Introducing Tinkerplay: anyone can make 3D printed creatures and characters

We're pleased to announce a new addition to Autodesk's family of easy-to-use apps for all: Tinkerplay. I've been using this app for a while, and I'm very excited to share all the features and enhancements the team has been working on.

Tinkerplay is an app for iOS, Android and Windows that lets you design great-looking creatures and characters, and then 3D print them. It's incredibly fun to use, you can choose from a wide range of parts that just snap together, and then customize them with colors and textures.

Start with professionally created templates, or make your own creations. We'll be rolling many more exciting templates going forward, as well as new parts to make your creations more varied. Keep reading after the break to see more things you can do with Tinkerplay!

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How to Capture a Person with 123D Catch

 

So you want to capture your friend or relative in 3D with your smartphone? You want to print it out in color for mini-me present? You can do this with 123D Catch, which is freely available for iOS and Android.

123D Catch captures of Aidan, AiR Pam and Carl.

 

The hardest part about this, though, is that the person has to stand perfectly still, which is nearly impossible for anyone to do. I've had some good results by using some of the tips below:

1. Have the person sit down. Use a chair that isn't going to cover their back too much, or use a stool.

2. Frame your photographs of the person from the chest up with a portrait orientation, so the top of the frame is just above their head and bottom of the frame somewhere around their chest.

Note: It is more challenging to capture a whole person, since the ground they stand on is not moving (for sure) but the person is moving/swaying slightly no matter how hard they try to hold a pose! This can produce a great model for the ground and surroundings, but some blurriness or distortion on the person.

3. Start by shooting photos from one side of the person (profile) and work your way across the face, then back to just before where you started. You should only do one loop around the person avoiding to reshoot any part of the face. A second pass on the face usually results in strange, split distortions or even a two headed person! As I go around the front, I usually make sure to get enough under the chin. When around the back I tend to make sure I get some top down photos to cover the top of the head.

4. Let the person you are shooting in on the plan that you will do one loop, and that it will take about a minute or so. I usually coach the people I'm about to capture by telling them:

  • Blink between shots (when I'm moving)
  • Close your mouth, avoid opening/clenching your jaw. (Holding a smile is hard to do and you may come out looking like the joker)
  • Be a mannequin.

5. Shoot as many photos as you can...QUICKLY BUT CAREFULLY. I usually get about 25-35 photographs in my loop around a person. Make a point to frame and shoot in good time while moving around a circular loop of the person. The faster you shoot, the least likely your subject will have time to move! Make sure not to compromise on quality however, as the photographs should not be blurry or poorly framed. The better the photograph, the better the model.

It took me some practice, but I can get consistently great results from these methods. Also, if you are not sure if the person moved (or they think they did) just start over!

When you are done, you can heal the capture for 3D printing in Meshmixer. Just log in to 123D within Meshmixer, and you will be able to open any captures you made with the app by clicking "Import...123D". Here is a video showing a typical workflow for how to heal the capture in Meshmixer.

For a color 3D print of the healed capture, export it from Meshmixer as an OBJ, which will also export the texture and MTL files. Zip them all up into a .ZIP file and upload it to a 3D printing service such as Sculpteo for a full color 3D print. I've had good success with either Sculpteo or imaterialise uploading the zipped OBJ, MTL and textures exported from Meshmixer.

 

Meshmixer 2.8 infiltrates 123D!

With the new release of version 2.8 today, Meshmixer can now officially consider itself part of the Autodesk 123D family of products. We've added the ability to open and save to and from your 123D projects within the app! For example, now I can open a creation from the the recently released 123D Sculpt+ inside the new Meshmixer app.

123D Sculpt+ creation by Adrian Cortez in Meshmixer

You can browse with different filters in the public 123D Gallery of projects, type in a search, or pull in your own projects you have created with the other apps for easy access to mix, sculpt, or prep for 3D printing.

For those who are missing our now retired 123D Catch web app for editing and healing, this is the new way to quickly open your captures in your account. Prepping the mesh for 3D printing will be familiar, as the same tools are available as were in the Meshmixer web app...and more!

