Instructables Green Design Contest!

In celebration of Earth Day and all things eco-friendly, we’re holding a Green Design Contest, and showcasing the best of Green Design with our media partner TreeHugger! Think “green” and submit an eco-friendly Instructable that uses sustainable materials or is energy efficient by design.

For example, use recycled materials such as reclaimed lumber instead of new virgin growth wood. Or, choose to use renewable, responsibly sourced materials with minimal-to-no toxicity such as plant-based PLA plastic instead of oil-based ABS plastics. If you’re designing something with electronics, consider how much power the circuit consumes, or even how much electricity is needed when it's not in use and in stand-by mode. Also think through the end-of-life considerations of the product, such as making sure it’s easy to repair, and the individual parts can be reused or eventually recycled down the line.

Come up with any project with these factors in mind, and you could win over $1,000 in prizes including a Voltaic Systems OffGrid Solar Backpack, ReadySet Renewable Energy Kit with Solar Panel and LED light, Nokero Solar Light Bulbs and a $500 REI gift certificate.

Call for pre-made parts!!

We're rolling out some new parts for the Kits in 123D Design. That means you'll soon have some real-world models at your disposal in the Design app, and I wanted to see if there were some specific requests out there for parts that you might use on the regular.

I've put in for some tools and hardware - like metric and SAE wrenches and hex bolts - but is there anything that you'd like to see as a part or a template?

M4 screws for an Arduino enclosure?
4" 2-way gate hinges?
Eye-Hooks?
Light bulbs?
Threaded rod?
Phone cases?


Post a comment here or email 123D@autodesk.com

Transformational experience for Instructables Artist-in-Residence

Instructables' Artist-in-Residence Mario Caicedo-Langer is pretty hands-on. He can make a robot out of anything, but was intrigued by the 123D suite of apps. I asked him to document his experience here...

It's a boy!

123D Design Vs. Rotary Tool

  When Instructables gave me the opportunity to be part of its Artist in Residence program, one of the first things I thought was "Blimey!* I don't know 123D or any other design program. What am I gonna do?" (*Of course, in my country we don’t say “Blimey!” but something ruder. But I think you get the point) Let me introduce myself: I'm Mario Caicedo Langer, from Colombia (not "Columbia"). Former Colombian Navy Officer, BsC in Naval Sciences, maker focused in trash art and upcycling. You can see my Instructables profile here. My skills: I can transform almost every piece of e-waste and plastic trash in something useful, decorative or funny. My weak point: the only design program I used in my life was... Paint. Yes, that Paint. So 123D would be my first experience with a CAD program. I have to be honest: I'm not a big fan of CAD programs. Yes, they are awesome. But I am an old school maker who loves to use his rotary tool and his screwdrivers to build stuff, at risk of his own hands. I thought CAD programs were reserved for industrial designers or engineers, even one like 123D Design, developed for the DIY community. THE EXPERIENCE A few weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, I finally decided to take a look the 123D Design and play with the program. When I got stuck, Randy Sarafan (Instructables) gave me some useful tips. Two hours later, I finished some kind of robot arm. At night, I had finished a "chicken legs" robot. On Saturday morning, I had a futuristic motorbike. On Sunday, I was at the beach in San Jose, eating Deep Fried Twinkies, but that’s not important. By Monday, I had my fourth project ready (not my best work, but still) for the "Show and Tell" meeting at Instructables. And I just finished my instructable on how to make a transformable robot, my first 3D printed project. I'm not saying "Oh! I'm a genius! You’d better make a movie about me! (In this case, I want to be interpreted by Ryan Reynolds or Samuel L. Jackson)". No. What I'm trying to say is that, sometimes, we have the tools at reach, but we are too lazy, too cowardly or too old fashioned to try them. And Autodesk is giving a great tool to the maker community. It's a friendly program (I don’t know how it could be friendlier. Telepathic commands, maybe?) and you can learn it in one weekend or less. It doesn't matter if you are a professional designer or not, you only need two things: the will and visual-spatial ability. And you only get the second thing by being curious about all the things around you: touching, dismantling, cutting, breaking, attaching, opening, destroying and rearming stuff. And, if you are a maker, you are on the right way. 123D Design is an awesome program (and honestly, the only one I learnt) and I love it, but it has two aspects to improve. First, fonts could be very useful. What if I want to 3D-print a plaque with my name? Second, I don’t know if it’s because of my computer, but sometimes the program crashes and, if you didn’t save your progress, you will have a very bad time. So I got the habit of saving on my computer every 4 minutes. That’s all.

Right now, I’m asking myself “Myself, what do you prefer: a carpal tunnel syndrome for using your computer or a severed hand syndrome for using your jigsaw?”. Then I remember my wise mother telling me “Mijo, don’t say those barbarities because there is no idle words”. Resuming, what is better for a maker, CAD/CAM or traditional crafting? I believe there is no competition, because both are complementary. It’s all about what do you want to do, how do you want to do it and what is the best option for your project. There are a lot of things you will never achieve without a computer. But there are a lot of things a computer won’t be better than the human hands, too. And building stuff with your very own hands is a very rewarding experience. So, it’s up to you! Because for me, 123D Design became just another tool in my toolbox. A powerful, fantastic and awesome tool in my toolbox. Check back in for more updates from Mario!

123D Design for iOS update out now!

Check your app store for updates on 123D Design for iPad - we addressed some of your requests and added features! What's new: * Color! Set colors for your design. Defined colors will appear when the model is opened in 123D Design web and desktop tools. * Dimensions. Tap on an object to display its measurements. *Create image snapshots of your design that you can email, share, or save to your image library. * Contextual menus appear with a long press on parts or on the canvas. * Insert parts by dragging and dropping to the canvas, or double tap a part to drop it at the origin. * Lock or unlock objects in the workspace. * UI improvements and bug fixes.