Tuesday, January 17, 2017

3D Designing and How To Get Started (A Look at Two Different Programs)

By: Jarrod Bernier
    The Oyster River Hack Shack's star attraction is the 3D printer that we allow students to print almost any design on. To make these designs we rely generally on two programs: 123D Design and Sketch-Up. These two programs are both modeling softwares that can be used to create designs for you to print. I wanted to make it clear which one you should be using at what time, and what the benefits of using one over the other are.

Image result for makerbot replicator

    First, I'll say that the more simple of the two is easily 123D Design. It is much more user friendly and beginner friendly. For anyone who is just getting into designing I would strongly recommend starting on 123D Design. It starts you off with basic 3-Dimensional shapes and allows you to manipulate them in order to achieve your goal. The downside is that because you only have those starter shapes, it limits what you can do in the program. However for a beginner, the pre-designed shapes are extremely useful. For simple builds 123D Design is certainly the way to go.
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    Sketch-Up, the more difficult of the two, is much more complex to learn. Its interface is less user friendly and the whole program itself is based on the idea that the person using it already knows how to design. Instead of providing starting 3D shapes, it only allows for the creation of 2D shapes and lines to start out with. At the beginning, this only adds steps to the construction process. Instead of being able to drag a cube out of a menu, you have to construct it with 12 separate line segments. However this allows for more creativity because it does not limit you to the manipulation of preexisting objects. Instead it allows for the creation of complex shapes that may not necessarily fall into one of the categories given by 123D Design. 
Image result for Sketch-Up

    For beginners I would recommend learning the basic concepts of 3D design with 123D Design. Start there and once you feel comfortable with that I would move on to Sketch-Up. Sketch-Up allows for much more complex designs but they will take a long time to complete. I personally like Sketch-Up more because it gives me more freedom. These two programs are just the programs that we use at the Oyster River Hack Shack. Many more programs do exist that will also let you accomplish the same projects. 

Image result for picture of the Hack Shack at Oyster River

    If you're interested in learning how to design, stop by the Hack Shack to get started.

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