November 14, 2012
In my previous blog, I discussed the 2 basic genres of 3D CAD files and their uses in diverse applications. These 2 file types are (in concept) the organic model and the engineered model, aka the mesh model and the solip part. The following is a compilation of some helpful resources to help get you started creating 3D printable CAD models.
The sky is the limit for the cost of professional grade CAD software. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to point out how the “newbie” can get started designing 3d printable CAD models right from their home desktop, or even their smart phone or tablet device.
Affordable or free CAD software is available to anyone who wants to start creating 3D printable models.
In my professional business, I have chosen Autodesk software as the main platform for my design needs. In the form of Autodesk’s Product Design Suite: Ultimate Edition, I have access to many different 3D modeling programs to assist in various stages of product development. This is a professional solution that comes with a professional price. However, this is not to say that Autodesk does not provide a low cost, or even a no cost solution for the non-professional user. Anyone can download 30 day trials of this software to start designing. Better yet, if you are a student with a .edu email address, you can use this software for an extended amount of time to learn how to use the many features made available by this particular software package. This software is rather technical in nature and has a greater learning curve in comparison to other options. Check out autodesk.com for more information on free software trials and student licensing.
If you prefer a less technical approach to design 3D printable CAD models, then there are options for that as well. Sketch-Up is available for free as a solid entry level option to anyone who wants to learn basic 3D modeling concepts. This software requires a laptop or a desktop computer and runs on Mac OS as well as Windows. Sketch-up provides users with basic design tools and an intuitive interface for users to create 3D printable CAD models. There is an option to purchase an upgraded version of the software that allows access to more powerful toolsets within the program. For more information on about Google Sketch-up visit www.sketchup.com
“Forget all that! I spent all day at a computer and I just want to relax and create my 3D printable designs on the couch!”
I couldn’t sympathize with you more. Fortunately for us tired and weary thinkers Autodesk has released several App’s available for download directly to your mobile device. In the form of 123D, Autodesk has enabled anyone equipped with a mobile device to start making 3D models of their concepts in just minutes. I must to tip my hat in this case. I think it is great whenever user friendly and effective design software is made readily available. I have used these Apps and I am impressed with the ability and function that the Apps provide. 123D Apps are intuitive and effective. It really is a simple as molding a lump of clay with your fingertips. Once you have finished your design, send it to Finnovation Product Development and we will 3D print your design for you!