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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Autodesk releases 123D Make Intro mobile app — turn 3D models into 2D build plans

3D design into 2D diy kit? There’s an app for that.

Just when you thought it was easier than ever to design and make stuff using Autodesk’s 123D suite of apps, today Autodesk has released an iOS version of their model-and-make software tool, 123D Make.

123D Make Intro iOS app is FREE and available for the iPhone and iPad.

123D Make is also available as a web-based and PC application, and — as of today — as a Mac OSX application.

So what does it do, exactly? 123D Make is all about converting your 3D models into 2D pieces for easy assembly, complete with animated instructions. You can print out the patterns and cut the pieces yourself or — thanks to the Ponoko Personal Factory API — you can have your pieces lasercut & shipped to your door.

(more…)

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No need to tremble as SketchUp is sold to Trimble

Google sells SketchUp 3D modeling software to Trimble Navigation Ltd.

Trimble Navigation who is a leading provider of advanced positioning solutions has bought SketchUp from Google for an undisclosed sum. Google originally purchased SketchUp from @Last Software who developed the software from a start up in 2006. Google has spun it into one of the most popular 3D modeling applications – fostering a community of whom there are millions of users worldwide, through selling it as a freemium product. (more…)

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StippleGen converts any image into CNC-friendly SVG format

Time to go dotty with your CNC artwork

Halftone-styled images have a compelling power to them. Perhaps it’s the retro-nostalgia of 1960’s Pop Art, the grainy speckles of old newsprint, or maybe it’s something else entirely? Either way, there is just something about all those dots.

Evil Mad Scientists (you know, the guys behind the Egg-Bot amongst other things) have released StippleGen, a stand-alone program that converts any image into CNC-friendly SVG format.

There is a considerable amount of control as you tweak the algorithms, whether you are after a specific number or style of dots, or even a continuous TSP path. It’s all geared towards use on small CNC devices such as the Egg-Bot, but don’t let that stop you if you have larger aspirations.

StippleGen is designed to be easy to install, easy to use, and easy to modify. It is capable of producing excellent quality output with up to 10,000 points.

Click through to EMSL for a thorough run-down on just what this neat little software package is capable of.

via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

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Tutorial: Gears & Joints with SketchUp and SketchyPhysics Part 2

Mechanical modelling with free software tools

Following on from last week’s introductory tutorial, here’s a bit more information on how to make mechanical models in SketchUp with SketchyPhysics. By the way, here’s a great resource if you want to learn more about mechanical linkages, gears, and all that good stuff (hat tip to Edgar Castelo for the link).

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Tutorial: Gears & Joints with SketchUp and SketchyPhysics

Continuing my commitment to using free software even though it drives me up the wall sometimes

Following my recent obsession with drawing machines, I’m working on a new project with lots of gears and linkages. I figured it would be a good time to learn how to do mechanical modelling in SketchUp. Sketchy Physics is a plugin for Google SketchUp that allows you to simulate mechanical models. It is very capable but also very frustrating!

Figuring I’m not the first person to get frustrated on the way to creating meshing gears in SketchUp, I wrote this tutorial. I hope it will help some of you get up the steepest part of the learning curve.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

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