In order to take your 3D part from concept to tangible piece, the part must first be modeled in 3D software. Autodesk, the company behind software like AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, Inventor, and Fusion 360, has been rapidly incorporating 3D modeling capabilities into their existing software. Between Autodesk’s well-established software programs and new software in development, Autodesk is charging head first into the 3D printing market.
Over the last year, Autodesk has released a variety of app-based software that is specifically designed for 3D printing. These apps include 123D Catch, a program that allows users to take a series of photos of a model that are transformed into a 3D design, 123D Design, a basic 3D modeling program, and 123D Make, a program that allows users to create 3D models in slices from individual layers. With these apps combined with Autodesk’s Spark, an additional software platform, Autodesk has been described as the “Android of 3D printing.”
Autodesk Talks About the Future
Recently, IDG Connect was able to sit down with Aubrey Cattell, the Senior Director of Business Development and Operations. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits about the interview.
Cattell reiterates that, although the printing industry is 25 years old, it hasn’t yet blown up. In fact, there have only been 250,000 3D printers sold over the last 25 years. Despite this, Cattell believes that we are on the cusp of huge growth, citing studies that predict that the industry will grow to $16 billion in 2018.
Cattell compares the current state of 3D printing to a “Homebrew Computer Club.” Essentially, at this point, only the really technical people are taking advantage of the technology. Cattell also believes that people expect 3D printing to be as simple as 2D printing. For widespread adoption, it is possible that technology will have to advance to the point that there is such a thing as one-click printing capabilities.
Cattell believes that Autodesk’s role is to identify and solve points of failure in the 3D printing process. Eventually, they hope to bring millions more individuals into the 3D printing marketplace. Part of this accessibility will also come from innovations like the Spark Investment Fund, a $100 million investment portfolio that Autodesk has made into advancing 3D printing technologies.
When Cattell is asked about the comparisons between Autodesk and Android, Cattell agrees with the comparison, stating that both are ways to enable others to innovate without making significant investments in the infrastructure. With Spark, 3D printing developers will be able to work inside of the proprietary software in order to develop their unique products.
With Autodesk’s new software apps and the Spark platform, Autodesk is striving to advance the adoption of 3D technology. If you want to learn more about how you can bring 3D printing technologies into your home or office, contact us at Spectra3D Technologies for additional information.
Autodesk hopes to bolster the future of 3D printing
In May of this year, Autodesk announced that they were ready to jump into the 3D printing game. In a blog post by Carl Bass, Autodesk President and CEO, Bass explained how his frustration with the state of the 3D printing industry had led him to seek out a better option. The result of this search was twofold: the development of an entirely new open source software platform, Autodesk Spark, and a 3D printer, the Ember, that would be designed to work with the Spark platform. Through these innovations, Autodesk hopes to help shape the future of 3D printing in a more user-friendly direction.
Development for Spark
In an update from Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski at the Inside 3D Printing Conference this week, Kowalski spilled a few more details about the software. One of the things that really separates Spark from the competition is its “autocomplete” feature, which allows the software to anticipate the design and complete the shape for the user. The Spark software program will also be able to work with multiple materials and can be used on any available hardware platform. Like the software, Ember, the 3D printer, will be designed through a heavily collaborative process. So far, it is known that the printer will have a resolution of 10 microns and will primarily use photo-cured resin for its material, although it will also print other materials. It is estimated that the printer will go on sale for somewhere around $5,000.
Raising the bar
This week, Autodesk took their role in the 3D marketplace a step further by announcing the creation of the Spark Investment Fund. Over the course of the next three years, Autodesk will be investing as much as $100 million into 3D printing companies. As the first of its kind, this investment fund is a great opportunity for spurring innovation in the industry by financing startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs. The primary goal of the Spark fund is to push the boundaries of 3D technology and move the industry into the next phase.
With increased innovation and investment in the 3D marketplace, it is a great time to embrace this amazing technology. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how it can be put to use in your industry, contact us at Spectra 3D Technologies.
The benefits and place of live instruction in software and design training
Training opens the door to an infinite future.
As a trainer for over 15 years, teaching 3D Studio DOS back in the early 1990′s. So many things have changed in that time, from the introduction of windows and 3D rendering tools that make an animators life less complicated, to the mass adoption of the internet by industry and education. However there is one thing that has remained constant, the need to learn the software.
