If you want some 3D printed chocolate but don’t have a 3D chocolate printer, do the next best thing by making molds. Simple 3D printed shapes can be used as presses to create food-safe silicon candy molds. The only tricky bit is to keep air pockets out of the corners of the molds; we’ll solve that problem by creating our designs in Fusion 360 so we can fillet, or round, the edges of our designs... // Column at Shapeways

The 3D printing slicer Cura has a cool hidden feature: It turns out that you can upload an image and it will turn dark/light contrast into high/low elevation. You can use this feature to make a quick 3D-printable lithophane. Black and white images work the best, but you can get amazingly detailed photographic quality from lithophanes, so they don’t necessarily have to be simple... // Column at Shapeways

Want to make a simple design and turn it into a 3D printed product in just a few minutes? 3D Slash is an in-browser modeling tool that is intuitive, easy to use, and unusually fun to use. You can create designs by smashing blocks with a hammer, building up walls, or tracing an image. If you have a simple idea that you want to bring into reality very quickly, 3D Slash is a fun place to begin... // Column at Shapeways

Want to make a 3D-printable Dungeons & Dragons character without learning Blender, ZBrush, or Maya? Try Hero Forge, one of the Shapeways Creator Apps. Hero Forge allows you to build a D&D character miniature from scratch, using a very simple online customization interface. This week we’ll show you how easy it is to create and print your own mini D&D character from the ground up... // Column at Shapeways

Earlier this month, Geek & Sundry featured the new Shapeways tutorial video The Ultimaker Conversion Tutorial: Add Custom Heraldry to a Miniature. This week on Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll build on that and show you how to create, remix, and add features to tabletop models. One way to easily create a custom tabletop figure is with Hero Forge, an in-browser, character designing app... // Column at Shapeways

If you’ve got a desktop FDM 3D printer at home, then you can make your own same-day prints whenever you want to. But, unless you’re hiding a refrigerator-sized $300,000 SLS machine in your garage, there are going to be times when it’s worth sending your prints to a professional 3D printing service like Shapeways. So when to print with FDM and when to send out for SLS?... // Guest post at Shapeways

So, you have a 3D model, but it’s too thin to print reliably — or too thick to have the fine detail you want. How can you fix it? In this week’s Tutorial Tuesday, we’ll focus on that one specific modeling skill. There are a lot of tools you could use for thickening or thinning a model, but today we’ll explore Blender, which produces reliable results and a good mesh, even with challenging designs... // Column at Shapeways

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 at 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 at 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 at 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