123D Design 1.7 – A really solid release

We are really proud to announce the release of 123D Design 1.7 (Windows and Mac).

Definitely our best release ever, but you will think that everybody says that for a new release, a new record, etc.

Let me explain what makes this release our most epic one. Two key elements: Tinkercad and Solids!!!

For some time, we have received a lot of feedback about some interactions in Tinkercad that make a lot of sense, and we should adopt them in 123D Design. That’s exactly what we did with two very important ones: Align and Scale.

The new Align tool is very similar to Tinkercad’s Align tool. When multiple objects are selected, it displays some options for aligning to edges or center. You will get a preview before you need to click on your choice.

Changing sizes of selections has been another huge request. We now offer a tool called Smart Scale, which will show a bounding box around your selection, and allow you to change sizes by clicking on the values, or simply drag the controls, exactly like in Tinkercad. So you now have traditional Scale using scale factors, and Smart Scale when you want to force the object to a specific size.

Were you missing a local way to do vectors? We’ve added Export SVG, which saves an SVG file with whatever is intersecting the grid. This is done locally, so it doesn’t involve creating a 2D Layout in the cloud.

This may seem like a lot already. But there’s more.

Imagine you are working in Tinkercad, or got an STL file created by any mechanical app. There’s a limited amount of things you can do with it.

Except that now, if the mesh is healthy (no gaps), it can be converted into a solid, and optimized while doing the conversion. We will find any co-planar faces and this will be a single face you can push. Or find a cylindrical section (made of multiple little facets) and convert it into real arcs. You can now find that edge you wanted to smooth in Tinkercad and it was impossible (up to now).

In the example below, this fantastic model kitchen set may need some editing. So you can get the STL file of the part you want to modify, and convert into solid. Then you can proceed with your favorite solid editing tools!

In a nutshell, our best release ever. Any doubts?

Enjoy the brand new 123D Design!

Download 123D Design

123D Design desktop 1.4: 3D file import and 3D printing enhancements


It’s been a while since we released 123D Design version 1.3, at last year’s Maker Faire. A year on, we’re releasing version 1.4 . Don’t be misled by the single digit change – this is a major upgrade with features that will open up many new possibilities for you.

Keep reading to learn more about awesome new features like:

  • 3D mesh file import
  • 2D vector file import
  • Integrated 3D printing support
  • Numerous interface and usability enhancements

Read more »

Simulate space capsule re-entry with Autodesk 123D

Right now everyone is getting excited about space - with Mars at its brightest last night, and a lunar eclipse coming up next week, it's hard to not look up at the sky and wonder how you too can explore the universe. Here at the 123D secret headquarters, we are also excited about everything astronomical, so we put together a project that explores the basic concepts behind the not-so-basic practice of re-entry to Earth. To do so, we need to understand flow and pressure around a space capsule coming back to Earth (yay, science!).

Looking at our suite of apps, we wanted to give you something mobile, free, and easy. This led us to putting together a project using iOS Design and ForceEffect Flow, which enables you to simulate the airflow around an object – all on an iPad.

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123D Design Updated on iOS

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

Read more »

What’s new in 123D Design?

123D Design online has just released version 1.5 with a lot of great enhancements, including a smoother feel, new tools, and more options for file formats.

If you have already used 123D Design online before, I’m sure you’ll be really delighted with these improvements. For first time users of 123D Design online, please visit http://apps.123dapp.com/design/ to enjoy this new experience.


Okay, let’s take a look at what’s changed:

1.    New UI

First of all, you will notice a lot of changes in the UI:

  • The new background and grid color are crisper, and you may also notice that we are converging with Tinkercad in regards to visual design. Familiarity both in look and feel and in certain features will also help on a smoother graduation from Tinkercad into 123D Design online for users that are looking for some extra power.
  • Some of the actions that were living in the Attribute Manager (which appears at the bottom when objects are selected) were moved into the new top toolbar. Frequent operations like Move, Rotate, Scale, and Switch Planes are easier to see now.
  • The rest of the actions have been grouped under three drop-down menus. The first one for actions like Mirror, Invert, Ruler. The next one for Finishing Tools (fillet, chamfer, shell), and the last one for actions that manage bodies (group, ungroup, flatten).
  • The file’s name is displayed at the top, making it easier to identify.
  • If you need to switch from perspective mode to orthographic mode, simply click F8. An orthographic projection can help you easily align objects.


