Ever wonder who makes action figures?

Really sweet video about the life of a production action-figure toy.

The Secret Story of TOYS from Anthony Ladesich on Vimeo.

Before your favorite action figures land on the shelves of Walmart and Toys R Us, they’ve already lived a full life. Prior to the mass manufacturing, packaging and shipping, many toys are born in a little studio in the middle of the country. It’s there that the Hulks and Terminators acquire the bulging veins and contoured muscles that give them their life-like quality.

In the mini-doc The Secret Story of Toys, filmmaker Anthony Ladesich follows three artists from Kansas City toy prototyping shop True Cast Studio as they go through the intricate process of carving, sculpting, and casting toys.

The craftsmanship that goes into creating each toy is astonishing.  “Before I ever got into this, I remember looking at toys and just kind of figuring, well a computer must do that,” Adam Smith, owner of True Cast, tells Ladesich. “I didn’t get that actually people just sat there and sculpted all of this stuff.” Smith and his small team (which includes his sister and her husband) are now those people.

 Looking at some of the models that are being created with 123D Creature, you have to wonder if some people missed their true calling.  


Exporting from Tinkercad into Minecraft!

When thinking about how to improve the experience for Tinkercad users, one of the relevant things to consider is what they are doing with the product. Once we relaunched Tinkercad and started gathering a better understanding of the user base, it was very clear that our users were trying to build models for Minecraft, without a clear and easy way of doing the export.

When talking to some of these users, we learned about the current steps to export into Minecraft, which involved the usage of several applications, the understanding of a lot of file formats and the loss of information (as the color).

This was the main driver for this new and exciting feature. Let’s see how it works.

First of all, let’s open a model in Tinkercad. If this is your first time, go to https://tinkercad.com/ and create your profile.

In this case, I made a castle by using some of the shapes available in Tinkercad, and also imported an STL file from 123D Creature. image1

If you are not familiar with Tinkercad, it has a very simple and intuitive way to make operations between objects. Simply define some of them as holes, and once grouped, they will subtract from the rest of the solid objects in the group. This is the way I made the battlements at the top of the walls and towers.


In order to import an STL file into Tinkercad, you should use the Import option, which allows you to browse for an STL file in your computer. Then you will define its size (which you can then scale up or down after being imported).


Once you got your model finished, click on Design and select Download for Minecraft. This will invoke a dialog where we’ll define the size.


In order to define the size, we need to give a reference based on mm (which is the unit used in Tinkercad’s grid). In this case, if we want to keep the level of detail on the battlements, the size in mm can’t be more than 2mm per Minecraft block. The lower this number, the higher the resolution and the higher the size inside Minecraft.

Once you click export, Tinkercad will allow you to download a *.schematic file, which is the file you will import into MCEdit (the Minecraft editor).


If you have never used Minecraft, after installing the game, you need to create a new world. You may want to check the options for creating a large world, or a flatter one.


Once your world is created, you will need to close Minecraft and open MCEdit. These applications can’t be open at the same time. This is a really important tip, so make sure you close one before opening the other. You may also want to make sure you have the latest of both. Minecraft is currently in the 1.6.2 version (you can get it here: https://minecraft.net/). MCEdit is currently in version 0.1.7 (you can find it here: http://www.mcedit.net/).

When you open MCEdit, you will find your world in the menu. If you don’t see it, click on Open a level and try to find it. MCEdit will default to the location where Minecraft saves the levels, so this should be easy anyways.


Click on Import in the options below, and you will be able to locate your model in the scene. Check the options in the panel on the left in order to have more control on the location.


You may also want to make sure that your character spawns next to your model. Click on the option highlighted below and define this position. If you are in a big world and you appear really far from your model, you will need to do some walking, and probably find some zombies or skeletons along the way.


