If your burning desire to print complex shapes has been constantly subdued by the difficulty of intricate 3D modeling, Project Shapeshifter is the tool for you. Currently in beta, Shapeshifter is Autodesk’s free application dedicated to simplifying complex models.
Upon opening the app for the first time, fellow Autodesk intern Arnab Mukherjee created not one — but four — Shapeshifter-crafted sculptures in one afternoon. The results were impressive:
To make this sculpture, Arnab started with one of the pre-loaded templates (users can choose from vase, bowl, ring, bracelet, knot and more) and tinkered with the various slider controls until he was satisfied with the shape.
The Shapeshifter interface exists entirely within your browser, making it easy to use. Despite its simple presentation, there are many layers of customization that allow the user to fully shape an imagined object.
Sliders offer complete control over each aspect of the model, from more basic characteristics like thickness, color and spin profile to advance characteristics like wave frequency and amplitude. Pre-loaded patterns fill the bottom tray, allowing users to change the pattern throughout the modeling process.
Once the sliders have been adjusted to create the desired shape, you simply export for 3D printing and there it is: a unique, beautifully-intricate Shapeshifter sculpture.
You can experiment with the beta platform by making your own Shapeshifter object using the various controls. Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, hit the randomize option in the top menu and print your result.