Getting Sculpted with Shapeshifter

If your burning desire to print complex shapes has been constantly subdued by the difficulty of intricate 3D modeling, Project Shapeshifter is the tool for you. Currently in beta, Shapeshifter is Autodesk’s free application dedicated to simplifying complex models.

Upon opening the app for the first time, fellow Autodesk intern Arnab Mukherjee created not one — but four — Shapeshifter-crafted sculptures in one afternoon. The results were impressive:

To make this sculpture, Arnab started with one of the pre-loaded templates (users can choose from vase, bowl, ring, bracelet, knot and more) and tinkered with the various slider controls until he was satisfied with the shape.

The Shapeshifter interface exists entirely within your browser, making it easy to use. Despite its simple presentation, there are many layers of customization that allow the user to fully shape an imagined object.

Sliders offer complete control over each aspect of the model, from more basic characteristics like thickness, color and spin profile to advance characteristics like wave frequency and amplitude. Pre-loaded patterns fill the bottom tray, allowing users to change the pattern throughout the modeling process.

Once the sliders have been adjusted to create the desired shape, you simply export for 3D printing and there it is: a unique, beautifully-intricate Shapeshifter sculpture.

You can experiment with the beta platform by making your own Shapeshifter object using the various controls. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hit the randomize option in the top menu and print your result.

 

MeshMixer 101: 3D Printing

 

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

This video will show you a typical workflow for healing a capture from 123D Catch, then printing with a 3D printing service.

The Mighty Midwest Presents: The Chicago Public Library

 

This week in the Mighty Midwest we take a look at how 3D printing is changing the way visitors experience their local public library. Libraries have always existed as repositories of learning and information, and as technologies change there is a huge opportunity for them to adapt and bring those technologies to the masses. The Chicago Public Library has set up a Maker Lab in their downtown branch to bring new technologies to the people of Chicago. In the video below you can see how this Maker Lab is transforming the library experience by bringing things like 3D modeling and 3D printing, laser cutting, and more to the average person.

MeshMixer 101: MeshMix

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

In this video, learn how to drag and drop parts onto your model to create a unique 3D mashup.

The Mighty Midwest presents: Tom Burtonwood

 

On this week's installment of the Mighty Midwest we have fan favorite, Tom Burtonwood. Tom is making great strides in showcasing Chicago as an epicenter of art and innovation. Tom, a Tinkercad and 123D Catch user, is an artist residing in Chicago, and he uses 3D scanning, 3D modeling, and 3D printing to transform the way we understand objects. Tom shares his knowledge of 3D printing in a number of capacities, including giving classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, teaching students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and helping people new to the 3D printing at the Firecat Projects gallery. Tom also joined us in San Mateo for the Bay Area Maker Faire this last May. If you saw our video from last week then you got a little sneak peek of Tom's work.

Earlier this year we had the chance to visit him all over Chicago to see how Tom helps diverse groups of people understand this new 3D printing technology that's sweeping the nation.

 

Be sure to keep up with Tom's latest projects on his website and on his Thingiverse account. 

MeshMixer 101: Selection

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

In this video, see how to select objects, multiple objects, and face selection for different editing capabilities.

The Mighty Midwest presents: The Art Institute of Chicago

 

When it comes to 3D printing a lot of media attention is paid towards the coastal cities of the United States. California has Silicon Valley with its exponentially growing startup world, while New York has long played host to a thriving art and technology scene. And yet between the two lies Chicago, a hidden gem in the world of fabrication and customization. Recently we had the opportunity to explore the many maker spaces, museums, and makers themselves all dedicated to revitalizing the values of their City's past through embracing the technologies of the future.

The landscape of America is changing, and signs of this are everywhere. The midwest may be the largest indicator: where once the titans of industry stood, now stands what looks to the untrained eye like ramshackle warehouses and long-abandoned factory lines. But through the ashes blooms the new industrial revolution, the engine that is driving our society forward. 

 

Over the next month we will showcase a new aspect of Chicago's maker scene every week, starting with the extremely well-regarded museum, The Art Institute of Chicago. They are using 123D Catch as 3D scanning technology to provide a brand new experience to their visitors, a practice which will surely be adopted by institutions worldwide once they see how the AIC visitor experienced is transformed in such a positive way. Watch the video above to see firsthand how 3D scanning, modeling, and printing technology is playing a role at the Art Institute of Chicago. Be sure to check back each week this month for more.

 

123D Design Desktop 1.5: Bringing the Family Together

The latest release of 123D Design for Windows and Mac doesn’t just have some cool new features - it actually helps to bring the whole 123D ecosystem together as a suite of tools for design and fabrication.

