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Manipulator default rotation direction

How does the Manipulator determine the default rotation directions of the 3 available axis?

More importantly, Is there a way to signal the Manipulator to reverse that direction? There are times when I need to rotate something and the other end of the object tells me when to stop the rotation as when it intersects with another object in a certain way.

For example. given the 2 legs of a triangle made of square tubing, I don't know and don't want to calculate the hypotenuse length so I just make an extra long hypotenuse anchor it on one leg and rotate it in place with the manipulator. If the rotation direction is opposite of what I'd like, it's very difficult to do the rotation AND see the other end of the hypotenuse to gauge when to signal done.

BTW I tried to use ALIGN to do this but the 3D version doesn't offer the scale option that the 2D offers.

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Origami
Origami is the Japanese word for paper folding. ORI means to fold and KAMI means paper and involves the creation of paper forms usually entirely by folding.

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