PotteryPrint: the new 3D printing iPad app for kids

With the right technology, 3D printing is child’s play.

PotteryPrint is a truly exciting new iPad app that lets children use a virtual pottery wheel to create completely unique works of art ready for 3d printing.

The PotteryPrint team is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter to take their prototype to deployment.

They’ve got 20 days and $10,000 to go. You can support the project for as little as $1, and they’ve got some great pledge rewards including a home-baked dozen of your favorite cookies!

I talked to Brian, Cameron and Shlok from PotteryPrint to find out more about this app, their inspiration behind the project, and their thoughts on the intersection of technology and childhood education.

First up, can a kid really use a 3D modeling app?
Kids can do amazing things if given the right tools, but until now the majority of 3D design software has been created using traditional CAD-based software which is often complex and takes some training to use effectively.

The amazing thing about tablets is that the touchscreen interface just clicks with kids. I (Cameron) have a two year old and four year old — both can easily navigate the family iPad: pointing at something comes far more naturally to children than using a mouse. The combination of touchscreen and the malleability of clay makes PotteryPrint immediately accessible to kids. It calls on something natural, something primitive. Your hands, making something.


Winner of the Ponoko & Tinkercad design contest creates the Temple of Boom!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Congratulations to Rob McCardle for winning our Tinkercad design contest!

We chose the winner randomly, but how cool is his Temple of Boom? Rob, your prize pack of nine 3D printed material samples from Ponoko is on its way!

If you missed out on the design contest, don’t miss out on giving Tinkercad a try. It’s one of the simplest 3D design tools ever. It lets you create 3D models with ease, rotate your design in 3D, and get your model 3D printed — all within your browser.

Try out Tinkercad yourself. Jump over to the Personal Factory App Gateway and scroll down to Tinkercad.

A big thanks to everyone who tweeted their Tinkercad designs! More entries pictured below (click the image to make it bigger):

Real-time Kinect 3D scanning with ReconstructMe

Easy, practical 3D scanning for hobbyists

ReconstruceMe capture

ReconstructMe is a software tool for Windows that uses the Microsoft Kinect (or Asus Xtion PRO LIVE) to capture 3D models in real-time. The software given to testers originally just displayed device info, and reconstructed models from existing data, but now it has the all of the basic features from beginning to end.

Even though it doesn’t have a GUI yet, ReconstructMe is very easy to use, and produces an STL file that is almost immediately ready to print. When scanning myself, I only had to execute the basic repair script in netfabb Studio (to close holes in the mesh), and then crop out the portions that I didn’t want to print.

I’ve put together this video of the process, from capture to cleanup to print: (more…)

Solid modeling with the new ImplicitCAD

Open source modeling tool written in Haskell, or, “Clobbering programming problems with gigantic mathematical hammers”

ImplicitCAD is a new, open source, programmatic modeling tool that is similar to projects like OpenSCAD and OpenJsCAD. The author, Christopher Olah, first told me about it at a party last year and now it’s ready for people to start using it!

I asked Chris some questions about his efforts: (more…)

Free 3D Software from DAZ

Digital Art Zone now offering free downloads

It can be pretty costly to set yourself up with 3d modelling software, particularly when you’re after the good stuff.

So you can imagine the buzz that’s followed DAZ 3D’s recent release of three of their major titles as free downloads for all to enjoy.

Modelling human figures? DAZ Studio Pro will sort you out.
Landscapes and environmental animations? Bryce 7 Pro has it covered.
And the one that has us talking here at Ponoko… 3D models both for rendering/animation and ready to export as .stl files? Hexagon does this and more.

To purchase this software suite from the Digital Art Zone would once have left you on the nasty side of $800, but for a limited time full version downloads are completely free.

Now all that’s left is to fire up your imagination…

Digital Art Zone

Design something w. the new Tinkercad to win a pack of 3D printed material samples from Ponoko!

fun + easy CAD / fun + easy contest

Did ya hear that Tinkercad released the newest version of their awesome, easy, browser based CAD tool? And guess what; you can send your Tinkercad design directly to Ponoko to have it 3D printed!

