Dec 3, 2015 | By Tess

3D printing, as we know, is primarily dependent on one thing: digital 3D design - an area that has been dominated by a select number of platforms and software programs, the most notable of which are Autodesk and Solidworks. Recently, however, smaller startups have begun to make a name for themselves in the 3D design world. San Francisco and Tel Aviv based company uMake is one of these startups, and they have recently announced that they have received $5.2 million in funding to continue developing their product, a cloud-based mobile 3D sketching app.

The funding was received during a Series A round of investments led by BlueRun Ventures in collaboration with UpWest Labs, Brian McClendon, and Noam Bardin.

The app, also called uMake, makes it easy for designers to create 3D designs and renderings on their mobile devices, such as the iPad. Rather than hunker down in front of a desktop computer or laptop set up, designers can work more easily on the go. The app, which was released earlier this month, is available for download in the App Store and can be either downloaded in a limited form for free or with additional “pro” features for $14.99 a month, or $149.99 a year. Notably, uMake was also a featured on the App Store’s Editor’s Choice.

In order to create a 3D image using the app you simply have to make or import a sketch and highlight the parts of the sketch that will consist of the outer edge of the 3D object. Then, using various algorithms, the app can detect and generate depth and other spatial parameters of the sketch, effectively turning it into a 3D design. uMake has also pointed out that as they continue to update the app, features such as importing logos or images to be applied to the 3D design object will be added, bringing the design as close to the finished product as possible.

Once the 3D designs have been rendered using uMake, users have a number of choices as they can share their design to be collaborated on, or even send their designs to be 3D printed.

uMake, which was founded in 2014 by Evi Meyer and Erik Sapir who both worked on Autodesk’s AutoCAD mobile project, was developed in an effort to fill a gap in the mobile 3D design market. Meyer explains, “On desktop you may find similar approaches but it’s not that common and can be expensive…We truly believe in the mobile platform. We know the desktop is important and will stay for years but less people will use it, and significantly the children of today will use it a lot less 5-10 years from now.”

Their approach and target of the mobile market is also what drew BlueRun Ventures in as well. John Malloy of BlueRun Ventures explains, “uMake transforms the way designers and engineers approach 3D design. Creativity should be fun, easy and spontaneous and uMake gives you that power in full 3D from inception to production.”

For consumers, makers, and designers, a vast number of options exist for 3D printing technologies, with new 3D printers and scanners being launched regularly, for home or professional uses. uMake is seeking to engage the 3D design market in a similar way by providing an alternative option for 3D designing that can be done comfortably on a mobile tablet. The recent investment capital will allow the startup to continue to expand its work and improve its app.

“Creating something new and different is very exciting and holds within it many challenges that requires amazing talent to solve,” add Meyer. “This new funding will help us welcome great people into our family to create the best design experiences that we have always dreamed about.”



Posted in 3D Design



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