Save your model in MCEdit, close it, and then open Minecraft. Your model will be in place, and you will also notice that Tinkercad also kept the colors of your model (as much as we can, since we need to map to the block colors we can find in Minecraft). While developing the exporter, we found out that we could not map the color red to Lava Red. Our first export was a house, and all the bricks started melting. Pretty spectacular, but not too useful to keep the enemies outside at night!


I hope you’ll find this feature as fun and useful as we found it. Big thanks to the amazing development Tinkercad team (Petr, Brandon, Frederic), and also a special thanks to Eric Haines, who showed us the possibilities around Minecraft. You may want to check his work in http://www.realtimerendering.com/erich/minecraft/public/mineways/

You can also watch this video that shows the whole process. Enjoy!

Autodesk 123D Design Challenge: Reimagine an Existing Product!

Enter the Autodesk® 123D® Design Challenge! Reimagine an existing product or create a new one that could be the next big thing. Create a 3D model using the 123D Design app and submit your project at Instructables.com for a chance to win cool prizes like a MakerBot Replicator 2 or Premium 123D Membership!

Are you savvy enough to take on the Autodesk® 123D® Design Challenge? Find out more at autodesk.com/123ddesignchallenge!

Best Award Ever.

We got a heads-up about pretty awesome use of 123D Catch today from the Makerbot guys.  Architecture firm Gensler Shanghai produced the "Chicken Foot Awards" for their annual all-staff meeting a couple of months ago by taking photos of an actual chicken's foot to render in 123D Catch, then print them out on Makerbots.


Go on and treat yourself, download your own Chicken Foot Award over at Thingiverse.  Better yet, design your own funky award!

We’ve made some changes!

Hello visitor!

I'm the manager of the Autodesk 123D website, and I wanted to tell you about some of the changes we've made, and where we're going.

As you can see, we've made some substantial changes to the visual style of the site. We think it looks cleaner, fresher, and more fun - what we want the 123D experience to be.

There's more going on, however, than just visual changes. We want to make this site more about you, and your creative projects. We want to be source of inspiration and delight when you're setting out to make new things. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be rolling out tools and features that make this possible, regardless of your level of skills.

Right now, we're emphasizing some of the things you can already do with our tools, especially by highlighting designs from you, our users, as a starting point. This is an area where we'll be placing a lot of focus as we move ahead.

We're pleased to welcome Tinkercad to the 123D family, and you'll be seeing regular updates to that very popular design tool.

Last but not least, we're soon going to be adding an important new section to the site: the Sandbox. Here we'll be revealing some of our latest tools and products, giving you a sneak preview of new functionality as we're working on it. Stay tuned for some really exciting news over the next few days!

The changes we announce today are only the beginning of a more ambitious voyage. We look forward to having you along with us on this journey!

Customizable 3D Printed Rings

Roly Holder, one of our intrepid Instructables users, and 123D Design enthusiast, has posted this great piece: Customizable 3D Printed Ring Designs.

It's a guide to how you can make your own custom rings, suitable for 3D printing, starting from a series of template designs that he has created, like the one below.

We really like this design, and this Instructable, because it lets even beginners to 3D modeling make something beautiful. Try it out!



Never lose a key again – custom key tags with 123D Design

Do you have an important key that you don't want to lose? Or it's a key that you need to lend to many people over the course of a day?

You could tie it to a string or, if you have access to a 3D printer, you can easily make a customizable key tag, like the one shown below. All you have to do is click here to open the key model in 123D Design, click twice on the text to edit it, and save or print the file directly from the 123D website.

If you need more information on how to do this, or want to understand how these were made, check out this Instructable on how to make a customizable key tag.



Pulled from Instructables: Interlocking Building Blocks

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We see all kinds of of modular blocks being 3D printed these days, even some cool customized Legos and bits that make 'em go vroom.  Check out these interlocking building blocks over at Instructables - they're more structurally sound than Legos because their edges overlap, preventing the shearing that can happen at joints.

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Can YOU make a better building block?