Tinkercad is super fun, easy to use, and you can make all kinds of stuff with just 3 simple design tools. We really want you to try it out, so we’re having a little contest to give away a pack of nine 3D printed material samples!

How to enter

1. Go to the App Gateway and find the Tinkercad app.
2. Design something with Tinkercad.
3. Tweet a pic of your design to @Ponoko and @Tinkercad with the hashtag #3Dprinting.


One pack of 3D printing material samples from Ponoko. Your pack will contain a sample of each of the following materials: Durable Plastic, Rainbow Plastic, Superfine Plastic – White, Stainless Steel, Gold Plated, Durable Gloss – Black, Durable Gloss – Ivory, Durable Fine Plastic, and Glazed Ceramic. That’s 9 material samples valued at $90 when bought individually!

Deadline & Restrictions

Contest runs through the month of February and ends February 29, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random on March 1, 2012. You may enter as many times as you like, but each Tinkercad design you tweet must be original. Good luck!

Get Started w. Your Tinkercad Design

Check out this three and half minute tutorial on using Tinkercad. Then hop over to the App Gateway, click on Tinkercad, design something rad, and tweet to win!

Ponoko announces Tinkercad 3D design app in the Personal Factory App Gateway

plus a chance to win a sample pack of 3D printing materials!

Tinkercad has just released the latest version of their browser based CAD and 3D modeling application, and this version allows users to send their designs to Ponoko’s 3D printing services directly through the app.

Tinkercad’s got a new look, a new logo, and an improved user interface designed to get things done fast and to be quick to learn. With only three basic tools you can create a wide range of useful things. And best of all, you can send your designs to be 3D printed — all within your browser.

“We’re seeing a whole new range of CAD products being developed that make designing in 3D easier than ever,” says Ponoko CEO David ten Have. “Integrating those products directly with fabrication services means it’s also easier than ever to turn those designs into final products.”

Ten Have is very excited to see the addition of Tinkercad to Ponoko’s directory of product creation apps — the Personal Factory App Gateway.


Design custom gears with Gear Template Generator app

Quickly and easily make templates for custom gear systems.

Woodgears offers a handy app that automatically makes templates for gears that will properly mesh based on the size desired, number of teeth, etc. It is intended for wooden gears, but I suspect it will work for other materials as well. The catch is that the free online app only exports prints, not laser-cuttable files. For those so inclined, there are good instructions for making wooden gears using non-digital fabrication.

They also offer a more sophisticated version for $26 with a lot more features that will export DXF and Sketchup files (PC only).

OpenVSP: parametric aircraft modelling tool

NASA embraces the open-source philosophy

NASA kicked off this year by greatly expanding their commitment to open source, launching their new site code.nasa.gov:

Ultimately, our goal is to create a highly visible community hub that will imbue open concepts into the formulation stages of new hardware and software projects, and help existing projects transition to open modes of development and operation

Some of the projects they’ve opened up are way over my head, but the one that caught my eye is OpenVSP:

OpenVSP is a parametric aircraft geometry tool. OpenVSP allows the user to create a 3D model of an aircraft defined by common engineering parameters. This model can be processed into formats suitable for engineering analysis.

How cool is that? Maybe you don’t have access to an aerospace facility, but with this tool you can invent your own far-out aircraft designs and print out the models in 3D from your Personal Factory.

[Someone should make an app for that…]

A 3D printer built with MakerSlide

A simple, stable, and scalable 3D printer proposal.

Barton Dring (bdring) of Buildlog.Net fame recently designed a 3D printer based on the multifunctional MakerSlide beams. MakerSlide, another of bdring’s projects, was designed to provide a standardized linear bearing for CNC digital fabrication equipment. It launched on KickStarter last year with 5x the requested funding.

This new design takes advantage of the simplicity and scalability of MakerSlide. The result is a 3D printer that is easy to fabricate, easy to assemble, easily scalable for a larger build area, and is extremely stable. Oh, and the wires are hidden inside the hollow space in the MakerSlide. Overall, it looks like a promising project.

Bdring is considering offering this as a kit if there is enough interest, so if you’re interested, be sure to tell him. If you want to work on it yourself, the design files are available on Thingiverse.

More images after the jump.