We've seen Autodesk offer several incredibly (and totally free) useful web-based 3D tools, such as 123D Make, Catch and Design. Free tools are always welcome in a space where professional tools can cost many thousands of dollars.
But you gotta wonder how Autodesk hopes to recover their investment in the 123D suite. How will they fund its operation?
One way has been deals with 3D print services, but now there's another way: Premium memberships. For USD$99 per year, you get the following:
- A free 3D print at one of the associated 3D print services through a USD$100 credit (including shipping).
- A free Instructables Pro account, a USD$20ish value, providing a variety of more advanced features
- 25Gb of storage on 123D for your private 3D models
- Access to some unspecified "premium 3D models" that may be of interest
Is this a good value? Certainly for the first year, as you'll get your USD$100 back from the 3D print credit. In subsequent years, well, you'd have to store a very large number of models to fill up that 25Gb.