123D Design Desktop 1.5: Bringing the Family Together

The latest release of 123D Design for Windows and Mac doesn’t just have some cool new features - it actually helps to bring the whole 123D ecosystem together as a suite of tools for design and fabrication.

So what’s new? Some hints were already on the last version of 123D Design: we introduced the ability to open, insert and do some editing to meshes. You could open projects generated in 123D Catch right from MyProjects inside 123D Design, and also send to 3D print via Meshmixer using a one-click workflow.

Let me now explain what’s new with 1.5 and why it’s really great news for all of you.

First of all, whenever you import a mesh from 123D Catch, it most likely needs healing. In release 1.4, if you wanted to combine or subtract another mesh or solid, the meshes had to be watertight (meaning that there could be no gaps). Another issue had to do with the density of the meshes, which could make the operation slow or make it fail. So if you have a mesh that needs some help, you had to open Meshmixer, import the mesh again, do the necessary fixes and then import back into Design.

With the 1.5 release, we reduced a couple steps. By selecting any object in 123D Design, you will see an option to send to Meshmixer. This will automatically open Meshmixer with only that selection open, ready to edit. Then you can clean, remesh, reduce, sculpt, mash up, create patterns, or whatever else you wanted to do. Afterwards, simply export back into Design and you will then be able to reinsert the piece in the same location!

Another interesting use case is if you want to fabricate your design using 123D Make. You now have two options for this. You can send the entire model from the AppMenu > Send to > 123D Make. This will open 123D Make desktop with the file already imported. But now you can just send a selection by using the context menu. So if you have some extra pieces in the model that you don’t want to delete before exporting, or if you want to use different fabrication options inside 123D Make for different parts of your model (like interlocked slices for some parts but stacked slices for other parts).

The same criteria can be used for 3D printing. You can either prepare the entire file (from AppMenu > 3D Print or Ctrl+P) or just a selection (from the contextual menu) and send it to MeshMixer, which will directly open the 3D print utility. You can then analyze the part, create support for the overhangs, and print right to your desktop printer or order the part from different services (Sculpteo, iMaterialise, Shapeways).

This connection between the apps makes it quite easy to move across different processes. You can think of 123D Design as a path to both additive and subtractive manufacturing solutions (Meshmixer and 123D Make respectively).

Since we can now move selections across different applications, it really made sense to be able to also export a selection as a 123dx file or an STL file. This is also a quite useful new feature in 123D Design desktop.

But that's not all! For a while now, users have been asking for a better solution to create text. We've been working on it and we are now proud to present the new Text feature! First of all, it works offline, like the rest of the app. Secondly, it uses your system fonts! Last but not least, you can also throw the text into a sketch, so you will be able to perform different, independent operations with each closed profile. Not bad, right?

Just one more thing. Although you can use Meshmixer to process models for 3D printing - both at home and with 3rd party printers - you can also order a 3D print directly from 123D Design, provided it’s already saved in MyProjects. We've also added a new service provider - 3D Hubs!

3D Hubs provides the ability to connect with 3D printer owners near where you live or work. So if you want a fast delivery (or maybe even see your printer in person), you can print through 3D Hubs directly through 123D Design.

So check out 123D Design Desktop 1.5 and make sure you also have 123D Make and Meshmixer for a more complete experience! Also, keep sending feedback - most changes are directly from you guys, our rad users!

Sketch and Text with Tinkercad

We are pleased to announce new Shape Generator capabilities available in Tinkercad!

Tinkercad offers some great shapes to help get you started, and with the introduction of Shape Generators (formerly known as ShapeScripts), the power to create is completely expanded.

Now, we don’t expect everyone to be able to create their own Shape Generator using Java Script, although we definitely encourage all of you to take a try. So in order to make Shape Generators more flexible and accessible, we added sketching capabilities using the Autodesk Creative Platform. To learn more about sketching with ACP, check out this link.

So let’s see how we can apply this to a Shape Generator. Check out our in-depth instructions below to become a Shape Generating master, and be sure to share the new shapes you create. Happy sketching!

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What’s new in 123D Design?

123D Design online has just released version 1.5 with a lot of great enhancements, including a smoother feel, new tools, and more options for file formats.

If you have already used 123D Design online before, I’m sure you’ll be really delighted with these improvements. For first time users of 123D Design online, please visit http://apps.123dapp.com/design/ to enjoy this new experience.


Okay, let’s take a look at what’s changed:

1.    New UI

First of all, you will notice a lot of changes in the UI:

  • The new background and grid color are crisper, and you may also notice that we are converging with Tinkercad in regards to visual design. Familiarity both in look and feel and in certain features will also help on a smoother graduation from Tinkercad into 123D Design online for users that are looking for some extra power.
  • Some of the actions that were living in the Attribute Manager (which appears at the bottom when objects are selected) were moved into the new top toolbar. Frequent operations like Move, Rotate, Scale, and Switch Planes are easier to see now.
  • The rest of the actions have been grouped under three drop-down menus. The first one for actions like Mirror, Invert, Ruler. The next one for Finishing Tools (fillet, chamfer, shell), and the last one for actions that manage bodies (group, ungroup, flatten).
  • The file’s name is displayed at the top, making it easier to identify.
  • If you need to switch from perspective mode to orthographic mode, simply click F8. An orthographic projection can help you easily align objects.


2.       New tools.


We released Invert in the UI some time ago, but sometimes you want more than just inverting a model based on its bounding box. That’s where Mirror comes in. Now you can select a plane, make it cruise just like any other object, align to any face, and even move the plane away or into that selected face. Now that’s what we call power!




We have a fantastic system called Inferencing that allows you to move individual objects while referencing other objects for a precise location. But you can’t do this with multiple elements. That’s where the new Align tool comes in. Once a user selects multiple objects, Align tool will show a widget that will help you preview the results.





Ever needed to understand how far an object was from another one? The new ruler tool will come in handy for this. Drag the ruler, cruise with it, snap it to any element of the scene, select the object you need to measure and voila – distance measured.




3.       File formats and more.

We bring you Insert File, which allows you to add a Design Model into your current file - this was previously only possible via the Parts Bin. You can browse My Projects or local files for SMB or SAT files, cruise them on the current model, and keep working. Imagine how easy it will be now to reuse any of your own models, or models from the Gallery.


Import EPS.

We had added SVG import a couple of releases ago, however SVG is not the only vector format out there. EPS is still widely used, so we added an option to import files of this type as well. You’ll be able to use any vector work you have created, or download the massive amount of vector art available in the web.



Support mesh for Export 2D.

Now that meshes are supported in 123D Design online, we also need to extend support for meshes when creating a DWG file. Meshes introduce an issue that is not a problem with most solids, so we cleaned up the linework created from the models, and we also now display hidden lines.




We hope you are as excited about these new updates as we are! Let us know what you think in the comments.