To date one of the greatest barriers to a wider uptake of 3D printing has been the availability of design tools that do not require a degree. In the last 18 months or so there have been some significant developments in this area, not least from Autodesk with it 123D range of tools, the first of which was launched last year. Now the company has gone one step further to break the 3D design barrier down for a much wider audience.
Autodesk has just introduced 123D Design — a FREE 3D modelling app for iPads, Macs or PCs. The app can also be used via a browser. Essentially this new app provides users with the opportunity to design in 3D on a familiar interface, using natural interactions for creation and editing of digital models. This release follows the introduction of other 123D appls launched this year, namely Sculpt, Make and Catch.
According to Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products at Autodesk, the 123D Design app means that, “For the first time ever, users can create sophisticated, precise 3D models of real objects on their iPad, Mac, PC or via their web browser. People said this couldn’t be done on iPad, and we’re happy to prove them wrong. We believe that everyone is creative, and we intend to put easy to use design software in the hands of millions of people so they can create real objects, have fun doing it and then fabricate the things they want and need, just the way they want them.”
The major claim that Autodesk makes with this release is that it wholly eliminates the need to learn the complex intricacies of 3D CAD software because it is taking complexity out of the equation. Complex software has generally been a prerequisite for 3D printing applications but this has slowly been chipped away in the last year or two. Autodesk’s web page dedicated to the new app is unequivocal in its aim — “Everybody design now.”
Perhaps realizing how daunting it still may seem to the man/woman on the street, Autodesk has made a series of “how-to” videos available for new users together with a series of prepackaged kits containing a collection of pre-made parts that Autodesk’s designers think you might enjoy using to customize a design in the beginning.
Are you tempted to get designing now?