STEAM & Curious Minds

It’s crazy how this month’s theme of Robots, Space and STEAM gets students of all ages excited about learning. I am the mother of two young girls and I consider myself lucky to be surrounded by a community of users that are passionate about what they do. My 5 five-year old came home from pre-school and announced that she “knows how to design think.”  

Good thing she has a mom that asked a few follow-up questions:

“What is design think?”

In her simple five-year old terms she replied, “It’s when you think of something in your head then draw it and do some stuff to make it work.”

My follow-up was, “how do you make it work?”

“Mommy, it’s like when Elsa in Frozen made her castle out of ice. She had it in her head, what she wanted it to look like and then it came out of her hands. She made it.”

Well, it may not be the webster’s definition but she is on the right track.  

With global declines in test scores around science, math, engineering and math, teachers are looking to the Maker movement to help disrupt their classrooms. Many have looked into the Autodesk Digital STEAM workshop to use project based learning to capture the minds of their students and retain engagement in these subjects. These projects are easy ways to get the students in the back of your classroom to engage. Students want to use their minds, they have an innate curiosity to learn so let’s tap into the Maker movement and keep the excited alive! Who knows maybe we will all “design think” one day.

Autodesk Meshmixer for YOU

We've been ramping up our Meshmixer production lately and released a new update with YOU in mind. See, we are gathering all of your feedback and suggestions and adding it into the application. We are especially excited for the new 3D printing workflows that are coming with each release, some examples below.

Patterned Bunny Pack

Make Slices  

Many of you requested to have 3D printers that we did not list in the pre-populated list of 3D printers. We heard you and decided to let you add your own 3D printer so you can layout and arrange a print job for your specific machine. Its fairly intuitive to set up if you at least know the build volume of your 3D printer.

Here is a list of what's new in Meshmixer 2.3, released yesterday, April 21st:

  • New add/edit custom printer so you can prep your 3D prints for any 3D printer
  • New Make Slices tool: Slice an object into a number flat slices. Two techniques: Stacked or Stacked3D
  • New drag/drop solid objects in addition to parts. Addition of primitives category
  • Added part categories to the Meshmix panel to accommodate growing libraries of parts and solids
  • New Separate Shells tool to separate combined but separate geometry into separate objects
  • Better naming of newly created objects from duplicate, separate, etc…
  • PLY binary format support (which is handy for importing the per-vertex color meshes coming in from depth cameras)
  • 3Dconnexion space mouse support
  • Lots of bug-fixes and stability improvements

By the way, it is now even easier to give us your feedback and suggestions directly from the application! You can see a new menu item named Feedback that you can use to send feedback (good or bad) directly to the developers. With this, you might possibly define some of the next features in the upcoming releases!

How do you use Meshmixer? What would you like to see next?

Pendant

Pendant designed in Meshmixer. A multi-material print on a Stratasys Connex machine

 

Calling all makers, calling all makers!

So here's the thing - you guys are awesome. Every day you show us new ways of looking at 3D printing and creativity, and we want to celebrate everything you do by featuring you on our website! With the Bay Area Maker Faire coming up in May, there is no better time to make that happen. 

Submit your work by filling out our very quick survey here for the opportunity to be one of our Makers of the Day, like Ritik up there!

 

123D Design Desktop – Revamped

Chris Anderson may have broken the news before we got to it, but that doesn't make us any less excited to share the new and improved desktop version of 123D Design with you! 

 

Yes, that's right folks. 123D Design got a facelift, and you're going to like the way it looks. With a new UI, new features, and so much more, 123D Design makes it easier than ever for beginners, novices, and experts to get in on the fun that is 3D printing.

Check out the changes here, and stay tuned for more pictures, tutorials, and an in-depth guide to the changes.

 

Easter Bunny 3D remixes with Meshmixer

Come Spring, here at 123D secret headquarters we start thinking about bunnies and Easter eggs - but also about robots and rockets. We decided to combine these interests by digging through our collection of 3D models and putting together a collection of Easter Bunny 3D mashups using Meshmixer.

We have an extensive collection of Easter Bunnies, Retro Robots and lots of other cool stuff, all of which works great with Meshmixer. So we set to work to make a collection of somewhat untraditional Easter Bunnies. We hope you enjoy them, and are inspired to try some remixes of your own!

In the middle right is Castle Bunny, protecting his carefully hoarded Easter Eggs with a castle that rolls on tank treads from one of the retro robots. Meshmixer's Make Solid feature was used to prepare all the meshes for combining. Keep reading to learn more about the rest of the bunnies.

