Autodesk 123D Design released

Solid 3D modelling on Mac, Windows, iPad and on the web!

Last week Autodesk released 123D Design, a free 3D modelling application aimed  towards digital fabrication for makers.

The beta version of 123D has been available for Windows PC for some time. The surprise announcement to me was that Autodesk 123D Design not only works on Windows and Mac, but also iPad and a web app! The web app version is still limited to MacOS 10.6.8+ and Windows 7 users, however. (more…)

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Uformia MeshUp

Purpose built 3D modelling software for designing 3D models for printing

MeshUp is a purpose built 3D modelling application for 3D printing. At first glance, MeshUp appears to have similar mesh mixing capabilities as Autodesk meshmixer. However it includes much more powerful and 3D printing specific features. Developed by a company called Uformia, they claim – “MeshUp is the first real volume modeler for meshes. We want to make life easier for 3D printing and for creators. At Uformia we envision a very different experience for users, where without effort, a creator can be sure that their models are always ready for 3D printing.” (more…)

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A new hi-res desktop 3D printer announced today.

Formlabs announced today the release of the Form 1, their “prosumer” desktop printer that uses stereolithograpy to produce highly detailed models.

“The Form 1 marries high-end stereolithography (SL) technology and a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.”

A common complaint of current desktop printers like Makerbot, Ultimaker, and RepRap that use FDM extrusion technology, is that the print quality is too low. The Form 1 tackles this head on and the high quality results speak for themselves. Another printer in the “at home” printing market is great news for consumers too. The Form 1 promises to be “An end-to-end package. Printer, software, and post-processing kit that just works. Right out of the box.”

The price is affordable though the regular retail price has not been announced. At $2499 it is comparable to the price of the Replicator 2.

They have a kickstarter campaign to manage pre-sales and generate funds to ramp up production. The machines are selling fast! They have reached their goal of 100K in 2.5 hours.

Formlabs is a Boston-based start-up founded by a trio of MIT grads with impressive backers like Eric Schmidt and Mitch Kapor. They’ve also enlisted Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing consultancy, to assist with the production of the printers and hopefully avoid the kinds of hurdles we’ve seen other successful kickstarter campaigns face.

Nice work guys. I’m excited to see the results!

More on Formlabs and Wired

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BotQueue: Open Distributed Manufacturing

I for one would like to welcome our open-source 3d-printing robot overlords

MakerBot co-founder Zach Hoeken announced BotQueue this week:

BotQueue is an online platform for distributing print jobs to multiple 3D printers for production. As the name suggests, it allows you to create a print queue which contains jobs. Your connected bots will grab jobs and produce them. As each job is competed, the operator is prompted to remove and verify the output. Upon successful completion, the bot will grab the next job and start producing it. This continues until the queue is empty. If a bot fails, it is taken offline for repairs.

You can play with it here.

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Autodesk 123D Catch for iPhone

Is that a 3D scanner in your pocket?

Continuing on the theme of new ways to capture volumetric data, Autodesk’s nifty iOS app 123D Catch has been updated to include compatibility with the increasingly ubiquitous iPhone.

This means that across the globe, there are now hundreds of millions of potential 3d scanners just waiting to be booted into action. Of course, it doesn’t quite work like that… but there are sure to be plenty of iPhone users who could make use of an app that stitches photos together, uploads them to the cloud, and then returns with a neat 3D model just right for fabrication.

The new update complements iPad, desktop and webapp versions of 123D Catch that have already gained a healthy following on Autodesk’s 123D Community site. With an enhanced workflow via the web app that includes editing tools to smooth out surfaces, tweak details and prepare the model for 3D printing, this really introduces a new paradigm in DIY digital manufacturing.

Click through for a video overview of 123D Catch for iPhone. (more…)

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Software to detect structural defects

Because gravity, isn’t always a 3D modeller’s best friend

When you build small intricate 3D models in a virtual environment for 3D printing in the real world, you quickly learn 3D modelling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re making miniatures with tiny parts. Sometimes these delicate pieces can break. The key is to know which parts you need to scale up, both for structural reasons and for enhancing the contrast of small details. Unless you have a background in engineering this is usually a trial and error process.

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3D printed toy records

The future meets the past with this sweet OpenSCAD project

This is a cool project: Instructables user fred27 reverse-engineered the encoding pattern for an old Fisher Price toy record player and developed a method for 3D printing or CNC cutting new records. He’s also written software that allows you to convert your own tunes to play on the forty-year-old toy. This is an excellent demonstration of parametric modeling using the free OpenSCAD software. Brilliant!

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How to: design a laser-cut box for your DIY electronics project

Who doesn’t like putting things in boxes!?

This mixer rehousing project is the perfect example of what you can do with a laser cutter and an online box-making app. If you prefer to use a tool integrated into Inkscape to make your finger-jointed box template, check out this sweet plugin.

With tools like these it’s getting easier and easier to design your own project enclosures ready to be shipped from your Personal Factory.

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Force Effect for Android

Autodesk releases Android version of their conceptual simulation app

There are times when you don’t have a workstation handy; and even your laptop may be out of reach when a lightbulb-moment pops up and that tricky design idea needs your attention.

In late 2011, Autodesk released ForceEffect for IOS devices. After over 100,000 Apple flavoured downloads, the mobile simulation app is now available for use on Android devices as well.

This neat little program enables designers and engineers to quickly simulate design options at the early conceptual phases. There is an intuitive drawing environment in which constraints can be added to object elements, enabling the simulation of forces and structural behaviours under load.

Would this be useful for your digital manufacturing workflow?

A video run-through of the ForceEffect user interface follows after the break.   (more…)

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Generative jewellery from Foursquare check-ins

Location check-ins crafting jewellery design

Locations can be very meaningful to people – everyone has their favourite holiday destination or memory of an amazing place they’ve visited. Jewellery designers meshu are enabling customers to personalise their jewellery by drawing location points on the globe that generate geometric patterns based on some of their favourite places. (more…)

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