Maker’s Toolbox, Meshmixer 3.0 Lands

We’ve been working on some awesome new features and improvements for Meshmixer and its is all available for you to download and play with now (for free!). While there’s too much new stuff to describe in detail here, I can tell you that there are some innovative tools for those looking to model for multi-material 3D printing.

While these original tools cater to the needs of those with access to multi-material 3D printers, they also double for some pretty handy modeling tools for those with other intentions than 3D printing.

In fact, another addition to this release is an Unwrap tool...which is a common frustration point for many Makers- unwrapping 3D geometry to be able to lasercut or CNC out of flat material such as aluminum, wood, or fabric.

See the video below for some highlights:

 

 

There are lots of odds and ends here that were included based on your feedback…so keep it coming. You can always give it from within the app (click the “Feedback” menu) or email us at meshmixer@autodesk.com. Meshmixer is free, so you can't go wrong!

Here’s a comprehensive look at what’s new in Meshmixer 3.0, available for Windows (64, 32bit) and Mac:

- new Complex objects that contain internal partitions (beta!). Complexes make it easy to design for multi-material 3D printing!!
Generate Complex tool to create a Complex from face groups
Split Complex decomposes a Complex into separate solid shells
- new Export mode that automatically decomposes Complex on write
- new Align to Target tool to automatically align meshes in 3D
- new Unwrap tool flattens surface patches
- new SVG Export can export meshes as SVG (edges, colors, etc). Try it with Unwrap!
- new Mesh Query tool for visualizing mesh properties
- new measurement-based scene scaling workflow in Units/Dimensions tool
- new Select Intersecting action in Select tool (double-click on other scene objects)
- new Preserve Group Borders and Project To Target options in Smooth Boundary
Remesh can now automatically preserve sharp edges
Make Pattern can now clip to active Target object
Make Solid updates and new mode to automatically preserve sharp edges (slow!)
- huge Booleans stability improvements
- minor improvements to TransformSmoothReplace and Reduce
- export support for SMESH format
- Pivot-drag positioning shortcut can now terminate on any surface in scene
- new unlit-texture shader
- support for Autodesk Screencast
- crazy bugfixes
- tons of UI improvements to indicate disabled/unavailable menus and settings
- lots of [scripting API improvements]

Have fun!

How to Capture a Person with 123D Catch

 

So you want to capture your friend or relative in 3D with your smartphone? You want to print it out in color for mini-me present? You can do this with 123D Catch, which is freely available for iOS and Android.

123D Catch captures of Aidan, AiR Pam and Carl.

 

The hardest part about this, though, is that the person has to stand perfectly still, which is nearly impossible for anyone to do. I've had some good results by using some of the tips below:

1. Have the person sit down. Use a chair that isn't going to cover their back too much, or use a stool.

2. Frame your photographs of the person from the chest up with a portrait orientation, so the top of the frame is just above their head and bottom of the frame somewhere around their chest.

Note: It is more challenging to capture a whole person, since the ground they stand on is not moving (for sure) but the person is moving/swaying slightly no matter how hard they try to hold a pose! This can produce a great model for the ground and surroundings, but some blurriness or distortion on the person.

3. Start by shooting photos from one side of the person (profile) and work your way across the face, then back to just before where you started. You should only do one loop around the person avoiding to reshoot any part of the face. A second pass on the face usually results in strange, split distortions or even a two headed person! As I go around the front, I usually make sure to get enough under the chin. When around the back I tend to make sure I get some top down photos to cover the top of the head.

4. Let the person you are shooting in on the plan that you will do one loop, and that it will take about a minute or so. I usually coach the people I'm about to capture by telling them:

  • Blink between shots (when I'm moving)
  • Close your mouth, avoid opening/clenching your jaw. (Holding a smile is hard to do and you may come out looking like the joker)
  • Be a mannequin.

5. Shoot as many photos as you can...QUICKLY BUT CAREFULLY. I usually get about 25-35 photographs in my loop around a person. Make a point to frame and shoot in good time while moving around a circular loop of the person. The faster you shoot, the least likely your subject will have time to move! Make sure not to compromise on quality however, as the photographs should not be blurry or poorly framed. The better the photograph, the better the model.

It took me some practice, but I can get consistently great results from these methods. Also, if you are not sure if the person moved (or they think they did) just start over!

