Oct. 6, 2014 | By Alec

Software can always be somewhat terrifying for those of us that aren't quite 'tech savvy' or IT literate, which is unfortunate as 3D rendering remains one the most crucial steps in any 3D printing project. Fortunately, there are a few very user-friendly programs out there that are both easy to use and remain capable of delivering highly detailed results.

And recently, another one was launched in the shape of FlatFab: an intriguing 3D design software that can develop intricate 3D constructions with life-like dimensions. It will easily allow you to create awesome models of dinosaurs, animals and whatever you can imagine, and is therefore very fun to play around with.

There's just one caveat: its intended for manufacturing objects with laser cutting technology and CNC machines, rather than 3D printers. However, this does little to diminish the awesomeness that the FlatFab 3D renderings emanate, or the easiness with which the 3D images are created. It is therefore definitely worth trying out, while there are plenty of on-demand CNC services available as well. So why not try a slightly different method to give life to your own 3D creations?

Mastermind behind this free software is James McCrae, who developed FlatFab as part of a PhD project at the University of Toronto. As he and his compatriots explained on their website, the whole idea behind FlatFab is quickly and easily creating intricate models that are also very easily transported: 'In a world driven by economy of space, our models are designed using planar parts, making them fast and cheap to produce, pack and assemble.'

Laser cutting and CNC technology is therefore exceptionally useful, as models can be cut from a single sheet of wood and packed and shipped at the size of a magazine. In a way, these planar models are reminiscent of old-fashioned modelling kits (who remembers them? I do!), but at a new level of detail and possibility and designed and created using high-tech methods. As they stated, 'Flatfab enables designers and hobbyists to use their own skills working with common tools and materials, [while] anything that is reasonably flat can be cut: plastic, wood, steel even stone'.

And what's more, their free software is very accessible. With a solid combination of their detailed tutorials and a scoop of creativity, anyone can generate intricate and fantastical models on their desktop computers within. These files can then be easily printed using a CNC or laser cutting device, or printed on-demand.

All this definitely makes the FlatFab software worth a try. Also be sure to check out these interesting videos on the FlatFab software:

Posted in 3D Software

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