Vote for Autodesk 123D!

We are very excited to announce that we have been selected as a finalist for one of the 3D Printshow Global Awards. Go us! 123D Creature is representing Autodesk 123D for the Best Online/App-Based Service, and we need YOUR help to take home the gold.

Voting starts today, so please make sure to vote for 123D Creature.  Simply go to the 3D Printshow 2013 Global Awards voting page for Best Online / App Based Service, and scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will be asked for your name and email address (to prevent voting fraud) and 5 super quick questions about 123D Creature.  Voting closes October 31 so be sure to cast your vote today!

 

Bring 3D Printing With You To College

We imagine our college-aged audience has spent the past few days and weeks getting settled into the joys of sharing a dorm room with strangers while navigating what it's like to live away from home. With all the details that come inherent to making that transition, it’s understandable when you leave something at home or think of something you need when it’s too late to get it.  

For example, perhaps you get to your dorm and realize your parents have supplied you with roughly one metric ton of pens and pencils, but nowhere to put them. They have already driven back home with their credit cards, leaving you to your own devices, but fortunately 123D and 3D Printing are there to fill in the gaps.

For example, instead of quietly stealing a pencil holder from your roommate, use 123D Catch to capture his/hers and print it, or select from the multitude of options developed by your fellow 123D’ers, like the cannon pencil holder picture here:

 

Courtesy of xyzebra 

If you’re a person who goes through lots of drafts, nothing is more satisfying than tossing out failed ideas. Spice up that process by using 123D Design to create, and then 3D print your own basketball hoop for the trash can, gamifying your editorial process.

 

Courtesy of Kazga_Fitteyai 

 Playing with a Frisbee (or novelty flying disc) is one of the stereotypical college activities that must be undertaken. Customize your own plastic disc in 123D Design and everyone will want to hang out with you.

 

Courtesy of CocaKoala 

One of the hardest parts of college is surviving homesickness, so we recommend you use 123D Sculpt to design and print your dog (or other pet). Having a small version of Fido with you in college is a great way to keep your home close to your heart, and realistically is probably about as far as one should go with pet ownership when it comes to dorm life anyway.

 

 Courtesy of Chuck Whitehead

So when you’re low on funds, which after all is the identifying characteristic of college students worldwide, consult Autodesk 123D to find and create quick solutions to life’s little problems. Whether it’s an issue of function, entertainment, or making friends, 123D is here to help.  Find your school's 3D printer and start filling your dorm room with the coolest stuff you can think of!

 

Maker Faire Toronto

The 123D team made their way to Maker Faire Toronto this previous weekend to celebrate all things Maker. Check out this video they put together for the coolest cardboard knight costume you've ever seen. 

 

Don't be too jealous though, because you can make one of your very own using Autodesk 123D right now. 

 

Introducing Autodesk Meshmixer, awesome 3D remixes at your fingertips

Update Feb 18, 2014: To provide you with a streamlined 3D printing experience, the Autodesk 3D Print Utility has been integrated into Meshmixer - a powerful yet easy-to-use mixing and sculpting software.  Now, when you click “3D Print…” from any of the 123D apps, your project will be loaded into Meshmixer to prepare, refine and preview your models to print with confidence.  To download the latest version of Meshmixer, please visit http://123dapp.com/meshmixer.

We're pleased to announce Autodesk Meshmixer, joining the 123D family of apps. Meshmixer is a powerful tool for working with 3D mesh files. It's been around for while, so you may have heard of it or used it, but we've made some really interesting enhancements to it.

Check out the video below and see what it can do, and read on for more.

What does Meshmixer do?

If you're new to Meshmixer, let us introduce you. Meshmixer works with 3D mesh files, which you can think of as a kind of digital clay. 3D scanning systems like 123D Catch or the Makerbot digitizer produce mesh files, as do 3D sculpting programs like 123D Creature and 123D Sculpt. 3D design files from programs like 123D Design are more like building blocks - they let you move and change clearly defined geometric elements. Mesh files are popular for 3D printing and other fabrication techniques, so all 3D design programs can produce them.

Meshmixer lets you edit and combine mesh files in many different formats in a very fluid and organic manner. It can also help you repair files from scans and preparing them for printing.

What's new in Meshmixer?

If you're familiar with Meshmixer already, here is a highlight of what we've done for Meshmixer 2:

First, we've created a brand new user interface. All the features are still there, but they're a lot easier to find and use. A row of icons along the left side of the screen gives a comprehensive overview of every feature and tool. Even if you've been using Meshmixer for a while, go ahead and take a look, you might discover something that you didn't know was there! 

