123 Design and 3D Printing.

Now, I have looked into 3D printing before, specifically i.materialise, with the idea that I could maybe get some of my designs made up for eventual sale.

At the time I had just finished my first RL tree and hoped I could have it scanned and then printed. The people I contacted about 3D scanning services would have charged me a few hundred dollars and, with the cost of printing on top of that I figured it wouldn’t be worth the cost. The resultant ‘print’ would still have needed polishing, painting and assembling.

Yesterday, however, I got an email about 123app.

This changed the game a bit as I could, allegedly, capture my 3D piece with photos and then generate a 3D model … which eventually I would be able to print…

Further investigation, however, makes me think that this currently has only a limited use as the resultant file still needs work before it can be used and the results are a little primitive for some uses. I’m not sure if these models can be imported into VW’s but I suspect they could, like the ‘fat woman’ that was shown a few years ago in SL… for those of you with a good memory.

So…there were 4 apps mentioned and the ‘photo one’, “123Catch” was simply the first…

123D Design is available for Mac, and you don’t need a touch screen like you do for 123D Sculpt, so I downloaded the software, free.

I played about with it for 30 minutes before I looked at any videos on YouTube.. (here)..

…and then, as there were a few limitations on the ability to ‘massage’ prims into the right shape I thought I should compare it to Blender and so opened Blender and put a few torii together.

It was then that the main difference showed itself.. namely…

I have no idea of how to export the resultant file to i.materialise with Blender whereas… and this is the game changer, it’s a piece of cake in 123Design (see drop-down menu)…

Now, I have no doubt that if I put my mind to it I will figure out the Blender export methodology, but… 123D Design makes it easy.

So… although it currently looks like this app is mainly for making robots I’m sure I’ll figure out a tree or flower before winter is over.

Just a note on the other apps… 123D Make is not for me…it’s cardboard/sheet materials which currently I can’t see any value in except as a novelty… and, as I mentioned above 123Sculpt is for iPad.  123 Catch is the one for photographs, and this could be interesting as 123 Design has no “sculpted prims” only regular ones, although there is a facility to sketch which I have still to investigate…

So…I can forsee a good number of hours resulting in a poorish quality 3D tree ..(by that I mean the result needs some sandpapering and general ‘finishing’) .. but it’s early days and with a few upgrades this software could become very exciting, and, as important generally ‘available’ without hours spent learning Blender specifics or a mortgage to buy criminally expensive software..

…and for the seriously geeky out there, you can even make your own 3D printer… here.


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