It wasn’t long ago that if you wanted to create precise circuit board prototypes, you’d have to send them out to a shop to be made. That approach isn’t exactly conducive to fostering creativity, and limits engineers’ willingness to experiment.
A couple of years ago, Autodesk 123D released Creature, an iPad app that makes it easy to create single piece 3D characters. This month the company released Tinkerplay, a mobile app that lets you design poseable characters and prepare them for 3D printing.
Up until now, the vast majority of 3D printers on the market have been designed to produce plastic models, and if there’s functionality, it’s pretty primitive – like rotating gears. But Voxel8 aims to change that, with their upcoming 3D printer that can not only print plastic, but also circuitry.
There’s already a Minecraft port for iOS devices, but a new iOS app called Blokify takes the addictive building mechanic of Mojang’s hit game and makes it much easier to get into. Blokify uses simple touch controls and easy access to different cubes, without the hassles of keeping an avatar alive.
The researchers behind Shape-It-Up call it a “Hand Gesture Based Creative Expression of 3D Shapes Using Intelligent Generalized Cylinders”, but it’s totally a pottery simulator. Decades from now, if – when? – Paramount Pictures decides to remake Ghost, the characters will be using Shape-It-Up while a dubstep remix of Unchained Melody plays in the background.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, and got a behind the scenes tour of their 3D printing and digital prototyping studio. What they’re doing with these technologies is truly impressive.
We’ve seen some pretty unusual vending machines these past few years, ranging from the playful to the extraordinary and downright strange. The soon-to-be-released Dreambox, however, is in an entirely different league. It doesn’t sell any specific goods because there’s nothing on display except a 3D printer.
In case you’ve forgotten the power and versatility of today’s mobile devices, Autodesk’s 123D Creature app will be one hell of a reminder. The app has all you need to create your own 3D character, from building a skeleton to sculpting and painting and even ordering a 3D print of your creation.
I have seen all sorts of stuff made from LEGO, and much of it is really cool. I particularly like it when someone builds mechanical things out of LEGO that actually do something like the dude that made the LEGO shirt folding robot.
Got an idea you’d like to prototype? A 3D model you want to see realized? Well, there’s good news with today’s announcement that Sculpteo, an online 3D printing service, is now available in the United States.
Sure, there are thousands of iPod docks out there, but how many of them were printed out on somebody’s desktop? Not many, I bet. This unusual dock was rendered using a MakerBot desktop 3D printer.
Will Langford from BotMade used his desktop MakerBot CNC to create this iPod/iPhone charging dock.