3D Creation Apps Recommended for Aspiring Designers

3D Creation Apps Recommended for Aspiring Designers

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It is clear now that doing 3D modeling on a computer is a great and beneficial activity for the development of the brain of our kids (very effective for adults as well!).

Autodesk alone in the sky.

Tinkercad main screen

Until recently, Autodesk was somehow alone in the sky with no real competition to challenge its Tinkercad web-based 3D modeling software. And Tinkercad is great. Very intuitive and simple to use. Kids love it. But being unchallenged is not very healthy in the long run. Some real adversity is good to stay sharp and give the best it can.

A real competitor is arriving on the “3D Modeling Software for Kids” market (and it is a big player!)

Many among you will know, and maybe have used, another really powerful software named Solidworks, used mostly by professionals around the globe for more than two decades. Like Fusion 360, it is awesome to do parametric modeling (you create your model following precise steps and parameters like size, shape…). As it is not at all for beginners, kids would have a hard time trying to use it to create a model of their own.

Shape It from Solidworks Apps for Kids

Fortunately, at Solidworks, they worked hard to develop new tools especially for kids. They choose a different path than Autodesk. Instead of a complete software with many tools immediately available right after the child is connected to a web-based software, they developed a cluster of very simple and efficient apps. For example, if you want to create a new model, you launch Shape It. In an instant, you have the ability to model something with mostly a sculpting tool. You have very few options available. It is your imagination and some virtual clay at play. Which is wonderful for beginners. You just have to learn one simple tool to have fun. The interface is very clean with just a few buttons.

Cube Print to the rescue!

And if you are happy with the result, just launch Print it. You have the choice to 3D print it if you have a 3D printer available. If you don’t have it in your backpack, don’t worry, they get you covered! They have a funny surprise for you. You can Cube Print your creation. A regular 2D printer using regular flat sheets of paper is sufficient. Once printed, you just have to cut following the outer line around the model. You use some glue to stick together the faces. And you get a nice cube made of paper with a picture of the model on each face. The front face with the front view of your model, the top face with the top view, and so on. A marvelous idea to use 2D images to see in “3D like”. Your kids will love it.

Cube Print

Which one is the best for your kids?

As a 3D modeling enthusiast, I love them all. But for a complete beginner, I would recommend to start with the SolidWorks Apps for Kids. It will help your kids to be at ease with a 3D model on a screen. They will be much more comfortable to do more advanced models faster than you would have dream of it. Tinkercad would be the natural next step.

Encourage your kids to play with them all. The way to create a model in 3D is different but the goal is the same: allow our children to become creative masters, to think critically, to make mistakes and learn to persevere.

The road will be long for our children and with many bumps along it. If a simple and yet so powerful activity like 3D modeling for 3D printing can help them live an interesting and engaging life and see the world in a more creative way, let’s do it!

P.S.: www.swappsforkid.com has just been released and is at the beta stage of development (the last one before the official release). Try it anyway. It is a good one. I’ll tell you when it will be at full speed and will do a complete review at the same time.

The First Beer that will Make You Smarter

English

Hi guys!

Would you like your child to become a designer? More specifically a product designer? OK, there are plenty of other activities that you will think about way before that one. But keep in mind that these guys can make your daily life a dream or a hell depending on the way they create and influence the objects and tools we use. Continue reading

Life is a Learning Curve

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Hi guys!

We all know what a learning curve is, right? If it’s a valuable thing you are learning, the beginning of the curve will be almost flat for a while (with small bumps). Then, when all the pieces you learned will start to match together, you curve will go up faster. It will become steeper and steeper and steeper. That’s the beauty of an exponential growth and that’s the beauty of learning design with 3D modelling tools.

At the beginning, you have fun. Then you start to think that you could model something fun and nice. Then you see yourself creating something fun, nice and useful. Then you hit the ceiling of your current knowledge…

And that’s when Thomas Edison comes in. This really creative mind is supposed to have said:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Think about it one minute. I am sure you had those moments when you wanted to give up because it was becoming too hard for you (at least, it was your feeling). But you decided to go on, found the right tool, the solution and finally conquered a new victory.

You will have that experience very often while learning a 3D modelling software, Blender for example. I still do from time to time. That’s the beauty of it. If you are never challenged by something you already know well, it starts to loose interest, it becomes boring. This situation will never happen with Blender.