Online learning has become a staple of the training industry, and live, online learning has made inroads into the real classroom and as a form of high quality training. There are a lot of downloadable tutorials and online websites that offer Autodesk 3DS MAX and Maya training to view at your leisure. Many of these sites are free or very low cost and offer a broad range of topics to choose from. While these sites offer some good quality tutorials, there is no live person to ask if you have a question.
Live, online learning is an emerging and highly beneficial tool for all user of 3DS MAX and Maya software. With the unique ability to work interactively with an instructor, ask questions and learn just as if you were in a real classroom. The 3D Professor offers classes starting at one hour plus a half hour of dedicated Q & A time with the instructor and attendance can costs as low as $50 per person, live, online training offers a high return on your training investment of both time and money.
The 3D Professor is meeting the growing demand for instructor led, online training by offering an array of pre-scheduled 3DS MAX and Maya classes along with our industry leading customized workflow training. For groups of five or more, custom classes can be scheduled at your convenience to cover topics specific to production needs. In this world of online learning, it is critical for the growth of any company to maintain their employees productivity. And the best way is still with a live instructor in an interactive, fun and interesting instructional setting.
Have you ever noticed that your belts don’t really have a home? If you’re anything like me, one day you will find your favorite belt rolled up in the sock drawer and the next day it will be draped over the towel rack. Well, the other day, I decided to put an end to this – my belt would get a designated place once and for all.
After deciding how many belts I would like to hang, in my case I decided six would be ideal, I started designing my new belt holder. Since I have some extra closet space, a design that resembled a traditional clothes hanger would be the most convenient.
Belt Hangar Design
As a user of Autodesk Inventor, I was able to bring my concept to life with the aid of the design software. By choosing to place my prongs slanted upward, the belts can easily snap in place and by facing the belts backward, I can keep the prong of the belt buckle locked into place, preventing the belt’s hardware from wearing out. Then, I just hit print and let my Stratasys UPrint SE Plus, which I am a reseller for, do the work. In just a couple of hours, my print was complete.
The Final Product.
Belt Hangar installed
Now, each morning when I reach for my belt, I know that I can always find it hanging safe and sound in my closet. Plus, because of the beauty of 3D printing, whenever my belt collection grows further, I can simply print out another belt holder.
If you are interested in learning more about how 3D printing can help you get organized and offer simple solutions to real-world problems, contact us at Spectra 3D.
3D Printing 101: Creating a New Wheel for a Dishwasher
3D Printing to the rescue!
If you pay much attention to the news, you will see all sorts of wonderful stories about the power of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. From a German engineering team who has discovered how to forgo the assembly line and print an entire 3D car, to scientists who are working on printing a fully-functioning human heart, the prospects for 3D print are astonishing. But with all of these groundbreaking advancements, many readers who are not highly trained scientists or engineers are left wondering – what can 3D printing do for them?
In response, I give you, the dishwasher wheel.
A Practical Application
While cleaning up my kitchen the other day, I found that one of the wheels on my dishwasher was cracked and unusable. Knowing how ordering spare parts for appliances can be a huge pain, I was not looking forward to going online, hoping to find the correct model, or, if not, waiting on hold with customer service, then paying for the part plus shipping and handling, and waiting for weeks for the part to arrive.
Here is a comparison of the original wheel on the left with the 3D printed wheel on the right.
I snapped the wheel in the place of the broken one and it works like a charm. No need to deal with all of the hassle.
This experience got me thinking about all of the other practical uses my printer has for replacing broken or worn out parts. With the power of the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer, I can replace nearly ant plastic part, like the handle on a drawer, or replicate all of those tiny pieces missing from my board game sets, even print period appropriate handles for a vintage dresser. Amazingly, I can create these entirely customized pieces from scratch and have them ready to go in a matter of hours, not weeks.
While this doesn’t yet replace purchasing a part from the manufacturer, it makes it possible to replace hard to find parts, or parts that are no longer made.
I hope you will stop back by this blog soon to follow us as we continue our exploration of the amazing practical applications of 3D printing. If you would like to learn more about 3D printing and how you can make it work in your company or home office, email us for more information.