123D Design is a 3D modeling app for the iPad (iOS 7 only) that leverages the same solid modeling kernel from Autodesk’s professional products like AutoCAD and Inventor. This is a lot of power for a free app and for an iPad!
This new version introduces a new UI with faster access to your projects and those from the community. Commands used during modeling have also been rearranged for a better exposure and discoverability.
Model by Weijie Woon
The interaction with the local and online libraries has been enhanced. You can either drag and drop parts into the grid and define their location, or double tab them for an automatic insertion on their origin.
If you insert different parts of the car shown below by double tapping on the Parts Bin, you can create a model pretty easily, and you can also add some other objects via drag and drop into any faces of the existing model. This allows us to provide the best of both worlds when using predefined or community content.
The Gallery has also been improved significantly, allowing access to Featured, Popular and Recent models. This is an endless source of inspiration, and now you can not only like and comment on designs from other people, but also follow them.
The main menu hosts data about your account, membership, and also allows a faster access to creating new files, opening and saving either locally or to the cloud. There is also a very interesting feature (under membership) that allows you to create a series of layouts in DWG that you can open in AutoCAD, or even inside the iPad with AutoCAD 360.
The image below is a model created in 123D Design desktop, opened in 123D Design iOS for some more editing, and then you can see a Front View in AutoCAD 360, where you can also produce some documentation.
There’s also a quite interesting new feature that allows you to align objects. The example below shows the Align tool in three simple steps. Let’s say that we want the handle for this box to be aligned at the top. In the past it was quite impossible, and you would need to make a very close zoom and move the part manually until you felt you were there. In the current scenario, you only need to select multiple elements, select the Align tool, and then decide along which axis you would want the alignment to happen (or to happen first, since you can align according to multiple directions).
If you want to have some more fun and have extra interoperability with other Autodesk apps on the iPad, you can take a design into Force Effects Flow and understand the model’s behavior with wind, smoke and other conditions that can allow you to make more informed decisions around a particular design.
We have a very nice Kit for building a glider, and if you create a snapshot and save it locally, you can then open it in Force Effects Flow. Since the snapshot is basically an image with transparent background, Force Effects will easily create a boundary, and then you will be able to apply different simulations.
We strongly encourage you to try the new version and show us some great models. Remember that anything you save into MyProjects will be available for the rest of the apps, including the desktop ones. Your models can then go very quickly from your iPad into 3D printers, laser cutters or CNC.
One of our users from Brazil has shared a piping tower for a plant completely modeled using primitives in 123D Design iOS. So thanks, Daniel Huamani, for this amazing model. I’m sure you’ll use the enhanced Snapshot tool to share your models to Facebook.