Apr. 16, 2015 | By Simon

Although many who use 3D printers on a day-to-day basis are likely to have some sort of knowledge regarding hard-surfacing CAD software such as SolidWorks or other 3D modeling tools in general including SketchUp, there is still a large population out there that is yet to jump into 3D printing specifically because they don’t know where to start in the whole 3D modeling game.  

Sure, there are many sites out there that offer pre-made items and the library is growing everyday, however not everybody is keen on purchasing a $1000+ home appliance just so that they can be restricted to downloading something that was made by somebody else.  

MakerBot has understood this dilemma since the company was founded over five years ago and has since been trying to make the entire experience of creating 3D printable content easier for those without experience in industrial design, engineering or other general “making” skillsets.  Among their efforts to help allow non-3D modelers to create 3D prints of their concepts, their latest is perhaps what will have the biggest impact on those who may have previously been on the fence about purchasing a 3D printer or not.

The new Shape Maker tool from MakerBot - which is a part of the company’s update to their free PrintShop App - will allow users to take their drawings and sketches and instantaneously turn them into 3D printable files - all with the ease of snapping a photo.

To use the tool, all that a user needs to do is create a bold sketch with enough contrast that allows the viewer to distinguish the shape from the rest of the page and then simply snap a photograph using the app’s built-in camera feature.  Once the photo of the sketch has been captured, the user has the option to extrude the shape to whatever desired depth they wish.  Although many of the more advanced 3D modeling users may prefer to have more control, the app is perfect for beginners who are capable of communicating their ideas via paper, but perhaps not so well in a more complicated 3D modeling program.     

“Our goal with the MakerBot PrintShop app is to make 3D printing more accessible and empower anyone to easily create 3D designs,” says Joey Neal, chief experience officer with MakerBot.

“All it takes is a pen and a piece of white paper to create a drawing that can then be 3D printed using the new MakerBot Shape Maker feature. If you can draw a sketch, you can use MakerBot Shape Maker to transform your creations from the flat 2D world of pen and paper to the exciting 3D world of 3D printing.”

Neal also noted how the app will be a great addition to classrooms that use a 3D printer as a part of their STEM curriculum.  Rather than taking students through the paces of 3D modeling for quick part development, teachers can quickly have students sketch a part and then instantly have it be 3D printed.  

“It’s really a simple, easy and intuitive 3D design tool,” added Neal. “We are excited to see what is designed and 3D printed with MakerBot Shape Maker. For example, students of all ages, artists, cartoonists and even parents that want to preserve their children’s artwork will be amazed at the simplicity and ease of use with this app.”

The new Shape Maker tool is a part of the latest update of the free MakerBot PrintShop app which is available in iTunes for download on iPad.  The update has been made available for download today.  



Posted in 3D Software


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shaun lamont wrote at 4/17/2015 7:35:15 PM:

its a joke right?

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