Softwares for modeling 3D objects
In this part 4 of our series of article about the 3D Print Show held in London in November we talk about the software for modeling objects. We discover how it is easy to find several kind of objects on online services from gifts to jewellery, from functional parts to replacement parts. These objects are designed by 3D modeling software and as Wikipedia says “A 3D modeler is a 3D computer graphics software application used to visually produce polygonal 3D models. The 3D model is most often described by a geometric mesh of triangles or other polygons located in 3D space, with other popular descriptive models including NURBS and subdivision surface models.” These softwares are used for multiple purposes, such as rendering photorealistic environment, buildings and interiors and products or animation, in movies not only cartoon are more often used for implementing not-real scenarios, for gaming or building engineering parts. These softwares are provided with a huge and complex amount of tools and are used by professionals. Consumer 3D printers works with files called STL that is the acronym of “STereo Litography interface format” and 3D modeling softwares can make this format. However, learning how to use a professional softwares it is not so straightforward and, at the end, a user of a consumer 3D printer does not need such a complex instructor and we do not forget that are usually very expensive.
At the 3D Print Show we have seen how the progress are coming also in this section of consumer 3D printing. Softwares, tools, applications and plug-ins have been developing for consumer users that are willing to design objects for themselves or sharing or selling to others.
Anarkik 3D Design is the winner of the 3D Print Show Global Award for the category Best Consumer Software. The software called Cloud9 is sold with the Falcon haptic device, that is a sort of mouse that allows to move and build the object in a very fluid way. The developers declares in the using a “real sensation of touching the virtual model”. The basic package costs an affordable price of 300£ + VAT. The software bundled with the Falcon device can be purchased from Itis3D Ltd in London and other company around the world. Uformia, a software house, has developed a plugin for Rhinoceros, one of the most used 3D modeling software. The plugin called Symvol is specifically designed for helping in the modeling of both organic and mechanical objects. The functions and tools added to Rhino makes it easier and faster to design these kind of objects. Autodesk, the software house of AutoCAD and 3dStudio Max is fully committed to offer their expertise to non professional users. They bought TinkerCad, the first software developed specifically for 3D printing and they have create a group of apps, available to use on different devices, offline and online. The applications reachable at 123dapp.com are: 123D Catch that allows to scan places, people and things and generates 3D models from them; 123D design that is the modeling app from scratch; 123D Creature that is amazingly useful with morphological shapes, it is possible to change the positions of arms and legs through pivot points in a very fast and intuitive way; 123D Make is the app that turns the 3D model in a real object choosing the favourite way of assembly through different building techniques and materials, it is not just for 3D printing but also for laser cutting; 123D Sculpt allow to sculpt and decorate default 3D models available by the app or importing own ones.