Introducing the Autodesk 3D Print Utility

Update, Feb 18, 2014: To provide you with a streamlined 3D printing experience, the Autodesk 3D Print Utility has been integrated into Meshmixer - a powerful yet easy-to-use mixing and sculpting software.  Now, when you click “3D Print…” from any of the 123D apps, your project will be loaded into Meshmixer to prepare, refine and preview your models to print with confidence.  To download the latest version of Meshmixer, please visit

Introducing the Autodesk 3D Print Utility!

What is it?   The utility (A3DP for short) is a tool to help you successfully 3D print your models.  You can use it by choosing the "3D Print" option in the Autodesk 123D apps or you can open it like a stand-alone application from the Windows Start Menu or the OS X Applications folder.  It works with the software that came with your 3D printer such as MakerWare or Objet Studio by sending your model directly to that app – or you can just save the optimized 3D model as an STL.

What does it do?  The utility will make changes to your model to make it easier to print and also help you find the best orientation for a successful print with the least amount of support material.  It does this by applying a series of techniques that we call mesh-optimizations - which I will list below.


Automatic Healing.  The utility analyzes every triangle and vertex for problems and automatically fixes them upon import.  You're told how many repairs were made (if any) in the upper left corner.  If no fixes were made and you click "Save…" or "Export to MakerWare" the resulting STL will be identical to the original.

Hollowing gives the model a 5mm wall thickness.  This lets you later set the infill % rather high, but not have to fill in the entire volume.  If a region of the STL is less than 10.0mm thick, that region won't be hollowed.  We may update this with a user-selectable wall thickness, stay tuned.

Adaptive Thickening or "Thicken thin regions" takes into account your printer type and slightly expands regions of your model that are too small to print on that type of printer.  This is a powerful feature, but we don't recommend you use it for all your prints.  We find it most useful when meshes come in with tiny features like pointy claws, teeth, or hair and need to be expanded and smoothed out before 3D printing.  Basically, if something is too thin to print it will be slightly widened in only those areas.  In the example below notice how the pointiest part of the tip of the pin and the edge of the round disc have been slightly widened but the rest of the model is unchanged.

Support material preview.  With a click of the mouse, you can add a preview of the overhanging areas and the support material that they'd need to successfully print. You can see this in the top image of the Tyrannosaurs, the red is the model, the grey is the support preview.  For this release of A3DP, it is not adding actual support to your model, just previewing it as it would look in Makerware, etc..

Where do you get it?  The easiest way is to download one of the 123D apps like 123D Design, 123D Make, or 123D Catch – the installers for these apps will ask if you'd like to install the Autodesk 3D Print Utility.  Another way is to create something in one of our awesome, free online apps like 123D Design Online or 123D Catch online and choose "3D Print at Home" from the main menu – and yet another way is to open any model in the gallery and choose "3D Print at Home" from the "Fabricate…" menu on the right.

What does it work with?  Your file will open in the utility if you choose "3D Print" from the main menu of the aforementioned apps, or if you press "3D Print at Home" from Autodesk's 123D gallery or the 123D online apps.

What are you waiting for?  If you have a 3D printer or you just want to play around with 3D models go ahead and download it now!

Introducing 123D for the Tinkercad community

Autodesk is pleased to welcome Tinkercad to our family of fun, powerful and easy-to-use tools! We’d also like to extend that welcome to you, the community of users that has made Tinkercad great. For those of you who aren't familiar with 123D or are here for the first time, check out the brief video tour below, and then read on for an introduction to the rest of the 123D family, and some of the things you can do with them. You'll find tools that help you get 3D models of real world objects into Tinkercad, help to make your Tinkercad models into physical objects, and design software to take your designs to the next level.

To get the most out of 123D, you should sign up for an Autodesk account. A free account will let you store projects in our online gallery, and download files from our content library and from other users. A premium membership will increase your access to premium content, give you access to an Instructables Pro membership, discounts on the purchase of a Makerbot, and many other benefits.


123D Catch turns a series of photographs into a detailed 3D model of an object.  You can take pictures with the iPhone and iPad versions, or use a digital camera with any modern internet browser that works with Tinkercad. We also have a standalone desktop version for Windows. Tools available in the desktop or online versions of 123D Catch help you clean up your scans, select the most important parts, and export a file suitable for 3D printing or CNC.

When you export a file for 3D printing from 123D Catch, Tinkercad can import these files (.STL or .OBJ) directly, and manipulate them like other solids. You can scale them, move them, and combine them with other solids. (In fact, Tinkercad does a great job of preparing 123D Catch files for printing).

123D Design is a 3D design program, much like Tinkercad, but with additional features that can help take your designs to the next level. Features like fillets (rounded edges), chamfers (angled edges), Smart Text and the ability to “tweak” edges to make complex geometries give you the power and flexibility to design just about anything you can imagine – and make it look sleek and professional! Tinkercad users should feel right at home with the interface, too.

123D Design can tap into an extensive library of premium models, hosted on the 123D Gallery website. You can also store your own creations on the 123D website, and share them amongst the various editions of 123D Design. 123D Design is available on the iPad, in any browser that supports Tinkercad, as well as a more powerful standalone desktop version for both Mac and Windows. You can export files from Tinkercad as you would for 3D printing, and import them into 123D Design, where you can scale them, move them, and combine them with other solids. You can’t currently edit Tinkercad files in 123D Design, but we’re working on it.

123D Make is a powerful program that takes a 3D model and prepares it for fabrication using many different techniques. For example, you can slice your model into layers, cut these layers out of cardboard using a laser cutter, and assemble into really big constructions.

You can also export files from Tinkercad as you would for 3D printing (STL format) and import them into 123D Make. They work great! 123D Make is available as a full-featured desktop app, and with the most popular functions as a browser based web app, compatible with any browser that supports Tinkercad.

