3D Systems Deploys Print3D

Industry giant 3D Systems acquired software plugin maker Print3D in April last year and this week saw 3D Systems announce the technical outcome of that acquisition: Print3D is now released as a free plugin for major 3D modeling tools for direct integration with 3D Systems’ print services.  Instead of exporting your 3D model and then… Continue reading 3D Systems Deploys Print3D

Design with ImplicitCAD

Have you heard of OpenSCAD? It’s an open source software project that can be used to produce 3D models without a visual interface. How’s that work again? You write a kind of computer program whose instructions gradually generate all the pieces of your model. It’s a grand idea that we’ll delve deeper into in the… Continue reading Design with ImplicitCAD

The New Tinkercad

Tinkercad, the amazing web-based solid 3D modeling tool has recently improved its capabilities. This tool permits creation of basic 3D printable objects without an expensive software and more importantly without a lot of training. Tinkercad uses WebGL, so be sure to use a reasonably modern web browser. What did we notice about Tinkercad?    Gorgeously… Continue reading The New Tinkercad


The popularity of Minecraft has blossomed into several 3D print-related services. One of the new ones is Mineways. Minecraft users spend hours designing complex and amazing 3D environments and it’s only natural they’d want to see them in real life if at all possible.    It is possible with Mineways, but with some effort. Mineways… Continue reading Mineways!

Slic3r Instead of Skeinforge?

You own a RepRap 3D printer and you’re preparing a 3D model for printing with Skeinforge, the time-tested, defacto standard for slicing 3D models into printable GCode. All you need to do is wait for the slicing operation to complete.   And you’re still waiting.    That’s the problem with Skeinforge – while it has… Continue reading Slic3r Instead of Skeinforge?

T-Splines Eaten by Autodesk

If you use Rhino3D or Solidworks for preparing your 3D models you might have heard of T-Splines. It’s a special plug-in that permits easy creation of organic shapes and thus greatly extends the usefulness of Rhino3D and Solidworks, at least for some designers. But that may change abruptly. The other week 3D software giant Autodesk… Continue reading T-Splines Eaten by Autodesk

Uformia – Saving The World From Polygons

Our rant regarding STL the other day provoked some interest from the not-yet-well-known company Uformia of Norway. While we all agree that there are serious problems with STL format, some are starting to do something about it. One group with an interesting approach is Uformia, who are developing a new approach to 3D modeling specifically… Continue reading Uformia – Saving The World From Polygons

The Shapesmith Alternative

A new alternative to web-based 3D modeling tools is emerging: Shapesmith. We say emerging because it’s an unfinished work. Shapesmith is an open source project that offers anyone the chance of running their own 3D modeling tool from a website.    The interface is truly beautiful and aesthetically simplistic, but as such it has some… Continue reading The Shapesmith Alternative

Tinkercad Gets Funding

First it was MakerBot with a USD$10M injection, and now it’s Tinkercad, that friendly online 3D modeling service that practically anyone can use. They’ve just received a boost of USD$1M from True Ventures with angel investment from Eghosa Omoigui, Taher Haveliwala, Jyri Engestrom, and Joshua Schachter.    This is huge news for the small startup… Continue reading Tinkercad Gets Funding

Autodesk’s Two New Things: Catch & Make

With the success of their first web-based design tool, 123D, Autodesk has launched (at least for preview) two new apps, Catch and Make. They’re both quite different, but readers will find them both useful.    Make is a 3D slicer that converts a 3D model into layers suitable for manual assembly. This is probably best… Continue reading Autodesk’s Two New Things: Catch & Make

Waiting For AMF

Some months ago (March actually) we wrote about a new file format for additive manufacturing that had been approved after long discussion: AMF, the Additive Manufacturing Format.    This new format included a variety of key features to dramatically improve the information content found in 3D models. Meta data, materials, colors, textures and more were… Continue reading Waiting For AMF

AutoDesk’s 123D Gets Improved

The new beta 6 of Autodesk’s free 3D modelling tool includes a couple of very interesting features for 3D print operators. First, there’s the ability to convert text into 3D shapes using solid creation tools. You can place vector text on any plane and then apply extrude, bend, taper or other deformations.    This, we… Continue reading AutoDesk’s 123D Gets Improved

