Tinkercad finds a new home at Autodesk

The future is looking solid for rejuvenated browser-based modeler

Fans of the 3D modelling app Tinkercad are turning their frowns upside-down with the big announcement that the company is back in action, and we’re certainly getting excited… because Tinkercad has been acquired by Autodesk.

What exactly does this mean? Well, not only is it great to see Tinkercad back in action; but with the might of this industry juggernaut behind it, Tinkercad looks to be locked into a secure future as elements are slated to filter through into the innovative suite of 123D apps and more.

Tinkercad’s revolutionary Gen6 geometry kernel played a significant role in sealing the deal with Autodesk. The strength of this browser-based solid modelling utility has already proven to be a hit within the Ponoko community. One of the notable success stories of the Ponoko API, Tinkercad makes generating SVG outputs that are ready for laser cutting or 3D printing so easy, it is literally child’s play.

With Autocad at the helm, the Tinkercad free account now has unlimited designs and full import/export functionality, making it that much more appealing to new makers and educators.

“..we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts.”

Click through to see the full press release from Tinkercad.   (more…)

Raspberry Pi launches an ‘app store’

Easily find software for your Raspberry Pi or offer your own creations.

The Rasberry Pi foundation has launched the Pi Store, a one stop shop for software, tutorials, games, and useful code for the Raspberry Pi. The idea is to provide an easy way to to find great software and distribute your own, thus making it even easier to get started. At launch, the store had 23 free titles and 1 paid, commercial program, so the venue is definitely favoring free sharing, at last so far.

The Pi Store was developed in partnership with IndieCity and Velocix.

Via engadget

Free app turns Microsoft Kinect into 3D scanner

3D scan using mass market hardware.

FARO, a company specializing in 3D scanning hardware and software, has released SCENECT, a free app that uses the sensor data from a Microsoft Kinect or other, similar device for 3D scanning. The app even incorporates the color data in addition to the geometry of the object to produce full-color 3D models.

See some examples after the jump, and download SCENECT from their site.

New online electronic circuit simulator

Design and test your circuits before buying expensive parts.

PartSim is a new, web-base circuit simulator. It’s entirely free and boasts a clean and easy to understand interface. With this tool you can plan and test the circuit for your next project without wasting money on unnecessary parts.

Create your own jewelry by mapping your favorite places with Meshu

Ponoko-made products from Meshu founders Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang

When Rachel first moved to San Francisco, she was looking for work and knew she wanted a job in data visualization. “I was using Twitter to find potential contacts,” Rachel says. “Sha was gracious enough to meet me for dinner, and the rest is history!”

The two of them hit it off, eventually moving in together in a sunny carriage house in the Mission. And yes, Rachel landed a great job at a design studio. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Last year, Rachel and Sha sat down in a tea house and started brainstorming ideas for a side project: something that could combine their skills in design and data visualization with their love of travel.

The result was Meshu — a web-based app that brings together data visualization and digital fabrication.

Meshu lets you design products like necklaces, earrings, and cufflinks based on the connecting lines of various places.

For example, you could create a design using your Foursquare checkins or the route you took on your epic road trip. And you could have that design turned into a pair of one-of-a-kind lasercut earrings or 3D printed cufflinks.


Uformia MeshUp

Purpose built 3D modelling software for designing 3D models for printing

MeshUp is a purpose built 3D modelling application for 3D printing. At first glance, MeshUp appears to have similar mesh mixing capabilities as Autodesk meshmixer. However it includes much more powerful and 3D printing specific features. Developed by a company called Uformia, they claim – “MeshUp is the first real volume modeler for meshes. We want to make life easier for 3D printing and for creators. At Uformia we envision a very different experience for users, where without effort, a creator can be sure that their models are always ready for 3D printing.” (more…)

Make your own 3D printed cookie cutters with Cookie Caster

Custom cookie cutters!

C is for Cookie, or so a friendly blue monster once sang while tossing great big round cookies into his mouth. But we all know that a chocolate-chip cookie is no less delicious, whatever shape may it may be. With Cookie Caster, a 3D printing initiative from Dreamforge, the rounded cookie is a thing of the past.

Cookie Caster enables you to design, share and print custom cookie cutters. The site hosts a neat little web-based vector app that makes it really easy to create a 3D model of your own cutter that can then be printed and delivered to your door. Designs are gathered in a steadily growing gallery, where they can be shared with others and even purchased by fellow cookie enthusiasts.

For those who have a 3D printer at home, your Cookie Caster model can be downloaded for free as an .stl file to print at your leisure.

A lot of effort has gone in to making the creation of a custom cookie cutter a seamless, versatile and fun process. It only takes a few minutes to whip together your unique shape using the simple drawing tools… as can be seen in the P for Ponoko pictured above.

If you’re feeling a craving coming on, click through to the source and get creative with Cookie Caster!

Cookie Caster

A new hi-res desktop 3D printer announced today.

Formlabs announced today the release of the Form 1, their “prosumer” desktop printer that uses stereolithograpy to produce highly detailed models.

“The Form 1 marries high-end stereolithography (SL) technology and a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.”

A common complaint of current desktop printers like Makerbot, Ultimaker, and RepRap that use FDM extrusion technology, is that the print quality is too low. The Form 1 tackles this head on and the high quality results speak for themselves. Another printer in the “at home” printing market is great news for consumers too. The Form 1 promises to be “An end-to-end package. Printer, software, and post-processing kit that just works. Right out of the box.”

The price is affordable though the regular retail price has not been announced. At $2499 it is comparable to the price of the Replicator 2.

They have a kickstarter campaign to manage pre-sales and generate funds to ramp up production. The machines are selling fast! They have reached their goal of 100K in 2.5 hours.

Formlabs is a Boston-based start-up founded by a trio of MIT grads with impressive backers like Eric Schmidt and Mitch Kapor. They’ve also enlisted Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing consultancy, to assist with the production of the printers and hopefully avoid the kinds of hurdles we’ve seen other successful kickstarter campaigns face.

Nice work guys. I’m excited to see the results!

More on Formlabs and Wired

Autodesk 123D Catch for iPhone

Is that a 3D scanner in your pocket?

Continuing on the theme of new ways to capture volumetric data, Autodesk’s nifty iOS app 123D Catch has been updated to include compatibility with the increasingly ubiquitous iPhone.

This means that across the globe, there are now hundreds of millions of potential 3d scanners just waiting to be booted into action. Of course, it doesn’t quite work like that… but there are sure to be plenty of iPhone users who could make use of an app that stitches photos together, uploads them to the cloud, and then returns with a neat 3D model just right for fabrication.

The new update complements iPad, desktop and webapp versions of 123D Catch that have already gained a healthy following on Autodesk’s 123D Community site. With an enhanced workflow via the web app that includes editing tools to smooth out surfaces, tweak details and prepare the model for 3D printing, this really introduces a new paradigm in DIY digital manufacturing.

Click through for a video overview of 123D Catch for iPhone. (more…)

Software to detect structural defects

Because gravity, isn’t always a 3D modeller’s best friend

When you build small intricate 3D models in a virtual environment for 3D printing in the real world, you quickly learn 3D modelling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re making miniatures with tiny parts. Sometimes these delicate pieces can break. The key is to know which parts you need to scale up, both for structural reasons and for enhancing the contrast of small details. Unless you have a background in engineering this is usually a trial and error process.