From the 123D Gallery: Pig Monster from Amnesia by Amanda Jackson

When we heard about the Steam release of the horror game mashup, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, something seemed familiar...  Then we remembered this great model by 123D Creature user Amanda Jackson back in March.   

Have you played it yet??


Ever wonder who makes action figures?

Really sweet video about the life of a production action-figure toy.

The Secret Story of TOYS from Anthony Ladesich on Vimeo.

Before your favorite action figures land on the shelves of Walmart and Toys R Us, they’ve already lived a full life. Prior to the mass manufacturing, packaging and shipping, many toys are born in a little studio in the middle of the country. It’s there that the Hulks and Terminators acquire the bulging veins and contoured muscles that give them their life-like quality.

In the mini-doc The Secret Story of Toys, filmmaker Anthony Ladesich follows three artists from Kansas City toy prototyping shop True Cast Studio as they go through the intricate process of carving, sculpting, and casting toys.

The craftsmanship that goes into creating each toy is astonishing.  “Before I ever got into this, I remember looking at toys and just kind of figuring, well a computer must do that,” Adam Smith, owner of True Cast, tells Ladesich. “I didn’t get that actually people just sat there and sculpted all of this stuff.” Smith and his small team (which includes his sister and her husband) are now those people.

 Looking at some of the models that are being created with 123D Creature, you have to wonder if some people missed their true calling.  


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 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: MCEdit is currently in version 0.1.7 (you can find it here:

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

You can also watch this video that shows the whole process. Enjoy!

Bringing the museum home with you (legally) with 123D Catch

 Guardian Lion courtesy of Asian Art Museum SF

As product manager of 123D Catch, I’m always curious how this powerful little app is being used. Lately, I’ve seen a boom in use of 123D Catch at museums. It is a great app to help truly study a piece in a collection and understand a master’s intention. Putting in the extra credit to heal and 3D print a captured piece can be especially rewarding in this regard.

See a few examples here of taking the museum home with you by way of this handy iPhone/iPad app.

Here is a piece on Gizmodo about a recent 3D Printing Camp where kids are using the 123D Catch iPhone/iPad app to scan dinosaur bones at the American Museum of Natural History in NY:

Another from Techcrunch of an individual using Google Glass to snap photos at Walters Art Museum to capture a sculpture. Photos can then be uploaded via the web app or Windows app:

Of course each museum will have its limitations on what you can capture in 3D and what your intentions are with the captured piece from their collection or a temporary installation. Best to know their take on it before you recreate these masterpieces.

So, if you want to try it out, I’ve created three videos to show how you might do this yourself. Go from shooting photographs of your favorite piece in a collection to 3D printing it with a 3D printing service easily. Many thanks to the Asian Art Museum SF for lending their pieces to capture!

Its as easy as 1…2…3D print!

Step 1: Use the iPhone or iPad app to shoot photographs sequentially around your subject. Here, I use my SLR camera and upload them using the web app:

Step 2: Use the editing and healing capabilities of the 123D Catch web app to clean up and prepare your capture for 3D printing.


Step 3: 3D print your capture using a 3D printing service directly from within the 123D Catch web app!! You can choose from iMaterialise, Shapeways, or Sculpteo, and each has an interesting assortment of material options, including plastics, metals, and ceramic to name a few.


Photo Diary: Kansas City Maker Faire 2013 – Day Two

We wrapped up a great weekend in Kansas City on Sunday.  There were a lot of great projects and people and it's interesting to see the regional differences at the Maker Faires across the country.  At the Bay Area Maker Faire, there's no shortage of electric-vehicle conversions. It was really nice to see the classic car and low-riders show up and represent! The Union Station was a great venue for the event. The old train station has been beautifully kept and they've integrated a planetarium, science museum and giant theater into the building. If you were feeling bold, you could ride a weighted bicycle on a tightrope across the museum, step inside a helicopter or slide through a model sewer system. (All of which were much safer and cooler than they may sound.) Big thanks to the MF staff for having us out.  See you at the next one!

Photo Diary: Kansas City Maker Faire 2013 – Hammerspace

We were setting up the booth today at KC Maker Faire and realized that we didn't bring enough PLA for our MakerBot!  So we decided to reach out to a local hackerspace to see if we could snag some.  We heard good things about the space and were impressed when we got there.  It's got a full wood shop, some milling equipment, a giant laser and it seems like every member has their own 3D printer!

Hammerspace member Paul Leonard and his 3D printed gear-for-gear enlargement of a post-war Japanese bear toy.

If you're in town for MFKC or haven't been there yet, stop by and say hi to the founder, Dave.  (And ask him about his grandfather's Wright brother story.)  

ShopBot Tools’ Handibot Kickstarter now online

At this year's Bay Area Maker Faire, we got to preview ShopBot Tools' newest lil box of awesome - the Handibot - and today they launched their Kickstarter campaign to raise $125k for full-scale production.

It's pretty great. Imagine a tiny little 3-axis CNC router that you can plug into a standard 110V outlet and buzz out perfectly detailed scrollwork.  THEN just stick it back in your toolbox..!

We love it for its ingenuity, but it's also super-simple to use with 123D apps' CNC utility.  We're working directly with ShopBot to build simple integrations into their tools, and I'm looking forward to carving something up with one of these little guys.

The Handibot takes a 1/8" or 1/4" shank bit and has a 6"x8"x4" x/y/z bed size.  But because of its portability, you could enlarge that indefinitely with some sort of registration markings.

We love the folks at ShopBot and wish them luck in their campaign.  We may even need to get one for the new office. Stay tuned to the blog and Facebook, we're headed to Maker Faire Kansas City this weekend and we'll get some more updates from the North-Carolinians.

As of this posting, they've raised over $49k.

M.C. Langer – Pew! Pew!

You may remember our last post on Mario Caicedo Langer - a recent Instructables' Artist-in-Residence.  Well, someone gave him the key to our new 3D print lab and he's coming up with some pretty awesome models using 123D Design and an Objet 3D printer.

Mario's latest is a "Missile Launcher Tank", based on an old G.I. Joe vehicle.  It's pretty great (it actually shoots missiles!), but what I really took away from the Instructable is the fact that even a complete novice to 3D technology can imagine, design and ultimately, create a fully-functioning "thing" with just a little guidance.  Yes, the printers are expensive and not everyone has access to one, but (and I'm showing my age) I remember when VCRs received the same criticism.

At the very least, I completely admire Mario's dedication to 'play'.  In person, he's crazy-excited and enthusiastic about most things, and even more so at the potential of making NEW things. That's hugely refreshing in a space that sometimes lets the limitations of a new technology overshadow its potential.  Keep it up, Mario!

Looking through his past Instructables; best line ever: "And sometimes in some emergencies, we think 'It would be good if someone had a gun like Batman's'."

Read the tank's full Instructable here.

New Digs

As of Monday, June 24, the Autodesk 123D team and Instructables will be co-habitating.  Sharing sinks, sergers and soldering irons will be interesting, but the possibilities for shenanigans is boundless. We here have been insanely blessed with crazy-awesome new facility where a full scale 3D print shop, machine shop, and all around rad workspace is literally 50 feet from our desks. Stay tuned for our family updates, for now, here's some pix before anyone dirties up the place. Yes, the conference table swings.  Yes, that's a 5-axis mill. And yes, that's an MCOR 3D paper printer.  *drool*  

From the 123D Gallery: Phox Kun

Today just felt like "cute little dinosaur" day, so here's some of Phox Kun's work.  Enjoy!