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Possibly the package that we've all been waiting for - a free 3D design program from Autodesk. It's still in the Beta stage at the moment, which is probably why it's free, but I think it might continue to be free once formally released. Initial impressions are that it is effectively an Inventor LT.

 

I only downloaded it yesterday, so I've only scratched the surface, but it looks very useful and I think it's going to knock Sketchup and Blender into a cocked hat for creating model parts.

 

Linky:

http://www.123dapp.com/

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Its pretty good and better than the dubious interface for 3D Autodesk tacked on to AutoCAD! The only thing I haven't found yet it a flatten command for cylinders and cones to convert shapes into a 2D template.. Hopefully they'll add that sometime but its great for 3D print models.

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Sounds good, looks like a busy weekend ahead downloading/fathoming out how it works.. have been playing with sketchup recently with some decent-ish results, but have been finding the limitations of the software!

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/351/entry-6638-the-return-of-the-n-gauge-people-mover-shapeways-printing/

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/blog/351/entry-6770-more-designs-sent-for-3d-printing-t-gauge-class-37s/

 

Can 123D export directly as an .stl file without having to use troublesome plug-ins (as is the case with Sketchup?)

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Can 123D export directly as an .stl file without having to use troublesome plug-ins (as is the case with Sketchup?)

As far as I'm aware, yes it can but I haven't got that far yet.

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Thanks Martin, I will have a play as soon as I get a chance, and report back here, no doubt with something unusually shaped planned out to add to Shapeways' pile of orders!

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There are posts on the Shapeways forum about exporting from this so it does seem easy enough though I haven't tried that option yet. The default file format is Autodesk's .dwg .

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Puglsey (and other contributors to the thread!)

 

Thanks for this - it might answer the question I posed on the forum a few days ago. Downloading it as I type, and looking for a chance to play at the end of this period of 'nights'... Just got a GWR coned boiler (& the rest of the 'Star') to design....

 

Regs

 

Ian

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Thanks Martin,

 

I'm going to have a go over the weekend. I have Autodesk's Sketchbook which is really good so hopefully this will be in the same vein.

Tom

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123D can just Save As directly as an .stl..

 

I've had a play tonight after some soldering at the beginnings of a hornblock casting that is symmetrical and hasn't had a top view drawn yet.

 

I can't seem to snap to midpoints of lines when sketching which is a bit annoying.

 

2D sketching, the program works out areas nicely for extruding.

post-174-0-88591400-1308361662_thumb.png

A quick test of a progressed version in 3D though the ribs should be diagonal (needs a union with a top view extrusion)

post-174-0-68612000-1308361682_thumb.png

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I've done a bit more on that part I tried out and I quite like the programme. The extrusion system works nicely as does creating new workplanes on parts.

 

post-174-0-96266400-1308427541_thumb.png

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Shame this is only for PC's at the moment.

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I doubt a native Mac version will come any quicker than Linux, it needs Microsoft Direct X for rendering and installed .NET parts during the install so its very much written under a Microsoft framework. Heavy 3D software is the worst kind to run virtually as well.

 

This is one bug with the stl export at the moment - it exports 10 times too small.. My prototype model was about 17 inches wide which should have been about 383mm but came out in Netfab as 38.3mm. Its been mentioned on the 123D forum and seems to be due to the program working internally with cm but then it must export in mm (no idea why you'd go for cm internally when its not even an SI unit..). Just means you have to scale by 10 before checking in Netfabb at the moment.

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I've been playing with 123D over the weekend and it seems to have a lot of potential. I particularly like the 3D chamfering and the handling of complex curves, which is a lot better than in Sketchup. On the other hand it clearly still needs work on some areas, the menus are quite badly arranged in my opinion and it can get a bit slow at times.

 

Paul

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