We received a follow up comment regarding our post "Poor Man's 3D Printing: The Design" from A1 technologies, marketers of a variety of 3D gear. They wished to point out one of their products, the Chameleon, might be considered as an inexpensive design alternative.
What is the Chameleon? It's a hardware/software combination that enables haptic design of 3D shapes. Haptic? That means based on the sense of touch, and indeed that's precisely what the Chameleon's hardware does. The Chameleon includes a 3D haptic mouse, the Falcon from Novint, which "provides users with a more natural interaction within three-dimensional virtual space and allows significantly more intuitive working". The hardware is combined with Anarkik3D's Cloud9 modelling suite to enable 3D newbies to create imaginative shapes without significant training. Cloud9 produces files that are immediately useful on A1's 3D printers, and others, too. In other words, the Chameleon is a totally different approach to 3D modelling that could be a more viable point of entry for new modellers.
We're very keen on this intuitive approach, and have written of it before. But could it be part of "Poor Man's 3D Printing"? The cost of the Chameleon is only £495 (USD$715) so it is tremendously less expensive than other haptic options.
We like to think that it depends entirely on the modeller. If the modeller is sufficiently familiar with traditional 3D modelling software such as Blender or SketchUp, they might not have a need to spend on a Chameleon. On the other hand, if the learning curve of Blender is beyond your time threshold, perhaps the Chameleon should be sitting on your desk.
Via A1 Technologies