The 123D Gallery acts as the connecting hub between the various apps, as a community for sharing with other users, and as a library for great content. In the near future, we will be developing additional tools for working on your 3D projects that will be hosted here.

All of the 123D apps support saving and loading files from the 123D website, giving you the convenience of being able to access all your projects from any of the platforms: mobile, web and desktop. You can browse and remix projects from other users, and also choose from the library of premium 3D models prepared by Autodesk. It’s also a great place to comment on projects by other users, and share models that you are proud of. Make sure to sign up for membership to make the most of these online features.

Getting things made
The 123D family of programs supports many different ways of turning your digital creations into physical objects. You can choose from carving out of wood (CNC Utility), 3D printing (Autodesk 3D Print Utility) or laser cut slices of cardboard or wood (123D Make). If you don’t have access to workshop tools yourself, you can request services from our many fabrication partners – either via the 123D website or from within the apps themselves.

We hope you find this introduction to the world of 123D interesting, and look forward to seeing what we can make together with these tools! Sign up for a 123D account now!

123D Catch at Bay Area Maker Faire

We've been getting your emails about the models you received at this year's Bay Area Maker Faire.  Many of your models failed because the booth wasn't calibrated correctly - resulting in lots of bad Catches.

We're really sorry.

I know the line was long, and you were looking forward to getting your model.  After a lengthy career of being shipped and banged around, the mobile Catch booth didn't perform correctly and, unfortunately, we disappointed a lot of new users.

On the bright side, now I know what I would look like as the bad Terminator from T2.

If you've created your 123D account, you could also go to your model's edit page and download the photoset.  Some people have had success reprocessing the photos int the PC version by manually stitching an image or two. Here is a video on how to manually stitch in the PC version of 123D Catch.

Tinkercad is back!

Over the weekend at Maker Faire, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass announced the Autodesk acquisition of Tinkercad!  When I first heard they were shutting down, I know I wasn't the only one bummed out.  Kai and Co. did such a great job, that Autodesk couldn't just let it go away, so Voila. As of 1pm on Saturday, Tinkercad is back online and you can create new accounts that are even more robust than before. Free accounts will now have access to store unlimited numbers of models, and to import 3D meshes in STL format and 2D files in SVG format for editing within Tinkercad. Free accounts will even have access to shape-scripting tools for generating 3D models parametrically - an option previously available only to paid accounts.

123D Design for iOS update out now!

Check your app store for updates on 123D Design for iPad - we addressed some of your requests and added features! What's new: * Color! Set colors for your design. Defined colors will appear when the model is opened in 123D Design web and desktop tools. * Dimensions. Tap on an object to display its measurements. *Create image snapshots of your design that you can email, share, or save to your image library. * Contextual menus appear with a long press on parts or on the canvas. * Insert parts by dragging and dropping to the canvas, or double tap a part to drop it at the origin. * Lock or unlock objects in the workspace. * UI improvements and bug fixes.

New 123D iPad app for creating 3D Creatures!!

We’re excited to announce the launch of Autodesk 123D Creature, a new app on iPad specifically designed for creating 3D creatures and characters! Watch the launch video to see what 123D Creature is all about.


Making original characters with Autodesk 123D Creature starts with a simple skeleton creator where you lay out the basic anatomy of your creature. Then thicken, pose, detail, and paint your model using Multi-Touch gestures including sculpting and image paint tools - kind of like 123D Sculpt.

You can order a full color 3D print of your creature from Sculpteo directly from inside the app, or you can export an OBJ including textures via email or iTunes. You can also bring your creature into the Render room where you can adjust the lights, background, and filter effects to generate amazing scenes and images.

And the app is connected to your 123D account, so you can save your creatures to the cloud, and share them with the community.  We’re looking forward to seeing what people create, there are already some amazing creatures in the 123D Gallery from our beta testers.

This is our first single-purpose 123D app, so if you’ve try it out, let us know what you think. Also, 123D Creature is purpose-built for creating creatures, if there’s something there you think would be great to see in other apps, let us know at

123D Creature is now available on the App Store at a special price of $1.99 for a limited time!

123D Design 1.1 Update now available!

What’s new in 123D Design 1.1?  Many of you have asked for some specific features with a new release of 123D Design.  We heard you and have integrated many of them in this release!  Let’s see some of these features:

Export STL Files

You now have the option to directly export an STL file from within 123D Design, without having to go back to to download it.

Now you can export right from the drop-down menu.


123D Design 1.0 only allowed inserting parts through the Parts Bin. Now you can not only insert  parts but also merge complete models by using the Insert function. We also made it so that you can insert from your local drive, not just files stored in the cloud!

Insert objects from a local drive!

Sketching Enhancements

123D Design 1.1 introduces several new features that many of you requested in the last month. You can now Trim and Extend objects while you sketch. We have also introduced Arc, and also added an option for doing Fillet on two different entities within the sketch.

We've also enhanced dimensioning of sketches, and introduced the ability to mirror a sketch.  We think these new tools will increase the power of sketching with your design.

More sketching functions!


If you ever wondered how to make sure what’s the distance between two elements, or an angle within a sketch or different edges in your model, now there’s a simple solution.

123D Design 1.1 introduces the Dimension tool. It allows you to select two elements (can be bodies, faces, edges, lines) and display the resulting dimensions. 

New dimensioning and measurement capabilities!

Send to CNC Utility

123D Design 1.0 introduced options for directly sending the model to 123D Make, and also allowed you order a 3D print based on your current model. Now we have introduced an option to send the model to a CNC utility, which will lead you through all the steps for preparing your model for fabrication with a CNC device.

Send your model to your CNC device!