Are you a design amateur but starting to need more professional design software? Hobbyists and educators can get access to parametric design, collaboration tools, and cloud file management for free with Onshape, a powerful alternative to the engineering CAD software Solidworks. In this Tutorial Tuesday we’ll get you from zero to cloud-CAD in just a few videos... // Column at Shapeways

In this week’s Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll expand our design toolbox to include the 3D modeling program Wings3D. Wings3D is free and open source, but includes much of the functionality of paid professional software like Autodesk’s 3ds Max, as well as topological mesh modeling software like TopMod. Wings3D is a low-poly subdivision tool, which means that you can create... // Column for Shapeways

It’s back-to-school season, so this week’s Tutorial Tuesday will focus on using 3D printing and design to enhance learning of another subject: 3D design and printing for electronics. Specifically, we will explore a brand-new feature in free online 3D design software Tinkercad that combines 3D printing and circuit design, based on Electronics Lab and 123D Circuit.io from Autodesk Circuits... // Column for Shapeways

A couple of weeks ago we discussed how to make complex designs with simple Structure Synth code, but what we didn’t mention is that the resulting models can need a bit of cleanup before they are printable. Because of the way Structure Synth models are constructed, they often consist of a large number of overlapping objects, and this can lead to some pretty nasty geometry... // Column at Shapeways

Now that NetFabb no longer has a free cloud service for repairing files, where do you turn when you have a 3D model with hopelessly bad geometry that needs repair? Meshmixer and MeshLab provide free solutions that give you a lot of control over how you modify and repair your meshes. But when those programs aren’t enough to rescue your file, where do you go for help?.... // Column for Shapeways

What would you make if designing complex objects were actually easy? For some years now we’ve been hearing the buzz-phrase that “complexity is free” with 3D printing. With an SLS printer, the cost of printing a plain wireframe cube is the same as the cost of printing a complex, knotted wireframe cube, provided that they both take up the same amount of machine space and printing material... // Column at Shapeways

So, you read our previous photo tutorial, and now you have a photo light box and/or a nice clip-on macro lens or whatnot, and your photos are so good they almost look like renders. The only problem is, now your photos look like renders! But your photos need to do more than just look pretty; they also need to show that your design can be printed successfully... // Column at Shapeways

There are lots of ways to go from a 2D image to a 3D model, but one of the easiest ways is with the Shapeways 3D Printed Pendant Creator -- even if you aren't technically making a pendant. This Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll take you through the creation of a simple design with the Pendant Creator, including ways to tweak your image graphic so that it works well with the Pendant Creator tool... // Column at Shapeways

Happy Fourth of July! Today we’ll take it easy with a look at 3D design with BlocksCAD, an accessible block-based CAD programming tool that you can work with online in your browser. BlocksCAD works much like the popular intro-to-code language Scratch, but instead of creating animations, it is designed for creating 3D models. The fastest way to learn is by watching BlocksCAD in action... // Column at Shapeways

Sometimes you just want a little piece of Earth to call your own. For example, here’s a Porcelain Ceramic relief map of the Shenandoah Valley region around Harrisonburg, Virginia. But where do you get the map data? There is a lot of it online, but not all of it is suitable for 3D printing or easy to export. Here’s where the website Terrain2STL comes to the rescue... // Column at Shapeways

Autodesk discontinued 123D Catch in January as part of a transition to their more extensive photogrammetry software ReMake, leaving many educators, students, and amateurs without an easy pathway for making quick, simple scans. Enter Trnio, a new iPhone app that guides you through the process of taking photos of an object, then stitches those photos together to create a 3D printable scan... // Column at Shapeways

How early can kids learn to create 3D printable designs? As soon as they can use an iPad, if they’re using Morphi, a friendly and powerful 3D design app. Morphi removes all the fiddly barriers to designing in a classroom: How does a student get a picture and send it to the computer? How do you convert an online image to SVG format? What if the internet goes down? Not a problem any more... // Column at Shapeways

If you already know something about photography or if you have a nice camera, then this post isn’t for you. Today’s tutorial is for people like me, who needed an easy way to make their phone photos a little bit better and don’t want to break the bank doing it. And as an excuse to photograph for detail, we'll check out some test prints from the new HP MultiJet Fusion 3D Printer... // Column at Shapeways

For an amateur 3D designer, how to wrap something around another thing is one of those questions that you know must have an answer but seems impossible to figure out. It comes up so often, in fact, that we’re going to devote this post to answering using Grasshopper. And we’re going to give you the code so you can wrap your own things around other things. // Column at Shapeways

Why create just one design when you can create infinitely many? Instead of designing a ring in just one size, you could use parametric design to control the ring size or the surface pattern, effectively creating many designs within one. Parameters also enable you to create algorithmic, generative designs with amazing complexity. This week we'll learn how to get started with Grasshopper... // Column at Shapeways

SketchUp is a natural software choice for bringing architecture to life in 3D. But did you know you can use it to make much more than buildings? If you’re looking for free, reliable software that is easy to start using and also has the teeth for more advanced projects, SketchUp might be the tool you seek. This week we’ll run down the best beginner and intermediate resources for SketchUp... // Column at Shapeways

The Perko Pair is a famous pair of knots that for a long time were thought to be different, but later were famously revealed to be the same by Kenneth Perko in 1973. We created a stylized morph between "Perko A" and "Perko B" by exporting a model from KnotPlot and then adding extrusions to each mesh face in TopMod, then printed the model with an Ultimaker 3 using dissolvable PVA supports... // Hacktastic

3D printing and digital fabrication efforts are happening at hundreds of institutions around the United States. The thing is, there’s often just one faculty or staff member leading the 3D effort, working alone. If you’re lucky, maybe you’re part of a small team. What happens when you put hundreds of those leaders in the same place? We found out at Construct3D at Duke University last weekend!... // Guest post at Shapeways

Math has the best bling. Structure, form, geometry, and symmetry are secret keys to beautiful 3D designs. For example, this stunning Rhombic star earring by Mathematical Creations was created with Wolfram’s powerful software Mathematica. Mathematica 11 added a suite of new 3D printing features including 3D mesh utilities, ready-made 3D printable models, and new tools for thickening models... // Column at Shapeways

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