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Beyond the blocks: modeling a space plane for 3D printing in Tinkercad

When people think about modeling rockets and space ships in Tinkercad, they can be forgiven for thinking that all you can do is stick a cone shape on top of a cylinder, and call it a day - but they're wrong! Tinkercad can do a lot more.

Tinkercad has a very powerful engine under the hood, and with some creativity and ingenuity, you can make great looking models that rival those from other 3D modeling packages - and do it fast, for free and in your browser.

Keep reading and follow along the Instructable if you want to learn more.

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Light Tracking BEAM Robot Comes To Life

Last week we announced a new theme: ROCKETS and ROBOTS so I'm super excited to post about a BEAM ROBOT that we've given life in 123D Circuits

Photo of BEAM robot

"BEAM" is an acronym for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics.  It refers to a style of robots that don't require programming - instead they use analog logic to react to stimulus of various types (like light, sound, and heat).  The great thing about BEAM robots is that you can learn a lot about electronics just by making one or even taking one apart.  To get an idea, check out this BEAM robot simulator in 123D Circuits and experiment by clicking on its components to see what happens.

There are a ton of BEAM robot-related Instructables and we chose to build a simulation of one that reacts to light.  This is called a Phototrope, as it will try to move toward a light source.  That's pretty buggy!

Below is the simulation of the left 1/2 of the BEAM robot.  For clarity, we've linked a simulation of just one side of the BEAM robot (the second half would be identical).  Full left and right side simulation here.

Press the PLAY button (top right) to get started.

link to this project in 123D Circuits - with full description and schematic

Whats What

We’ll be releasing this as a finished circuit board so you can build one, too.  We're also working on a 3D model for an enclosure in Tinkercad that you can use or build off and make your own Phototrope Bug.  Stay tuned!

 

Glow-in-the-Dark Rocket Mobile with 123D and Tinkercad

We've been thinking about rockets and spaceships this week at 123D and we had some cool glow-in-the-dark filament for a Makerbot Rep2, so naturally: GLOW IN THE DARK SPACESHIPS!

The models came directly from the 123Dapp.com gallery, and the planets, end caps and filament points I quickly modeled in Tinkercad. Because the rockets were taller than would fit on a Makerbot, I imported them into MeshMixer to chop them in half witht the Slice tool. Slicing them also allowed for printing without support material.  With a little Krazy Glue, you get more size options.

If you want to make this yourself, you can try downloading more and different rockets. We've collected together a bunch of really varied rocket designs. ( <- click to see the collection and download!)

The trickiest part of a mobile is (perhaps obvious) is the balancing of all the elements - both physically and visually.  I printed a couple different sizes of rockets and planets, with varying infills so that I would have options when I started assembling it.  Only after printing the last rocket did I realize I could have just modeled the eyelets, but there you have it.

In total, the project cost about $15 in parts and materials: monofilament, eyelets, dowels and krazy glue. 

 

This is a perfect weekend project - and the glow-in-the-dark filament is available from Makerbot.  See the whole project here on 123dapp.com.  What are you making for SPAC3D?

The Blood Moon – Tonight!

Eerie name for a blog post, right? Well have no fear, it all comes back to our theme of the month - space! Tonight those of us on Earth will play witness to a full lunar eclipse, affectionately nicknamed "The Blood Moon" due to the reddish-orange color the moon will take on just past 3am Eastern. 

This moon marks the first of four total eclipses that will conclude in September 2015, a phenomenon known as a tetrad. We hope to see you out there gazing skyward, hoping to uncover the mysteries of the universe while using the rare event as an opportunity to say words like "umbra," and to make use of all the awesome moon and moon-related models living in the 123D gallery

For more information on where you can view this stellar event (see what we did there?), check out this site.

Simulate space capsule re-entry with Autodesk 123D

Right now everyone is getting excited about space - with Mars at its brightest last night, and a lunar eclipse coming up next week, it's hard to not look up at the sky and wonder how you too can explore the universe. Here at the 123D secret headquarters, we are also excited about everything astronomical, so we put together a project that explores the basic concepts behind the not-so-basic practice of re-entry to Earth. To do so, we need to understand flow and pressure around a space capsule coming back to Earth (yay, science!).

Looking at our suite of apps, we wanted to give you something mobile, free, and easy. This led us to putting together a project using iOS Design and ForceEffect Flow, which enables you to simulate the airflow around an object – all on an iPad.

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