Second, we've added some extremely powerful tools for preparing models for 3D printing, around the area of support material. When working with complex organic forms, you will often need to provide a support or "scaffold" to ensure that the model prints correctly. In Meshmixer, we've added tools that let you customize precise and easy-to-remove support materials for your models.  You can also analyze the strength of a model, and send your creations directly to the Autodesk 3D Print Utility.

Third, we've provided the option to navigate scenes using two different styles of mouse interaction: you can continue to use the classic Meshmixer style controls, or you can switch to the same style of mouse navigation used by the 123D apps (right-click to orbit, middle-click to pan, etc).

We're proud of this release, and we're looking forward to welcoming new users and seeing what great things you can do with it! Meshmixer is available as a free download from 123dapp.com/meshmixer

From the 123D Gallery: Pig Monster from Amnesia by Amanda Jackson

When we heard about the Steam release of the horror game mashup, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, something seemed familiar...  Then we remembered this great model by 123D Creature user Amanda Jackson back in March.   

Have you played it yet??

 

Plot robotic world domination with VEX IQ and VEX Assembler

When you are trying to take over the world using robots, you really need the best possible tools, especially if you're a middle school student. You need a flexible construction system, a powerful robot brain, versatile sensors - and software to test out your designs in your secret lair, before launching your cunning plan.

We're committed to helping students make real their dreams of world domination, so together with our partner VEX Robotics, we're pleased to announce the the launch of the VEX IQ robot construction system, and the VEX Assembler design software, powered by Autodesk 123D technology.

The new VEX IQ system is designed to open up the world of competitive robotics to a wider, and younger, audience. It uses a system of plastic parts, a tool-less pin connection system and "smart" motors and sensors to get teams up and running even faster than before. As a complement to this, the VEX Assembler is a software design tool that allows students to try out different robot and mechanism designs without having access to the physical parts. VEX Assembler is built using Autodesk 123D technology to allow for smooth and easy to use functionality, and introduce CAD tools to a new audience.

Aspring young mad scientists have already started to cook up some intriguing inventions: check out the VEX IQ showcase for more.

VEX Robotics is a long-time partner of Autodesk: we sponsor their competitive events, and VEX bundles Autodesk Inventor with their existing competition kits (see more about the VEX and Autodesk relationship here: http://autodesk.com/vex). While alumni of the VEX program have yet to build a secret volcano lair, we think it is just a matter of time.

3D Printing Dinosaurs: The Future of the Past

Every so often we encounter people who end up stunning us with their ingenuity in the use of Autodesk’s 123D products. Check out the video above, and you'll know right away what we're talking about. As you can imagine, once we saw what Barry Joseph was doing with 3D-technology at the American Museum of Natural History, we knew we had to go to the source to find out more.

Fortunately for everyone, Barry was willing to share his time with us so that we could dive deeper into the cool projects he’s been working on. If you think about it, Barry is the reason why we do what we do: his creativity and desire to bequeath his knowledge onto the next generation inspires us to continue making the highest-quality, most accessible tools for him and those he teaches.

You may remember our interview with another paleontologist, Matt Christopher from a few months ago. Once you read on to see what Barry has to say about 3D technology, paleontology, and Indiana Jones, it will be confirmed that working with dinosaurs bones is pretty much the coolest job ever.

 

Dino-Hunter

 The Legend himself

 

Which is your favorite dinosaur?

 Chicken.

 

How are you using 3D technology (capturing, modeling, printing) in your line of work?

 We bought our first 3D printer (a MakerBot 2) this past January and spent Winter learning how to print found-objects from Thingiverse and create our own (like a simian skull) with 123DCatch. Convinced we could test its educational affordances within a two-week long summer program, we tested the concept by entering our Big Bone room and working with an Allosaurus' femur. The test worked: it took 20 minutes for two of us to get three strong captures, and another 30 to combine then into one print-ready fossil. We felt that was quick enough to scale into an educational program, and the learning curve we had to climb was within reach for high school youth.

 

What problems does 3D technology help you address?

 Both capturing and modeling helps us to teach youth how to closely observe.  Printing allows youth to touch and manipulate the untouchable. No one would ever give teens glue guns and ask then to combine real dinosaur fossils into a scientific model to demonstrate how they might have pursued prey or walked. But with 3D printers, we could do the next best thing. 

 

Do students and younger people have a natural affinity towards learning 3D technologies?