Categorized as Software Tagged

Shapeways AbFab3D

A powerful new capability was announced by 3D print service Shapeways: AbFab3D. It’s a software architecture that permits the existence of “3D Creators”, which are programs that create printable 3D models based on some input parameters. In other words, on-the-fly customized models.    The catch is that you need a “3D Creator” for each type… Continue reading Shapeways AbFab3D

Generated Spaceships

Once you have a 3D printer, the eternal question is, “what should I print?” One can tediously look through online repositories for something interesting, or perhaps tediously design something new with your 3D modelling software if you have the skills, ability and time.    But what if you could generate your own model? And specifically… Continue reading Generated Spaceships

PP3DP Releases Mac Software Option for Up! 3D Printers

There were rumours of such a release earlier, but now it’s official. You can actually drive your Up! printer directly from your Mac.    The version 1.0 software they’ve provided for Mac is not quite the same as their Windows version 1.12, as some features are not present. On the other hand, it appears that… Continue reading PP3DP Releases Mac Software Option for Up! 3D Printers

Up! Supports Macs

Or will soon, according to a short mention in a recent post on PP3DP’s blog: “The version of software that can be used on MAC will be released soon.” Strangely, this was briefly stated at the tail end of a post on a new platform heating cable.   Soon the very powerful but end-user simple… Continue reading Up! Supports Macs

Finally Shapeways Makes the USA

Makes “in” the USA, that is. 3D print service Shapeways announced they will now ship product from the USA – this means US-based users (and also nearby countries we suppose) will avoid the delays and shipping costs of Shapeways’ European distribution centre in the Netherlands.   Shapeways says they’re also “we are also increasing our… Continue reading Finally Shapeways Makes the USA

3D Printing From Minecraft

Minecraft must be one of the most popular online games these days. partly because it’s simple interface allows almost anyone to create semi-complex 3D environments. Now we see that an MIT Media Lab project headed by Cody Sumter and Jason Boggess has created a new tool to enable real-life 3D printing of objects made in… Continue reading 3D Printing From Minecraft

Parametric Clothing

A short while ago we wrote about Shapeways’ 3D printed Bikini, and we speculated on the complexity of software required to develop appropriately fitting 3D clothing. The subtlety of fashionable curves and comfort fit are extraordinarily difficult, as they would necessarily be unique to each and every person. Even slight variations could render a fashion… Continue reading Parametric Clothing

ReplicatorG 25 Released

If you’ve got a MakerBot, you’ll want to upgrade to the latest release of ReplicatorG, the software that prepares 3D models for printing on CupCakes, Thing-o-Matics and similar 3D printers. RepG is always undergoing continuous improvement, so it’s no surprise that a new release is out. But this one has some interesting features that should… Continue reading ReplicatorG 25 Released

Autodesk 123D

Autodesk has released a free-for-use true 3D solid modeling software called 123D. The massive 521Mb download is not the only thing you get; there’s also a pretty comprehensive online repository of whole objects and basic components you can draw from to create awesome things.    We think 123D is a big deal, as it’s relatively… Continue reading Autodesk 123D

Blender 2.57 Is Official

Popular (and free) 3D modeling tool Blender is now version 2.57, as per the official release in April. This tool is very often used by consumer designers and makers to produce solid models for 3D printing. Blender sometimes gets a bad rap due to its rather difficult learning curve. But if you can get through… Continue reading Blender 2.57 Is Official

Web-Based 3D Modeling

A couple of months ago we wrote about a new web-based 3D modeling tool, 3DTin. Now there’s another web-based tool: TinkerCAD.    The two tools are different. While 3DTin takes an extremely simplistic approach, TinkerCAD is somewhat more capable. 3DTin is essentially visual LEGO. You build your object by placing blocks in the intended arrangement.   … Continue reading Web-Based 3D Modeling

Everyone Can Be On Cloud9!

We’ve learned that AnarkikAngels has just released a new release of their easy-to-use haptic 3D modelling software, Cloud9 v2.1 – but this one has no time limits. As far as we can tell, this means it’s free for use. According to Ann Marie Shillito of AnarkikAngels:   Up to now we have limited the license for… Continue reading Everyone Can Be On Cloud9!

