2011 was a big year for tools and apps that enable making. As the maker movement grows, people are creating more and more tools to enable creativity and collaboration across a number of disciplines.
3D printing-related tools dominated, including a huge spike in solutions for hobbyist 3D scanning. With the proliferation of low-cost 3D printers, it’s no surprise that people are hungry to replicate physical objects.
Here we take a look at ten great tools and apps from 2011:
Originally called Photofly, Autodesk’s 123D Catch is a Windows app that interfaces with the cloud to create 3D models based on a user’s photographs of an object. I had some trouble using my point & shoot camera with an old version of the software, but I’m looking forward to trying to latest version with my iPhone 4S and an Iron Man head that a friend has sculpted.
If you do a lot of hobbyist 3D printing, you’ve probably run into this issue before: a cool new tool for generating 3D models comes out, but it only outputs Gcode and you’ve got no way to see what it looks like before printing. (For example, the Voice Extruder.) (more…)
It’s nearly Christmas, but you suddenly realised you’ve forgotten to make a present for your precious grandmother who you had promised to craft a personal gift for. What do you do?
FabScan may be your only hope, other than blatantly lying to her, that the mass produced gift you bought at the last minute was actually made by you. Fortunately with FabScan and 3D printing you can turn modelling clay sculpts into hard physical models to save your family’s Christmas. (more…)
Choosing the right colors for your newest project is tricky, especially if you are trying to appeal to potential customers. Some people seem to have a natural ability to combine colors effectively, but most people (including myself) struggle with this. Kuler to the rescue.
Kuler lets people create and vote on color themes, so you know which combinations are popular and which you should avoid. You can even download the themes directly to pretty much any Adobe program.
NeoTrux Systems‘ 3DSurfScan for iOS devices uses the camera to capture a surface as a 3D model. It’s a bit of an odd duck, in that it isn’t really meant for the average user messing around with their phone, but the technology is pretty cool.
The app is intended for advanced users, looking to capture complex surface geometry for enhancing existing work. (So you wouldn’t necessarily want to 3D print directly after capture.) For example, a difficult-to-model organic look could be captured from the real world and applied to a simple model.
I tried it out by scanning a thin bit of text that I’d printed earlier on my MakerBot: (more…)
Eagle and SketchUp are both popular choices in the DIY community, so this plugin is a welcome addition to the toolkit. For those of you who might want this functionality but prefer an open source software package, take a look at the 3D modelling capabilities of open source schematic editor KiCAD.
I’ll definitely be trying this tool out on my next project, and updating my project box tutorial with the results.
Basically, if you’re a visual designer, Chrysalis will make it possible for you set up a web storefront that lets people customize a design and then export it to another service (like Ponoko) for making.
Also, because Processing is a free, open source tool, Chrysalis will enable the sharing of 3D sketches in a way that just isn’t practical via Grasshopper. For example, the deployment of an interactive art installation is a lot more practical when it can be used on any operating system without the need for additional software licenses.
Chris Chalmers explains in the video below: (more…)
As the demand for custom goods continues to grow, Ponoko is expanding the ways in which anyone can make their own unique products.
With the Personal Factory platform, we have enabled designers, engineers, and hobbyists all over the world to create custom products. Over 100,000 customer designed products have been made so far, everything from 3D printed jewelry to laser-cut clocks to CNC routed furniture. But we believe that the power of making your own stuff shouldn’t be limited to those with advanced skills in computer-aided-design.
The App Gateway opens up the potential for millions of people to design and make exactly what they want — with or without design skills. Ponoko has been inviting software developers to help make this possible by providing the Personal Factory API for developers to build product creation apps, and version 2 of our API is now available.
Upload your images for 3D models to view, share, download or even print in 3D
It may seem like a natural evolution for both the modelling and 3d printing worlds, but until now, no-one has managed put together an efficient way to get from everyday image capture devices to a shiny 3d printed outcome.
So you can imagine why we are excited to see hypr3D maturing into a truly viable option. The premise is wonderfully straightforward for the end user – simply upload images or video, and the proprietary hypr3D system crunches your data to form a 3d mesh. This can then be cleaned up (a service they will soon offer as well) and exported in your favourite 3d file format for printing.
The online gallery already contains an impressive collection of objects, with more sure to come as word gets out.
It’d be great to see this technology combined with the whatever it is that makes the synthcam iPhone app do its magic. Let’s see if dreams can come true…