Entries in model (120)
by General Fabb
Peter from RepRapCentral advises us of a very cool 3D print recently done on one of their MakerBot Replicators: a Ford Engine Block.
No, you can't actually run this engine, but printed in blue translucent PLA it looks pretty good. Check out the high-precision detail of this print in the close view above.
Relatively large and complex items such as this engine block were challenging to print years ago on home equipment. Nowadays the machinery available to anyone can produce some amazing results.
Via RepRap Central
It started as a simple free repository for patterns for personal making and then exploded into an overwhelming cacophony of 3D models. Thingiverse provides free content for 3D printing not only on MakerBot's own line of 3D printers, but for any printer.
That changes significantly as MakerBot CEO announced Thingiverse now includes programming APIs that will permit the creation of apps to automatically generate custom 3D models from Thingiverse content. Here's what they say:
- Create apps to browse, mash up, and contribute to our library of more than 30,000 Things.
- Develop the next great tool for our community of designers, engineers, makers, and all-around geniuses.
MakerBot is following the lead of several others in the 3DP space who have been pioneering generative custom models. From what we hear, this approach is far more popular with consumers than simply downloading simple static models.
Nevertheless, this capability suggests that Thingiverse will soon bloom with all manner of crazy model generators, capable of automatically cooking up who knows what.
It should be a lot of fun!
Over the past few months we've noticed that 3D Systems has relentlessly built features in Cubify to provide generative models to print on their (and other's) personal 3D printers. You can quickly get a customized 3D model of rings, pictures, bracelets, space aliens, earrings, crowns and probably a few more things after we've written this post.
Did you ever wonder how they were able to develop these online model generators so quickly? They've got a system under the covers that helps create them.
And now you can use it too.
According to 3D Systems' Senior Director Consumer Solutions, Sarah Stocker, they've announced "Cubify AppCreate", an online service that lets you put together your own 3D model generator! The system operates much like the old Mr. Potato Head game, where there's a "base element" and various "adornments" you can add to finalize a design.
AppCreate lets you upload your own base and adornments, then brand and label the generator.
Here's the best part: the generator will (once approved), appear among the other generators on Cubify and could be used by anyone. Should someone pay Cubify for a print created by your generator, you'll receive a royalty. At this time Cubify will support only print requests through AppCreate, not 3D model downloads.
Creation of your "app" is straightforward, assuming you've already created the individual 3D elements you'll be using in the app. Just name your app, set basic dimensional parameters and happily upload tons of 3D parts. You can name the categories of parts and include icons for each. When you're done, submit your app for approval by the Cubify mandarins and then you can publish it.
We foresee many innovative apps appearing quickly, as this process seems very easy to use. The burden of effort clearly shifts to the design of the generator; Cubify worries about the rest.
Via Cubify AppCreate
Architects have long used 3D printing as a means to better visualize their design ideas. By 3D printing a building you can "see" it much better than through a 2D screen and thus gain insight you'd otherwise miss.
But the problem is that the 3D model is, well, static. It just sits there. It may even be mono-colored. Dull. How can you visualize any dynamic activity around the design? How will the sun fall on the structure during various times of the year, for example?
Now a new approach has been developed by Inition, according to a detailed report on Dezeen. The 3D company developed a custom iPad application that uses the camera to image an existing printed 3D model and overlay that with various information in an augmented reality way.
It's a little hard to explain in words, so we strongly recommend you watch their video, showing, for example, moving traffic around a building, growing trees, projected wind flows, highlighted building sections and more. There's much more detail in the Dezeen article, too.
There's an infinite amount of information that could be displayed in this manner. While they didn't show it, one could imagine showing intra-building pedestrian flows, evacuation simulations, snow drift projections, flooding, seasonal sunlight angles, effects of different shrubberies, and so on.
We think this is an incredible development that may spawn an opportunity for new 3D businesses.
While shopping for toys at the famous FAO Schwarz in New York City, we happened to run across a stray 3D print: artist Joshua Harker's Crania Anatomica Filigre, recently featured on Kickstarter.
What was this item doing at FAO Schwarz? We didn't see a price tag on the delicate skull, as it laid alongside other skulls in the "sciency" department. It may or may not have been for sale.
But it, a unique 3D printed object, was on display for everyone to see.
SketchUp is a free 3D modeling tool that is quite often the very first exposure to 3D modeling for many people. But is it appropriate for producing 3D models for printing?
First off, we must say that SketchUp was not designed with 3D printing in mind; instead it was, like many 3D modeling tools, designed to produce visual 3D representations. While this output appears to your eye to be 3D, it really isn't and this shows when you try to 3D print. For example, 2D surfaces are often used in SketchUp. These have a thickness of, well, zero! They cannot be printed. That's one of several issues encountered when using SketchUp for 3D printing.
We recently encountered a situation where someone wished to 3D print a SketchUp model they'd developed. The model *looked* ok, but in fact was completely unprintable and had to be totally re-engineered in a "real" 3D modeling tool.
That all said, it is possible to use SketchUp to produce printable 3D models - if you carefully follow some rules when you develop your model. But what are the rules?
Shapeways points out a terrific post on MasterSketchUp by Marcus Ritland that explains what you need to do. Some of these apply to many 3D modeling programs, in case you're not using SketchUp. Among the rules are:
- Make it solid
- Ensure walls have thickness
- Scale up to permit detailed features
- Smooth curves
- Build as components
- Use plugins to assist export and inspection
- Consider material constraints
- Reduce the solid size to conserve material
But you'd better read all the details at the link below.
Software giant AutoDesk took a big plunge into the 3D consumer space by releasing 123D Design, a very user-friendly 3D modeling tool. The software is available for iPad, Mac or PC and also directly on the web if you don't have any of those platforms.
We took 123D Design for a spin and found that indeed it is extremely friendly. Menus and controls are simplified, yet still seem to provide more than sufficient power for the typical consumer. No, this won't replace your SolidWorks or other commercial tools by a long shot, but for some people this may be just what they need. It may even be suitable as an introduction to 3D modeling for those who have never attempted it.
There is a but, and a big one. The tool does not seem to have a way to export STL. You may save your design in 123D format either on your device or in the cloud. If you want to 3D print your design you are only permitted to choose one of several 3D print services: Shapeways, i.Materialise or Sculpteo. If you wish to use those services, terrific. But if you have your own 3D printer or want to use any other service, 123D Design is not for you.
3D print service Sculpteo adds to the ever-increasing set of 3D model-generating apps by creating a custom iPhone design service.
It's similar to most other apps: a basic model is display and limited customization capability is provided. Sculpteo first requires you to download their 3DPcase iPhone app. Within the app you're presented with several attractive case "styles", each of which offer some form of customization. Don't fear - the customization is through color selection, text input or easy to use slider bars.
Once you're finished you can simply hit the "Buy" button, pay your USD$14.90 and Sculpteo will produce your custom case and ship it directly to you.