3D Modeling in Your Web Browser

Benjamin Nortier of London is our hero. Why? He’s taken on a huge challenge: create a 3D modelling program that everyone can use. He’s performed an analysis of available 3D modeling tools and came to pretty much the same conclusion we did: tools are too hard, too expensive or not usable for solid modeling. What’s… Continue reading 3D Modeling in Your Web Browser

Categorized as Software Tagged

LiveCAD’s iPad 3D Modeler

We’re checking out new software from LiveCAD: Home Design 3D iPad. This sweet package lets you design an apartment or house floor by merely dragging, dropping and positioning walls and common objects onto a 2D view. Then you hit the 3D button and see your new kitchen, bedroom or bathroom in glorious finger-scrolling 3D.  … Continue reading LiveCAD’s iPad 3D Modeler

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3DTin’s Buzz

We heard the huge chatter across the 3D world recently about 3DTin, an impressive web-based 3D modelling tool. What? 3D modelling in a browser? Yes. True.   There are tons of limitations, however. Essentially, 3DTin uses a simple building block approach, much like assembling a structure out of Lego blocks. In this way rudimentary models… Continue reading 3DTin’s Buzz

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Hands on With Cheetah3D

Many 3D modeling tools exist for Windows, but what about OS/X? We’ve been testing a very useful 3D modeling tool for OS/X: Cheetah3D. This software isn’t a Maya, SolidWorks or Cinema 4D, but it actually includes a great many functions that you’d find in those much more highly priced tools.    Cheetah3D includes all the… Continue reading Hands on With Cheetah3D

3Data Expert

Finnish software company DeskArtes has released version 9.1 of their 3Data Expert product, which is a professional tool for “repair, conversion and manipulation of 3D CAD data for 3D printing, Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Manufacturing as well as for simulation.” It can import a variety of formats and prepare – and repair – accurate models. As… Continue reading 3Data Expert

Amazing iPhone 3D Scanner

Shapeways has uncovered a really intriguing iOS app: Trimensional. This simple app uses a four-way flash to roughly capture the shape of a face or other object held motionless as far as 20cm away from the front-facing camera. Since the front camera is used by the app, it’s only available for iPhone 4’s and the… Continue reading Amazing iPhone 3D Scanner

Reality Mixed Up By MeshMixer

Once in a while we bump into a truly amazing product and today its MeshMixer. This software permits easy manipulation of 3D mesh objects – that is to say, cut/paste/resize/move about, etc. The creation of unreal models such as the fellow with the unusual nose above is almost trivial using MeshMixer. Here’s some highlights:  … Continue reading Reality Mixed Up By MeshMixer

RapCAD Announced

If you are into personal 3D printing, one of the first things you’ll observe is the disconnected nature of the required software. You might design models in one environment, then convert them for printing in another, and finally drive the 3D printer to produce the object. This is awkward to say the least, and is… Continue reading RapCAD Announced


There are several free 3D modeling tools available, including Blender and the ubiquitous Google Sketchup, but each has the advantages and drawbacks. Some are designed to produce viewable or artistic 3D scenes, rather than 3D objects. These are often usable for designing 3D printable objects, but they are not optimized for engineering of solid machine… Continue reading OpenSCAD


Have you ever used form.Z for preparing 3D models? As shown in this video, it’s fully capable of doing so. form.z is known for its 3D modeling capability, but it also includes features enabling exporting model files to formats suitable for 3D printing. This video demonstrates some of the 3D printing features, including fixing up… Continue reading FormZ

NetFabb in the Clouds

Having trouble submitting your 3D model file to one of the popular print services? The model isn’t watertight? Not sure how to fix it? Don’t have the right software or training? Never fear, 3D software maker NetFabb is here to rescue you with their new beta Cloud Service – and it’s totally free!    How… Continue reading NetFabb in the Clouds

K-3D Is Free

Baffled by Blender? Why not try an alternative, open source 3D modelling tool: K-3D. Version 0.8 is available for download for Windows, Mac, and a variety of Unix/Linux environments. K-3D can handle 3DS, Collada, OBJ, MD2, Ogre, PLY, STL, and SVG files and includes many industrial-level features. From their wiki:   K-3D is free-as-in-freedom 3D… Continue reading K-3D Is Free