When you are done, you can heal the capture for 3D printing in Meshmixer. Just log in to 123D within Meshmixer, and you will be able to open any captures you made with the app by clicking "Import...123D". Here is a video showing a typical workflow for how to heal the capture in Meshmixer.

For a color 3D print of the healed capture, export it from Meshmixer as an OBJ, which will also export the texture and MTL files. Zip them all up into a .ZIP file and upload it to a 3D printing service such as Sculpteo for a full color 3D print. I've had good success with either Sculpteo or imaterialise uploading the zipped OBJ, MTL and textures exported from Meshmixer.

 

Meshmixer 2.8 infiltrates 123D!

With the new release of version 2.8 today, Meshmixer can now officially consider itself part of the Autodesk 123D family of products. We've added the ability to open and save to and from your 123D projects within the app! For example, now I can open a creation from the the recently released 123D Sculpt+ inside the new Meshmixer app.

123D Sculpt+ creation by Adrian Cortez in Meshmixer

You can browse with different filters in the public 123D Gallery of projects, type in a search, or pull in your own projects you have created with the other apps for easy access to mix, sculpt, or prep for 3D printing.

For those who are missing our now retired 123D Catch web app for editing and healing, this is the new way to quickly open your captures in your account. Prepping the mesh for 3D printing will be familiar, as the same tools are available as were in the Meshmixer web app...and more!

Open and heal a capture from 123d Catch for 3D printing and sharing back to 123D.

 

3D print of AiR Pam in color

Meshmixer will show you any 123D models you've created and saved to your online account, whether they originated in 123D Design, 123D Catch, 123D Make or 123D Sculpt+. Saving the new "meshmixed" creation back to your account, either public to the 123D community or private for your own use is equally as easy!

Give it a try today! It opens up a whole new world of amazing 3D models to play with.

Join The Open Source Dress – Using Tinkercad

For anyone who follows Anouk Wipprecht or is just hearing about her infamous, interactive 3D printed dresses - This is a chance to add YOUR design sensibility to one of her couture-creations...  Anouk x Polaire will be assembling 3D printed "Particles" made by people all over the world - into a complete "Open Source Dress".  There is still time to send your particle.

On the left: some of the smaller prototype dress.  On the right: a particle sent in by a contributor.  


Anouk added LED rings to some of her own particles, using them as examples.

Here's more... check out what people are making on Tinkercad by filtering for #ParticleDress:

To participate is quite simple if you or a friend have a 3D printer.  The easiest way is to simply 3D print this existing part in Tinkercad or if you're the creative type : change that 3D model in Tinkercad so it has your own personal style - then send the print to:

THE OPEN SOURCE ELEMENT DRESS 
Anouk Wipprecht x Polaire 
Schottenfeldgasse 72/8c 
1070 Wien, Austria

*** For all the details --- Check out Anouk's Instructable ***


We took a little time out of our day and designed / 3D printed a couple particles.  Have a look:

Below left is our version of their base model, it will easily print on a Makerbot or similar 3D printer (click to Tinker-it). Below middle is the "spikey" particle you see above, and below right is the "balloon" particle" you see above in white.


You can start with the base model (might require support material) or our blue/orange version of the base model (you can change the colors) that will require no support material.

If you don't have a 3D printer you're not out of luck.  There are several professional companies eager to perfectly-print your models and we've got them lined up on our 3D-Print page.  

Hope to see your particles on the Open Source Dress!
-123D

123D Users Kristina and Sebastian’s Felt Vase

123D Make users Kristina Larsen and Sebastian Martin are the 123D Featured Users for the week... they're also part of the Instructables Artists in Residence program AND they've worked at San Francisco's world-renowned science museum, The Exploratorium.  Talk about impressive resumes, these two are destined for greatness.  

The project of theirs that caught our attention is this beautiful, soft and fuzzy (yet surprisingly sturdy) vase.

felt vase

What's really great about this project is that it can be replicated by anyone.  Autodesk provides free software to make it all possible, you just need a little patience while you cut the felt.

Kristina and Sebastian used Autodesk's Fusion 360 to design the vase's 3D model.  While Fusion 360 is an extremely powerful 3D modeling tool we thought this was a perfect opportunity to reproduce a very similar 3D model in Tinkercad, and here's what we got in 5 just minutes: link to model.

The left side shows the egg and two shapes we used as "holes" to flatten the bottom and carve out the hole for the glass vase in the top.  The right side shows we then selected "download for 3D printing" to get the model to open in 123D Make...

vase in tinkercad

And here's a screenshot showing 123D Make slicing the vase.