Open and heal a capture from 123d Catch for 3D printing and sharing back to 123D.

 

3D print of AiR Pam in color

Meshmixer will show you any 123D models you've created and saved to your online account, whether they originated in 123D Design, 123D Catch, 123D Make or 123D Sculpt+. Saving the new "meshmixed" creation back to your account, either public to the 123D community or private for your own use is equally as easy!

Give it a try today! It opens up a whole new world of amazing 3D models to play with.

Going beyond 3D printing

 

Reddit user sthone first heard about 123D when he 3D printed an awesome model from the 123D Gallery. You can see the finished, airbrushed version below:

 

 

Isn't that so well done? After sharing this amazing airbrushed 3D printed model with Reddit, he was encouraged to try out the new Sculpt+ app. He ended up sculpting, 3D printing, and airbrushing a creation all of his own! It's great to see people taking their 3D prints a step further, because it showcases just how useful 3D printing can be. Check out more of sthone's work below, and see his custom 3D printed computer desk project.

 

Want to bring ideas like this to life? Start making your own creations on Sculpt+ today. Read about how to navigate the new app on this blog post.

123D Circuits : Blink LED with an Arduino

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This week's video on Electronics teaches you how to blink LEDs with an Arduino in the 123D Circuits virtual circuit simulator.  Its super-simple because the code is already pre-written and saved into the Arduino.  Opening it and making changes is a snap!  And don't stop there... we're growing the list of how-to videos every week!

This link will take you to the playlist of all videos 


So far we've been keeping it simple by getting the main point across in under a few minutes, but if you watch the whole video you'll also learn some engineering science!  Check out the video below.

Click here to open the original circuit in 123D Circuits.

123D Circuits is a fantastic place to go to build electronic circuits without leaving your computer.  It's as simple as dragging together components and watching them come alive in your web browser.  It's fast, it's free, and it's quite powerful.


You can do this yourself, just head over to 123D Circuits and sign in, then create a "New Breadboard Circuit" then follow along with the video.  You never know, this could be the beginning of something big - we think so!

 

 

123D Circuits Video Series : Measure Current

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This week's video on Electronics teaches you how to measure electrical current with a multimeter in the 123D Circuits virtual circuit simulator.  This is the companion video to last week's "Measure Voltage with a Multimeter".  You may follow along with the video, or just watch and be entertained.
This link will take you to the playlist of all videos 


So far we've been keeping it simple by getting the main point across in under a few minutes, but if you watch the whole video you'll also learn some engineering science!  Check out the video below.

Want to see the finished Current Measurement circuit?  Here's the link!

123D Circuits is a fantastic place to go to build electronic circuits without leaving your computer.  It's as simple as dragging together components and watching them come alive in your web browser.  It's fast, it's free, and it's quite powerful.


You can do this yourself, just head over to 123D Circuits and sign in, then create a "New Breadboard Circuit" then follow along with the video.  You never know, this could be the beginning of something big - we think so!

 

 

123D Creature and 123D Sculpt users – big news for you!

Today we are pleased to welcome 123D Sculpt+ to the 123D family of easy to use consumer apps.

If you are a 123D Creature user, you'll get Sculpt+ when you next update. If you are a 123D Sculpt user, you should get Sculpt+ from your app store (iOS or Android). There are a lot of goodies for you!

We'll be releasing more information today on what this means for you, but I wanted to update our 123D Creature and 123D Sculpt users on changes to the 123D website. Rest assured, everything is still there!

 

For 123D Creature users, all existing creatures are now classed as 123D Sculpt+ models. If you update to the new app, you can still use all of your existing projects, and apply a range of exciting new tools. I personally love the ability to import an existing Creature and change the pose. On the the 123D website, you can now select 123D Sculpt+ instead of 123D Creature, and see all the models.

For 123D Sculpt users, your existing models are still there, they are just no longer listed in the public gallery pages. You can still access them by logging in to your account on the 123D website, and looking at My Projects. Sharing via the 123D Sculpt app is unchanged. You should certainly explore the 123D Sculpt+ app, it has everything (and more!) that the current app provides.

