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 http://www.123dapp.com/meshmixer
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 123Dapp.com 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!