Sep 14, 2015 | By Kira

In the world of 3D printing, there are three types of people: the highly-advanced 3D modeling engineers, professionally trained in CAD, mechanics, coding, electronics, and a host of other potential fields; the hobbyists, who may or may not have similar training to the above, but are nevertheless technically skilled and live for tinkering and trying out new ideas; and finally there are what we could call the aficionados.

This group is certainly no less passionate about additive manufacturing — they actively read forums, keep up to date with the latest technologies, and encourage makers to keep doing what they do. However, aficionados don’t consider themselves makers (yet). They might just be new to the game, curious about how it all works, or unsure of where to get started. Released just this week, 3D Slash is a new software solution that is designed for specifically for non-designers of all ages and skill levels, in order to introduce 3D modeling concepts in a fun, easy-to-use, and game-like platform.

Invented by French designer Sylvain Huet, 3D Slash was modeled after the phenomenally popular video game, Minecraft, and the grounding principle that building and sculpting with cubes is quite simply the easiest and most user-friendly way to get started in the world of 3D modeling.

In just three steps and after a brief 30 minute training period, the program—which is available entirely for free, in both online and offline capacities and across all devices and operating systems—claims that users from 5 to 95 can create their own 3D printed objects in no time, even if they have no previous experience whatsoever. Step one consists of ‘modeling like a stone cutter’. In this stage, which was heavily influenced by the Minecraft aesthetic, users begin with a large bloc, just like a stone, and can ‘slash’ away to begin shaping their model. Various tools include a hammer, trowel, chisel, jigsaw, wood filler and milling machine, which can be resized as needed. An expert mode is also available with more advanced starting shapes such as a cylinder, sphere and cone.

Step two provides the users with additional tools such as ‘go faster’ and ‘dimnestions’ to improve the design and fine-tune the work session. In the ‘learn’ section of the website, instructional videos give detailed, step-by-step examples of how to use them.

Finally, in step three, users can decide exactly what they want to model and get to work. For those in need of inspiration, the platform features over 20,000 designs created since January 2015, including repair tools, decorations, games and figurines, scale models, accessories and STEM projects. Once finished, users are just a click away from either 3D printing their design through 3D Slashes online service, sharing their model with the community, or downloading the STL files.

The key advantage of 3D Slash truly is its simplicity and ease-of-use. CAD modeling and printing can be an intimidating skill set to enter, particularly for those with no technical training and who believe they need expensive software and hardware kits to get set up—but that doesn’t mean it should be relegated to an elite, professional group. Thanks to its colorful tools and video-game feel, the software is also particularly useful for introducing children to 3D modeling concepts. “We use 3D Slash to initiate kids from 8 years old to 3D modeling,” said a founder of Techkids Academy. “It is the perfect tool to awake their curiosity and unleash their creativity.”

3D printing technology has allowed for wonderful and creative solutions to many problems around the world, from at-home fixer-uppers to groundbreaking medical discoveries. Given the range and infinite possibilities for what can be created, it is obvious that the more people experiment and create, the more innovative ideas they'll have, and more tools can be produced. In that sense, by opening up the skills required for 3D modeling, 3D Slash is part of an important movement towards making the technology more accessible, understandable, and most importantly, fun.



Posted in 3D Software



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