A new software tool hopes to make it a bit easier to get into 3D printing.
Tiles is a web service the provides a simple interface for designing 3D objects with blocks. It’s similar to Minecraft in that regard, but with a specific focus on 3D printing. You simply drop “blocks” onto a virtual build platform to gradually form an object. Once finished you can download the resulting model for 3D printing.
The Tiles crew offers a variety of rewards on their Kickstarter campaign, more-or-less variations on possible build size and color selection. However, for a full featured option, you’ll pay USD$35.
Tiles Chief of Communication Dan Holly told us:
We think, in the future, a 5 year old will be able to pick up her tablet with Tiles downloaded on it. She will design herself something cool on Tiles: maybe a Skyscraper, or maybe a Boat for Barbie and Ken. Click Print. Now she has a physical representation of her imagination in her hand! That is powerful!
And we believe this is true; newbies will be able to use Tiles to create simple objects.
But we’re not convinced the “block approach” is the correct way to address consumers who are otherwise unable to master complex CAD programs. While “blocks” are easy to use, the construction of anything even slightly complicated takes a lot of tedious time. Meanwhile, Tiles says they’re implementing the right kind of tools to move them around - and that’s probably good enough for newbs.