2.       New tools.


We released Invert in the UI some time ago, but sometimes you want more than just inverting a model based on its bounding box. That’s where Mirror comes in. Now you can select a plane, make it cruise just like any other object, align to any face, and even move the plane away or into that selected face. Now that’s what we call power!




We have a fantastic system called Inferencing that allows you to move individual objects while referencing other objects for a precise location. But you can’t do this with multiple elements. That’s where the new Align tool comes in. Once a user selects multiple objects, Align tool will show a widget that will help you preview the results.





Ever needed to understand how far an object was from another one? The new ruler tool will come in handy for this. Drag the ruler, cruise with it, snap it to any element of the scene, select the object you need to measure and voila – distance measured.




3.       File formats and more.

We bring you Insert File, which allows you to add a Design Model into your current file - this was previously only possible via the Parts Bin. You can browse My Projects or local files for SMB or SAT files, cruise them on the current model, and keep working. Imagine how easy it will be now to reuse any of your own models, or models from the Gallery.


Import EPS.

We had added SVG import a couple of releases ago, however SVG is not the only vector format out there. EPS is still widely used, so we added an option to import files of this type as well. You’ll be able to use any vector work you have created, or download the massive amount of vector art available in the web.



Support mesh for Export 2D.

Now that meshes are supported in 123D Design online, we also need to extend support for meshes when creating a DWG file. Meshes introduce an issue that is not a problem with most solids, so we cleaned up the linework created from the models, and we also now display hidden lines.




We hope you are as excited about these new updates as we are! Let us know what you think in the comments.


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!

Introducing 123D Design Online!

Around 6 months ago, the 123D Design team launched a series of products that could empower users with little to no CAD background to create, edit and customize 3D models for fabrication.

Let me introduce you to the newest version of 123D Design online. 3D modeling on a browser is not exactly new. In fact, we now have the popular modeling program Tinkercad as a member of the 123D family. So what makes 123D Design online so unique? It provides tools for fine tuning and editing models that has been so far seen in products like AutoCAD, Inventor, and Fusion 360. You can now round and bevel edges, create a shell or pull faces out of any part, and all this with extremely natural interactions.

Speaking of natural interactions, all manipulations of the parts in the scene are done with very easily identifiable modifiers. If you have used image editing or presentation software, you will find very familiar interactions for resizing, rotating, moving and aligning elements.  And since we are a 3D application, we have also introduced a really delightful experience for rotating and aligning parts against other parts in space, which we call cruising.

Making holes has never been easier either. The best of all is that we can also keep the whole history, meaning that if you have made a hole in a part using another element, you can always go back to the original elements, move them around, and see the new results without any additional operations.

We also have Smart Content! If you manipulate a part shaped like a keyhole, it’s very likely that you will want the circular part to remain circular, and this will never be the case in direct modeling. This happens because some of our content is defined by rules, which are checked after any action. Being able to create text and modify it on the fly is another result of using Smart Content.

So we have history-based solid modeling that can also be rule based, in a browser? Excellent! So what if you want a mesh, or need to start from a 2D drawing?

123D Design online also supports importing STL and OBJ files. So you can now import models from 123D Catch, 123D Creature, or pretty much any other application that can generate these formats. 

As much as we love 3D modeling, we also acknowledge there is a vast amount of drawings that could be the initial step for editing in 3D. 123D Design online supports SVG import, so bring in any vector artwork and see it come to life as a 3D model.

This video will show you the power of 123D Design online in action while making a simple earbud holder to print on a Makerbot. 

Check it out at www.apps.123dapp.com/design/ and stay tuned for updates!