Also published at Shapeways Magazine
In the landscape of beginner-friendly 3D design software, I’ve come across an option that’s just as good for adult beginners as it is for kids. But 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 also removes the annoying barriers to designing in a classroom: How does a student get a picture and send it to the computer? What if the internet connection goes down? Not a problem any more. Hand a second-grader an iPad with the Morphi app and they’ll be designing their own 3D printable models literally in minutes.
And if you’re looking to learn 3D design yourself, Morphi is one of the easiest ways to get started.
Morphi for the Classroom
One of the best features of Morphi is its very simple and intuitive interface for turning 2D sketches into 3D models. In the iPad version (there are also desktop versions for Mac and Windows), you simply draw 2D images with your finger and then extrude and place by dragging on the screen. Here’s a simple sled design with rails drawn by hand, then extruded into the design.
For straightforward educational use, this is amazing, since you can navigate, zoom, rotate, scale, align, add color, join or subtract shapes, and do pretty much everything else you’d want to do, right on the iPad touchscreen. It’s also easy to take photographs with the iPad and import them into Morphi.
Morphi makes 3D design feel breezy, like this simple extruded light-up LED star:
Getting Started with Morphi
To get a quick idea of how Morphi works in practice, check out this playlist of short Morphi tutorial examples:
For a more in-depth overview of Morphi for Mac and Windows, including how to navigate, how to interact with the Morphi interface, and how to use the basic design tools, check out this Morphi for Mac + Windows playlist:
Animation, AR, and Edibles
Students can use Morphi to make stop-motion animations of their creations. For example, see this Star Wars inspired droid animation:
With the iPad version, you can even use the camera to incorporate your 3D models as augmented reality elements using Morphi’s AR tool:
And of course, students can print out their 3D designs to enjoy and use.
With food-grade silicone, you can use Morphi to make edible chocolates.
Check out the Morphi gallery for more examples of videos, prints, and designs to see how other educators and students are using Morphi, or schedule a professional development training workshop.
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