Sophisticated 3D Scanning Advances

Creaform, makers of the Handyscan line of 3D scanning devices recently released new software to drive their highly capable devices that increases their capability. While these scanners are typically out of the price range of hobbyists, they are very useful in a variety of commercial situations. The new software (VXElements) provides some pretty amazing capabilities,… Continue reading Sophisticated 3D Scanning Advances

Another Slicing Option for BfB

BfB (Bits From Bytes) has announced the availability of a new 3D slicing software option that will be bundled with each of their new 3D printers: Axon. This software is built upon the traditional Skeinforge software that performs the delicate task of converting a 3D model into layered slices suitable for 3D printing. The issue… Continue reading Another Slicing Option for BfB

MakerFaire Video

Take a look at a great video from the recent MakerFaire where:  Bre Prettis of MakerBot provides a brief explanation of their hobby 3D printer Jeffrey Lipton of the Fab at Home project explains the unique features of their printer, which is capable of printing electronics or even batteries.  Max Freeman of Alibre – demonstrates… Continue reading MakerFaire Video

From Solidworks to Shapeways

Popular 3D print service Shapeways has announced the availability of a new add-in for SolidWorks, the well-known commercial 3D modelling system. The add-in was developed by Design Solutions in a joint project with Shapeways, but is currently considered a “beta”, so expect frequent updates. Both 32 and 64 bit versions are available for download. If… Continue reading From Solidworks to Shapeways


Tomas Pettersson has created a pretty amazing sculpting tool in his spare time: Sculptris. The Windows-based software provides a very intuitive way to model freeform sculptures. Using simple controls, a designer can quickly produce symmetrical shapes of great detail and beauty. You must watch the video to appreciate how easily an artist can produce amazing… Continue reading Sculptris!

MiniMagics2 Released

Materialise has released a new version of their MiniMagics software, which is used for management of STL files. What can it do? Here’s a short list:   Import and save .STL, .magics or .mgx files Compress STL files up to factor 20 View parts and rotate, pan or zoom Detect bad edges and flipped triangles… Continue reading MiniMagics2 Released

A 3D Design Alternative

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… Continue reading A 3D Design Alternative

New Google Sketchup 3D Plugin from i.materialise

There’s already a few plugins for Google’s popular Sketchup 3D modelling program that permit export to formats suitable for 3D printing, but we learned that i.materialise has now released their own version.    The plugin is easily installed into Sketchup by using the instructions linked below. In the image above you can see how it… Continue reading New Google Sketchup 3D Plugin from i.materialise

3D Printing with Macs

The 3D printing community would seem to be the realm of Windows or Linux, and as a consequence Mac owners might feel a bit left out. Much of the relevant software comes only in Windows form, posing a challenge for Mac users who might have to resort to installing Windows on their machines.     Interestingly,… Continue reading 3D Printing with Macs

The Social Engineering-Knowledge Database

Bryan Bishop provides a great overview of the Social Engineering-Knowledge Database (SKDB) project in an article at HPlus Magazine. The premise of the project is to create a standard environment for the development of complex 3D models by leveraging models and instructions that already exist. This is very similar to the open source software industry,… Continue reading The Social Engineering-Knowledge Database

Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 Released

Many 3D modellers use the free Blender package if they can’t afford the sometimes expensive commercial 3D modelling software options. While Blender is rather complete functionally, it has long had a reputation of being difficult to learn. This could be about to change with the introduction of their new version, 2.5. A new alpha release… Continue reading Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 Released

Fixing Model Problems

One of the issues facing 3D modellers is the ability to create models perfectly suitable for 3D printing. A correct visual appearance does not mean it will print correctly, because the design might be ambiguous, have non-printable shapes or be “leaky” (non-watertight). Shapeways writes: I’ve found that it’s often difficult to retrofit your existing models… Continue reading Fixing Model Problems

Categorized as Software Tagged


Readers might be familiar with Open CASCADE, but for those who aren’t it’s an open source software development framework that “includes components for 3D surface and solid modeling, visualization, data exchange and rapid application development.” The software is produced by Open CASCADE S.A., who make their money by providing consulting, support and custom development, as… Continue reading Open CASCADE