123D Circuits Video Series : Measure Voltage

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In continuing our new video series on Electronics we're hoping you walk away from this tutorial knowing how to measure voltages in real life and in the 123D Circuits virtual circuit simulator.  You may follow along with the video, or just watch and be entertained.
This link will take you to the playlist of all videos 


In this video we're still keeping it simple by getting the main point across in under two minutes.  If you watch all 7 minutes you may even learn some engineering science!  Check out the video below.

Want to see the finished Voltage Measurement circuit?  Here's the link!

123D Circuits is a fantastic place to go to build electronic circuits without leaving your computer.  It's as simple as dragging together components and watching them come alive in your web browser.  It's fast, it's free, and it's quite powerful.


You can do this yourself, just head over to 123D Circuits and sign in, then create a "New Breadboard Circuit" then follow along with the video.  You never know, this could be the beginning of something big - we think so!

 

 

123D Circuits Video Series : Light an LED

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Update: This is the first video in a series where we teach electronics through simple, short videos using 123D Circuits.  You may follow along with the video, or just watch and be entertained by the nerdy voice-over.  This link will take you to the playlist of all videos.


In this first video we're starting with the very basics: how a breadboard works and how to use one to connect an LED to a battery with a resistor and one wire.  Check out the video!

123D Circuits is a fantastic place to go to build electronic circuits without leaving your computer.  It's as simple as dragging together components and watching them come alive in your web browser.  It's fast, it's free, and it's quite powerful.


You can do this yourself, just head over to 123D Circuits and sign in, then create a "New Breadboard Circuit" then follow along with the video.  You never know, this could be the beginning of something big - we think so!

 

 

Make a 3D Printed Kit with Meshmixer 2.7

Meshmixer 2.7 was released today full of new tools for 3D printing. Here I use the new version of the app to create a 3D printed kit of parts that can be printed in one job, and assembled together with pin connectors.

To do this I used several of the new features to make this a fast and painless process. I dug up a 123D Catch capture I took of a bronze sculpture of John Muir. I found it in my dentists office, it turns out my dentist sculpted it. I thought I'd make my own take on it by slicing it up and connecting it back together so it can be interactive, swiveling the pieces around the pin connectors.

I made use of the new pin connectors solid parts that are included in the release (in the miscellaneous bin). I also used the powerful Layout/Packing tool to layout parts on the print bed as a kit of parts to print in one print job. Also, the addition of the Orthographic view is incredibly helpful when creating the kit and laying it out within the print volume of my Replicator 2X. An instructable is in progress with a how-to for a 3D printed kit such as this.

 

This new release has some other nice updates. Check em out below:

- New Layout/Packing Tool under Analysis for 3D print bed layout

- New Deviation Tool for visualizing max distance between two objects (ie original & reduced version)

- New Clearance Tool for visualizing min distance between two objects (ie to verify tolerances)

    - Under Analysis menu, requires selection of two objects)

- Reduce Tool now supports reducing to triangle count, (approximate) maximum deviation

- Support Generation improvements

    - Better DLP/SLA preset

    - Can now draw horizontal bars in support generator

    - Ctrl-click now deletes all support segments above click point

    - Shift-ctrl-click to only delete clicked segment

- Solid Part dropping now has built-in option to boolean add/subtract

    - Can set operation-type preference during Convert To Solid Part

    - Can set option to preserve physical dimensions during Convert To Solid Part

- New Snapping options in Measure tool

- Can now turn on Print Bed rendering in Modeling view (under View menu)

    - Must enter Print View to change/configure printer

- Improved support for low-end graphics cards

For your kit of parts, try out the new pin connectors included in the Misc. parts library. One is a negative (boolean subtract it when dropping the part). The other you can drop on the print bed for printing by itself. It fits into the negative hole. You can also author your own parts and they will drop at a fixed scale (so they fit!).

Let us know what kind of kits you create...maybe we can add in your connectors in a future release. (There's a free 3d print and t-shirt involved). Let us know at meshmixer@autodesk.com.

Have fun!!