There's a lot more information in two Instructables written about this project, we link to them at the bottom of this page.  We also asked the pair a couple questions about why this project and why 123D Make...

123D: Why this project?
K&S: Part of what we’re doing in our Instructables residency is experimenting with different techniques, with the intention of incorporating those discoveries into our fabrication repertoire. We like to let the inherent properties or characteristics of materials inform our work so will push on things to see what they do when treated in different ways. Early on we hit on the idea of using the waterjet to cut very thick, dense wool felt which is normally used for industrial applications.

Felt is such an amazing material, and has physical properties unlike anything else, but when you cut wool felt with a laser it smells really terrible, like burned hair, and then the smell is really hard to remove. Plus you really can’t cut dense ½” thick felt with a laser. Waterjet cutting seemed a viable alternative, potentially clearing a path to digital fabrication using big sheets of this material. The result is even better than we imagined -- the cut edge is nice and crisp, and there’s a really satisfying tension between the machined quality of those edges and the overall softness of the material.  People can’t tell what the vase is made of when they first see it, and are nicely surprised once they figure it out.

We used the simple vase shape for our first experiment to give the project some clear constraints, since there was a lot about the process that was unknown to us. Now that we’ve seen how it works and how the material behaves we can confidently incorporate the technique into the creation of more complex sculptural objects. This way the risk and experimentation lies more in anticipating the aesthetic impact of the final piece, and less in unexpected variables in construction. We’re working on a piece inspired by topography and geology, where the layered construction will reference subsurface geologic structures, and the felt will take on the kind of soft, sculpted forms you'd expect from wool, in addition to showing the machined edge featured in the vase.

123D: What brought you to use 123D Make?
K&S: When we started this project I figured we’d have to draw the individual slices after building a form in (Autodesk) Fusion 360 software, but then discovered the slice-generating feature in 123D Make. 123D Make’s ability to quickly generate slices of any form, for any thickness of material, is such an exciting and powerful feature. 123D Make draws the slices in real time so you can play with different angles, and it simultaneously shows you how much material you’ll need to complete the project. In combination with laser, waterjet, or other computer-controlled cutting technologies it opens up whole realms of possibility for generating three-dimensional structures. Really, the only limitation is that you have to use a material that comes in a sheet.

Awesome!  To find out more about Kristaina Larsen and Sebastian Martin - check out these links: the Project387 Blog, their web site Cloudear.com, and their two instructables on this project: Layered Felt Vase, and Cutting Felt with Water.

Would you like to be a featured user?  Apply here.  Thanks Kristina and Sebastian!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Maker of the Day – Scott Kildall (Day 27)

 

 

Scott Kildall

Why I make

Creative energy sustains me and by making physical things, I transform thoughts into form. I view new technologies as an opportunity to experiment with possibilities that is completely new, but pays homage to older traditions. 

The data crystals reflect this transformation from virtual into material using technology that wasn't available 10 years ago.

What I make

Data Crystals are a series of 3D-printed sculptures, which I generate algorithmically from various data sources. These manifest a vision of what data physically looks like — one possibility for 3D data visualization.

My source for the data crystals range from city-provided open datasets such as construction permit and crime statistics to biometric data generated by human bodies such as physical movement or EEG (brainwaves) data. 

I see data as sculptural material, like clay, plaster or steel. By using code to transform columns of numbers into 3D models, I call myself a “data miner,” where I extract data into small gems. I’m still experimenting with legibility and aesthetics. The primary question that drives this work is the question of “what does data look like?” 

 

 

Maker of the Day – Andy Lee (Day 25)

 

 

Andy Lee

Why I make

I've always made stuff. It's an exploration i've been on for a long time. I am interested in how everything is made. All things from how is steel forged to how are silicone etched and packaged or how does a designer decide what the visual details they might add to their products.

Making stuff leads me on these journeys where I discover new ways that things can be made and built. 

What I make

Most of the things I make are tools for living. I've made lines of furniture and household accessories. I've been interested in robotics for a long time. In 2008 I made my own 3D printer in my apartment on my kitchen table. Everyone asked if they needed 3D goggles.

I made a chess board that had a gantry with a magnet underneath the board. It could adjust the magnet and move the pieces around. There was an RFID reader which could read tags that we placed in the base of the pieces. 

Right now I am exploring aperiodic stacking patterns of polyhedrons.

See more of Andy's work at http://5cell.net/