A new 3D model customization tool called “Polygana” seems to be under development.
Customizing 3D Models
3D model repositories have a problem: in order to service the most requestors, many 3D models must be stored. This causes great complications in finding the required 3D model because search functions are inherently based on text, not geometry.
One reason why you might find millions of 3D models in a repository is because it’s quite difficult to customize them. For example, you might find a 3D model that is very close to what you require, but needs a tweak. Perhaps it needs five holes instead of six, for example.
Unfortunately most 3D model repositories have no good answer to this dilemma.
There have been attempts to solve the problem, however. Thingiverse was perhaps the first by launching their “Customizer” tool. This allowed requestors to make some changes in uploaded 3D models, but only if the uploads prepared the files for customization.
That is done by designing the object in OpenSCAD, a programmatic 3D modeling tool that is naturally parametric: you must numerically specify 3D components, making it easy for Thingiverse to implement a customizable interface. They simply tweak the OpenSCAD parameters specified by the uploader and the model is regenerated.
That all sounds good, but it really never took off in Thingiverse, the biggest printable 3D model repository around. This is likely because OpenSCAD has a very different 3D modeling paradigm that few bother to learn. It’s just too different and that greatly limited the amount of customizable models on Thingiverse.
A new project has emerged that hopes to overcome this problem. Unfortunately we don’t know much about the project, other than it’s their intention to “do it better” than Thingiverse.
The website is only a single page containing this video:
The only other information is a signup link for “early access”.
There is one online example of Polygona, where a simple structure is shown to be interactively tweaked using slider bars, as shown at top.
You can find the Polygona example here.
The example works quite well, and is pretty quick to update the 3D model.
The only other publicly available information on Polygona comes from a Reddit post where the project was announced by contributor Leota90. One important point made was that Polygona does not use OpenSCAD. Leota90 said:
“It’s not for open scad, not yet at least. It’s something custom, but the idea is to support 3D models made by different 3D software. I might create an adapter for OpenSCAD if people want it.”
“In the first phase I’ll provide a selection of 3D models, but in the second phase I’ll let people upload their own.”
Apparently the project intends on making it possible for people to upload 3D models in their “favorite” 3D modeling software formats, where it can then become customizable.
Polygona seems quite ambitious, as there are plenty of 3D model formats, and some of them can change at the whim of a software manufacturer. However, it may be that Polygona uses an unusual approach for customization. Perhaps 3D models are imported into a standard internal format, and then the customization is applied?
At this early stage it’s hard to tell where this project will go and whether it will succeed. But it is open to those interested.