Collaborative, browser-based modelling with Sunglass

Create and share together


Sunglass is a web-based 3D modelling platform that emphasizes collaboration and extendability. On its own, it can be used for basic scaling/stretching, scene creation, and sharing.

The big feature is that users will be able to subscribe to independently-developed apps that integrate with the platform. So if you need advanced functions that aren’t part of the base tool, the Sunglass app store will eventually have a number of options available to choose from.

Sunglass is still in development however, and my account was not able to access the app store. (Users are currently being surveyed as to which features they would most like to see.) But, I did take a quick look at the UI and sharing options.

Here’s how Sunglass looks when you start: (more…)

OmNomNom Creator turns 2D images into 3D models

Images converted into all sorts of fun 3D projects

OmNomNom Creator image by jetty

OmNomNom Creator is a new app for the Mac that converts 2D images into a series of different projects like medallions, surface maps, and cookie cutters.

After an image and project type are selected, the app outputs a data file and script for OpenSCAD that can then export an STL file for 3D printing. The scale and position of the object are automatically set with sane values for hobbyist printers, too.

I really like the idea of making printable surface maps from faces, so I put a random portrait of Clint Eastwood through OmNomNom and got this: (more…)

3DTin gets a speed boost

Big performance gains for web-based 3D modeling

Light Bulb by MrFisher

Popular web-based 3D modeling tool 3DTin has just been updated to be faster and use less memory. According to a post on the 3DTin blog, the evolution from strictly voxel-based modeling to more complex forms of geometry (while retaining backwards compatibility) had taken a huge toll on performance.

In one example, the updated web app is now able to load this model of an iPhone 4S in 1.6 seconds, where it previously took a full 24 seconds:

iPhone 4S by nixrobbie

Of course the less-advanced voxel features are still quite popular, especially when it comes to modeling videogame material. Earlier this year, I used 3DTin and some Pac-Man screenshots to model and then 3D print this set of plugs:

Pac-Man plugs by me

If you’d like to read more about the performance improvements, the full details are here:

(via @3DTin)

Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

3D scans from the Met-3D hackathon

Art that everyone can remix from afar

Indian Girl by Erastus Dow Palmer

Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held an event to make 3D scans and prints of works from throughout the museum. Participants used digital cameras and Autodesk’s 123D Catch to generate the 3D models, and then printed them using MakerBot Replicators.

Several models were uploaded to Thingiverse shortly afterwards, and today the uploads continue. The sculpture above – Indian Girl by Erastus Dow Palmer – is new as of about an hour ago. Well, the scan is new at least, the original is from about 1850. 🙂

Here are a some more scan vs. original comparisons I put together: (more…)

Failed 3D prints melted into artwork

Melted, recycled, colourful!

Close-up of RichRap's melted PLA creation

Along the same lines as last week’s post about photos of failed 3D prints, I want to highlight another recycle-into-art project that transforms scrap parts into colourful patterns.

RichRap has put together a basic how-to on his blog, taking leftover bits of PLA and melting them in an oven on some aluminum foil: (more…)

Photos of failed 3D prints

Delightful discards

Photo from cunicode's Beautiful Failures

Aside from the delight of participating in democratized manufacturing at home, users of hobbyist 3D printers have one thing in common: a bin full of failed prints. Even the most well-tuned machine is subject to the occasional plastic jam, crashing nozzle, or build surface separation.

Normally one might throw out these failures, or save them to be turned into ABS glue. But Bernat Cuní of cunicode looked at his bin of leftovers and saw something beautiful.

Bernat took these “accidental 3D prints” and turned them into a series of photos for a book and short video: (more…)

3D printed math art by Asher Nahmias (aka Dizingof)

Incredible procedurally generated designs

3D printed steel gyroid vase by Dizingof

If you’re a regular Personal Factory user, you may have seen the wonderful 3D models available for sale in Dizingof’s showroom.

Dizingof specializes in math art, which generally refers to works that have been procedurally generated with a focus on aesthetic qualities. That aesthetic quality is readily apparent in 3D models like these: (more…)

Finishing hobbyist 3D prints

Smooth as a.. thing that is very smooth

3D printed pig from MakerBot TV S02E09

Objects that come out of most hobbyist 3D printers look a bit rough. The printing process creates ridges and swirls that, in my opinion, look nice and homemade… But to others that look can be an eyesore.

Luckily, ABS plastic is very receptive to post-processing. As I tell folks whenever I run a 3D printing demo: you can sand it, drill it, paint it, you name it.

The team at MakerBot TV recently put together an episode showing some of these finishing techniques, including the use of modeling epoxy: (more…)

Parametric lattice models made with Modelbuilder

Generating great geometry

Lattice prints by Marius Watz

Marius Watz, the original artist-in-residence at MakerBot, recently published his Modelbuilder library to github and 3D printed some lattice structures that he’s generated with it.

Modelbuilder is a library for artist programming tool Processing that aims to streamline the creation of geometric 3D models for printing. It comes with a few examples, like a script that creates these random badge-like shapes: (more…)

3D printed balloon shapes (with video!)

Novel approach to producing inflated shapes

3D printed balloon process, showing optimized and unoptimized figures

Making balloon animals (and balloon anythings) is about to become much cooler. That’s because a collaboration between ETH Zurich and Disney Research Zurich has produced a new approach to making inflatable shapes with 3D printed molds.

The traditional method of creating rubber balloons using a sculpted mold does not lend itself to complex shapes. But the method described by Bernd Bickel and crew instead uses models of uninflated shapes that can be computer-simulated to reach a target inflated shape.

Basically, by figuring out the “at rest” state of the balloon and 3D printing that as a mold, the inflated version can be a perfect shape instead of a blown-out, distorted version that would come from simply inflating a scaled-down model.

Have a look at this video comparison to see the difference between optimized and unoptimized shapes as they are inflated: (more…)