We discussed before that while many people have the vision that 3D printers will be in the home in the next 5~10 years, the reality is that until now, the ability to design and print your own creations in 3D has required expert knowledge in 3D CAD software. Here comes a piece of good news.

Autodesk announced Thursday at a press event at its innovation center that it is planning on releasing Autodesk 123D Catch and 123D Make next week. 

The two programs will allow users to easily be a 3D modeler, to create 3D objects from photos, then make them printed by using templates. It seems that anyone now can make their own 3D designs, and then printed it out as a physical models.

With 123D Catch, a user can take many snapshots of a 3D objects by using a digital camera or cameraphone, from all the angles, and then upload them to Autodesk's cloud-based system. The more photos you upload, the better object resolution you can get, preferably about 40~60 pictures. Once Autodesk gets your photos, the Autodesk software will process the model. It will takes around 10~15 minutes for Autodesk to convert it into a 3DP file format. Then user will get an email and can export the files to standard OBJ format. The service of 123D Catch is free. It can be free downloaded for Windows PCs.

With 123D Make tool, the user can take format 3DP file format or OBJ file for 3D printing. Using the software, users can print a 2D cut pattern of the object in cardboard, plastic , wood or metal at home or using a third-party 3D printing service company. 123D Make allows users to see on the screen how the 2D cut-outs looks like when it is physically printed. The default thickness is a sheet of cardboard, but the user can adjust the size on screen. Autodesk supply the service of prinitng the cut-outs for an additional fee.

These Autodesk's new tools will allows consumer involved in the design process, anyone can just take photos of objects they like, a vase, a lamp or a piece of furniture, and then create their own models. We recalled My Robot Nation in our previous article that they supply a set of simple web-based design tool so that anyone can create robots they want. And they have the databse of up to 9 billion of custom robot designs that you can combine with. My Robot Nation lets the everyday consumer easily combine their individual choices on base parts, color, attachments and stamps to create an utterly unique and customized object – and then press a button to have it made real and delivered to their door.

At Autodesk website users have also access to free models to help you get your project started. Through the 123D site Autodesk can get things made for users, for about $11 users can get a foot-high Buddha take to print via cardboard, accordign to Autodesk.

Check out the video below. The Autodesk 123D Make Technology Preview turns any 3D model into a pattern of flat parts that can be cut and assembled into an artful creation.

Posted in 3D Software

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