So what’s new? Some hints were already on the last version of 123D Design: we introduced the ability to open, insert and do some editing to meshes. You could open projects generated in 123D Catch right from MyProjects inside 123D Design, and also send to 3D print via Meshmixer using a one-click workflow.

Let me now explain what’s new with 1.5 and why it’s really great news for all of you.

First of all, whenever you import a mesh from 123D Catch, it most likely needs healing. In release 1.4, if you wanted to combine or subtract another mesh or solid, the meshes had to be watertight (meaning that there could be no gaps). Another issue had to do with the density of the meshes, which could make the operation slow or make it fail. So if you have a mesh that needs some help, you had to open Meshmixer, import the mesh again, do the necessary fixes and then import back into Design.

With the 1.5 release, we reduced a couple steps. By selecting any object in 123D Design, you will see an option to send to Meshmixer. This will automatically open Meshmixer with only that selection open, ready to edit. Then you can clean, remesh, reduce, sculpt, mash up, create patterns, or whatever else you wanted to do. Afterwards, simply export back into Design and you will then be able to reinsert the piece in the same location!

Another interesting use case is if you want to fabricate your design using 123D Make. You now have two options for this. You can send the entire model from the AppMenu > Send to > 123D Make. This will open 123D Make desktop with the file already imported. But now you can just send a selection by using the context menu. So if you have some extra pieces in the model that you don’t want to delete before exporting, or if you want to use different fabrication options inside 123D Make for different parts of your model (like interlocked slices for some parts but stacked slices for other parts).

The same criteria can be used for 3D printing. You can either prepare the entire file (from AppMenu > 3D Print or Ctrl+P) or just a selection (from the contextual menu) and send it to MeshMixer, which will directly open the 3D print utility. You can then analyze the part, create support for the overhangs, and print right to your desktop printer or order the part from different services (Sculpteo, iMaterialise, Shapeways).

This connection between the apps makes it quite easy to move across different processes. You can think of 123D Design as a path to both additive and subtractive manufacturing solutions (Meshmixer and 123D Make respectively).

Since we can now move selections across different applications, it really made sense to be able to also export a selection as a 123dx file or an STL file. This is also a quite useful new feature in 123D Design desktop.

But that's not all! For a while now, users have been asking for a better solution to create text. We've been working on it and we are now proud to present the new Text feature! First of all, it works offline, like the rest of the app. Secondly, it uses your system fonts! Last but not least, you can also throw the text into a sketch, so you will be able to perform different, independent operations with each closed profile. Not bad, right?

Just one more thing. Although you can use Meshmixer to process models for 3D printing - both at home and with 3rd party printers - you can also order a 3D print directly from 123D Design, provided it’s already saved in MyProjects. We've also added a new service provider - 3D Hubs!

3D Hubs provides the ability to connect with 3D printer owners near where you live or work. So if you want a fast delivery (or maybe even see your printer in person), you can print through 3D Hubs directly through 123D Design.

So check out 123D Design Desktop 1.5 and make sure you also have 123D Make and Meshmixer for a more complete experience! Also, keep sending feedback - most changes are directly from you guys, our rad users!

MeshMixer 101: Move Objects (with snapping

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer - allowing you to easier manipulate and edit mesh models. 

Building off of the "Move Objects" video, this will show you how to move and rotate objects around with snapping constraints for more precision.

Bryan Allen Will Decimate Your World

You may have seen a new trend in fashion and design: the angular, panelized look.  If you've ever wondered how that's done then read on!  Featured 123D user Bryan Allen has written this instructable on how to do it with 123D Make.  Check out Bryan's decimated chess pieces below, and download the full set on 123Dapp.com.

Bryan Allen is a prolific maker with serious design and 3D printing chops.  He's founding partner in Smith/Allen Design Studio and is the Chief Design Officer over at Type A Machines, a San Francisco based 3D printer company.


While working with Bryan on integrating the Type A 3D Printers into Autodesk MeshMixer we gave him a sneak peak into a new feature for 123D Make: the ability to easily panelize (or "decimate") a 3D model and export it for 3D printing.  Bryan took off and ran with it - and he's written this Instructable on how it's done.  Not only is 123D Make free, but so are tens of thousands of 3D models in our gallery.  So what are you waiting for?  Check out Bryan's InstructableDownload 123D Make and try it yourself.

Here's another example of some models standing next to their 123D Make-decimated counterparts:

What do you want to decimate?  With Autodesk's free design and fabrication tools and Bryan's instructions the possibilities are endless.  Thanks Bryan!