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. 

PLANT3D: Turning tiny office spaces into miniature gardens

How many times have you looked at the space in between your desk and your neighbor’s desk and thought, man, I wish there was a plant there? Or had a similar reaction upon viewing a groove in the wall? Or the narrow crevice between two armchairs?

Anyone faced with this predicament would have been stuck without a solution, as no manufacturer makes planters on such a small scale. Luckily, we live in a world with 3D printing! So I decided to act on my desire to turn tiny office spaces into miniature gardens for hearty, low-maintenance air plants.

News surrounding 3D printing tends to focus on the big things; 3D-printed houses, pieces of furniture, and custom prosthetics receive a lot of media attention. But the potential of 3D printing for small-scale life enhancements should not be ignored.

To make such small planters, I used 123D Design’s pre-loaded selection of primitive tools. Find my step-by-step instructable here and make your own tiny planters. In approximately fifteen minutes, you too can design crack-filling little gardens for all the cracks in your life.

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!

 

PINHOL3D: 3D printing through a new lens

 

The inspiration for my first project stems from a deep-rooted love for iPhone photography. While a number of phone apps exist for the sole purpose of photo manipulation, there are comparatively few hardware accessories that serve the same purpose. Recalling my days of haphazardly taping a pinholed-cardboard square to my iPhone camera, I envisioned my first 3D printing project achieving that same grainy, vignetting effect in hardware form. Enter my first project: the iPhone pinhole camera.

freshly-printed iPhone pinholes

My first attempt at the iPhone pinhole was only minorly successful. I modeled the device on Tinkercad, essentially slicing off two-thirds of an already-created iPhone 5 case, and adding a cylinder with a small opening over the camera area to create the pinhole. This took all of twenty minutes; it’s that easy.

I then printed it on one of the many Objet500 printers here at Pier 9, using the Tango Black material. While the produced model was workable, the material was too flimsy to comfortably sit on the iPhone. Moreover, the pinhole was slightly too far to the left and needed to be manually adjusted for each picture.

Thus, I returned to the drawing board (that is, Tinkercad). This time, I used iPhone specs detailed in Apple’s developer guide to locate the center of the camera. Using Tinkercad’s ruler feature, I easily plugged in the specified measurements and there it was — a complete second iteration in less than half an hour. Total insanity.

Honestly, the longest part of this process was waiting for a fellow Pier 9 shop user’s piece to finish printing so I could load my creation onto the Objet500. But after a mere hour of watching the printer lay down layer upon layer of model material, there it was — the material version of an idea that I’d conceived of 24 hours before this moment.

Excavating the model from its support materialHot off the object

Despite my immediate urge to test it out, I needed to dislodge the piece from its support material encasing — a process that I greatly underestimated. After half an hour of chiseling away at the support material with a power washer and a variety of ice-pick-resembling hand tools, there was my glistening iPhone pinhole camera.

So here — directly from my new pinhole camera to your screen — is the world of an Autodesk intern through a Tinkercad-created lens:

I also modeled a number of iterations, experimenting with the depth of the pinhole casing as well as the number and orientation of pinholes. Follow my instructable, print your own, and play around with your pinhole images on Pixlr for extra vintage-looking, instagram-able results.

 

Innovation in 3D Printing Powered by Autodesk

With products ranging from stem cells, shoes and mini-statues, 3D printing has started to boom in China amid the industry's rapid development worldwide, and this was showcased at the 2014 World 3D Printing Technology Industry Conference held on June 19-22, in Qingdao, Shandong Province. This event is co-organized by the World 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, the China 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance, the Asian Manufacturing Association, and the Qingdao municipal government. 

Autodesk sees an opportunity---and need---to speed the pace of innovation in the 3D printing industry. Standing at the frontier of 3D printing technology, we want to help make 3D printing accessible to millions of Chinese people by lowering existing barriers to entry and providing leading applications. The Autodesk 123D Shanghai team set up a promising booth at the aforementioned event and introduced all of our 123D offerings to the Chinese makers, professors, and students in attendance.

 

 

 

 

Chris Romes, Senior Director of Personal Design and Fabrication at Autodesk, introduced Project Spark at the Cultural Creative Symposium "3D Printing Technology Applied in Cultural Creative Industry". The goal of the project is to make 3D printing more accessible. He said, “We are developing Spark, an open and free software platform for 3D printing that will connect digital information to 3D printers in a new way.”  The audience was impressed by the information he shared,  and a large crowd came to Chris after his presentation to learn more details.

 

If you want to learn more about Project Spark, visit the project homepage, where you can get more information and sign up to receive updates. Check out the 123D website too, and see how the existing applications can help you with 3D printing today, and take you to the next level as Project Spark is rolled out.

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MeshMixer 101: Move Objects

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. 

This video will show you how to move things around in 3D within Meshmixer, allowing you to position objects relative to others, or orient them for 3D printing.