t-panel that is in the hard ops section.

  12. I do have it installed off the addons root, so the is in the BoxCutter subdirectory. Ahh, I was looking for the option in the addon section of user preferences, not under the HardOps tab. I think some of the errors I’m getting in the console window are due to me not pressing the right keys at the right time. Things like:
    group 000000D151784840 is unclassified!
    Info: Applied modifier was not first, result may not be as expected
    Am I right that, if you have NGon, you only press ALT at the end, otherwise it appears to ‘activate’ the Ngon at the point you press it? (I get an error message if I try to use ALT straight away when creating an NGon).

  13. Be cool if once you formed box you could release the mouse, size, rotate and move before cutting.

    • sorry about the hectic state of this v1 generation. We are working on ever aspect of the foundation and behavior so my apologies about any changes. I’ll make a new wiki guide once it stable on the updates. Haha. It was me who fought to get rid of the disabling ngon option. I figured since we made it more stable it didnt have to be hidden. But also we’re trying to eliminate the need for the t panel of box cutter. While still offering it. So any ideas we’re open to of course.

  14. Dear masterxeon, I have an issue with last version of boxcutter. When I use it on the box with previously beveled edges, it adds a box instead of carving it out from object (in standard carve mode). Is that a bug or am I doing something wrong?

    • when the boxcutting process has issues. Sometimes it helps to use MC or MB to sort of step through the process. Sometimes I find that moving the boolean further up in the modifier stack or sometimes turning off bevel modifier for a moment will get the behavior to be predictable. Usually this doesn’t happen but sometimes it is a result of the way the boolean is solved for.

  15. Hello, Where can i buy this tool? I’m using maya keys with blender. Is it possible to use this plugin with maya keys? Thanks

  16. love it! one question, im on a mac and i have been following an online tutorial.. I have a keyboard with no dedicated number pad. once you duplicate a boolean object I cant seem to cut it… maybe the keybinding is cntrl number key minus… is that correct? when I do that on my keyboard it doesn’t cut. Is there another keybinding to make that cut? thank you

  17. Red box and several of the other functions blow up on the 2.7x version when I try to use them with 2.78. I have made a screencap of the error codes and would attach them to an email if I knew where to send support email questions.

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