 That's hard to say. Is the current generation somehow more pre-disposed to problem solving in virtual 3D spaces than my own? I don't know. What I can say is that they seem to come with more of an open-mind (adults seeing our six printers often nervously quip about whether I can now print guns). And many (not all) have tremendous experience navigating 3D environments in high-end video games. At the same time, the most common response I get from adults who learn of our programs is, "Where can I sign up?"

 

Do you think 3D technology is accessible to all skill levels and ages?

 Eventually, yes. Sure, I can point to the 8 year-old whose Kickstarter campaign for a Thanksgiving-themed Chanukah menorah (both holidays coincide this year) began with him developing the model in the web-based Tinkercad then printing it on a Makerbot. Or my son when he was 5 designing a clock in SketchUp for his little sister's dollhouse. Or my 13-year old twin cousins who learned in just a few minutes how to use 123Dcatch on their iPhones so they could bring home their own 3D photos of our Museum's dioramas. But that would be misleading. 

The physical tools are pricey and clunky and the digital tools are free and, while miraculous, you still get what you pay for. I am confident the costs will come down, reliability will go up, and learning curves will smooth out - but until then you have to be willing to geek-out now and again if you want to get involved with digital fabrication.   

 

Have any of the students ever discovered something about the fossils that your team missed?

 No, but that would be crazy if they did. I am almost tempted to say they did just to start a new meme. Can you picture it? "Hey, did you hear some kids using 3D printers learned something about dinosaurs missed by the experts?" But of course, that is not the point. While scientists at the Museum and elsewhere DO use 3D scanners and modeling programs to advance science, when we put these tools in the hands of youth we are not asking them to contribute to science but to simulate what scientists do and their scientific practices. Even though they are working with real fossils, they are still far removed from the sophisticated skills developed by paleontologists to properly view and bring meaning to them. 

 

How was your experience using 123D Catch?

 123D Catch is so awesome. It relies on so much existing knowledge - how to turn on an iPhone, how to take a photo, etc. - that the digital fabrication components are relatively easy to teach and master. Youth need to learn the direction to take the photos, how much of the screen to fill with the image, and how to embrace background noise. But that's fairly easy. It still takes about two tries from a beginner to get a decent capture, and about 10 - 20 or so attempts before you can consistently get what I'd considered an excellent capture. And that's pretty good. 

 

Do you have any tips or tricks for people just getting started with 3D technologies?

 Read everything you can online, try things out, then watch videos, then read some more, then try more things out, then find a listserv or community where you can ask questions. Make something new and give it to someone you love. 

 

What’s next for 3D printing in your lab?

There are so many options on the table. We'll see what pans out over the next six months. Capturing Mammals, perhaps? We're already taken Capturing Dinosaurs to our Night at the Museum sleepovers, and planning for the World Maker-Faire NYC next week. Digital fabrication in our youth research programs, perhaps, and for the public in our learning lab. And more... but that's all I can say for now. You can watch for more details on my blog: mooshme.org and on my Twitter feed @mmmooshme.

 

And finally…Pick one: Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park?

 Indie, of course, as the character of Jones is inspired (albeit indirectly) by American Museum of Natural History's former director, dinosaur bone hunter, and adventurer-extraordinaire Roy Chapman Andrews (look it up!).

 

 

 

Introducing 123D Circuits

123D Circuits Banner 

Autodesk... Electronics... Really?  YES.  It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce the launch of 123D Circuits - today! 

At Autodesk we work hard to empower you with an ever growing lineup of free 3D tools.  But why stop there?  We were eager to help take your projects one step further.  To do so, we teamed up with Circuits.io to bring you what we think is the very best electronics design tool on the market: 123D Circuits.  But you don't have to take my word for it, see for yourself... (Note: 123D Circuits links will open a new tab on a separate website)

 

 

Here are some of the most compelling features:

  • Virtual breadboard based design, allowing to build and experiment with circuits just as you would in real life.
  • You can add an Arduino to your design, and edit the code right in your browser.
  • Real-time and interactive simulation of both your Arduino code and the circuit attached to it.
  • Full collaborative editing (think of Google Docs for electronics).
  • Powerful yet easy component editor, making it super easy to add new components to the shared library.
  • Easily create beautiful circuit boards with: free text, b-splice silkscreen art, arbitrary board shapes, …
  • Ability to embed your design, including simulation on your blog or in an Instructable.

123D Circuits is part of a suite of awesome 123D applications on 123DApp.com
Keep checking back for more exciting application announcements - this won't be the last...!

 

 

From the 123D Gallery: Chimpanzee by Amanda Jackson

Check out another great model from Amanda Jackson - keep it up Amanda!!

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