The next time, I will show you what you can do with your learning curve using Blender. You will love it!

Stay tuned!

How to colorize the interface for Blender

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Check out how to add some color to the interface in Blender!

 

 

Note: these are ‘.txt’ files; please change them to ‘.xml’ files before installing them in Blender under User Preferences.

Download: Blender_2_79_for_Beginners

Download: Blender_2_8_for_Beginners

 

How to get a surprising material to 3D print while traveling towards Mars

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Almost two years ago, I wrote a blog (in French 🙂 ) with my son about the use of recycled material to 3D print on the planet Mars. The idea was to turn into powder anything we didn’t need anymore once arrived on Mars. It could be plastic parts, aluminum or other metal parts. I even mentioned that we could melt the sand we can found on the red planet to build shelters or buildings. Scientists are already working on all these ideas.

Researchers in the Canadian University of Calgary have found a new source of material to use in a 3D printer. It could even be useful during long space travel. They will recycle the “result” of your short stay on the toilets. That’s right, thanks to a special process and a hard working special enzyme, they will create a solid material that will work very well in a SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printer. If dogs are allowed for these kind of trips, we will get even more material 🙂 .

Modern Space Toilet

Going back to the use of sand, it reminds me of the 2010 adventure of Markus Kayser, an industrial designer and pure genius. He designed a 3D printer able to 3D print by melting sand. He did his experiment in the Egyptian desert. Solar cells were there just to deliver the energy for motors, the sun tracking system and the electronics.

Markus Kayser and his Solar Sinter

The melting energy was provided ONLY by the sun through a Fresnel lens. The concentrated sunlight, thanks to this Fresnel lens (like the lenses at the top of lighthouses), was enough to melt the desert sand in order to print objects like this bowl.

Bowl made of sand

As you can see, the kind of material you could use in your 3D printer is sometimes surprising. Thanks to the imagination and genius of some people, new possibilities are created all the time. These guys don’t limit themselves to the usual.

I encourage you to apply for yourself and your kids, my today’s take-away advice: Always look beyond your habits to break your limits.

Have a great day!

Recipe for a Fun Plane in Blender

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Check out our new recipe for designing a fun plane in Blender, which you can make with your children!

Tools:

A computer

The Swiss army knife among 3D software: Blender!

A few minutes

1 brain (or more)

 

Ingredients:

2 spheres

2 cones

Salt, pepper…

 

Here we go!

  • Delete the cube (Right-click on it and press X + Enter).
  • Add the first sphere (Shift + A and select the UV Sphere in the Mesh list).
  • Rotate it 90° following the X axes (R+X+90).
  • Quadruple the size following the Y axes to create the fuselage (S+Y+4).
  • Go to Edit Mode (press the Tab key).
  • Select and delete the two extremities of the fuselage (in side view, Press B to activate the “Box Select” tool).
  • Go back to Object Mode.
  • If you want, you can decrease the size following the X axes (S+X+0.5) to make the fuselage narrower.
  • Give some thickness to the fuselage using the Solidify Modifier (thickness value = 0.2).
  • Add the second sphere (Shift+A and select the UV Sphere in the Mesh list).
  • Decrease the size by half (S+0.5).
  • Make it longer in the Y axes (S+Y+1.5).
  • Move it upward (G+Z+1 or more).
  • Move it a little bit toward the front of the fuselage (G+Y+”-1”). Only the top half of your second sphere should be visible.
  • Add the first cone (Shift+A and select the Cone in the Mesh list).
  • Rotate it 90° following the X axes (R+X+90).
  • Quadruple the size (S+4).
  • To create the wings, decrease the height of it (S+Z+0.2 or 0.3).
  • If you want wider wings, increase the width (S+X+1.5 or 2).
  • To create the tailfin of your plane, duplicate the first cone (Right-click on it, press Shift+D, press Enter).
  • Rotate your new “flat cone” 90° following the Y axes (R+Y+90).
  • Decrease the size (S+0.5).
  • Move it backward until the vertical part of the tailfin and the horizontal back part of the wings create a perfectly flat cross along the X axes (G+Y and move your cursor toward the back of the plane).
  • Move the tailfin upward until you get a nice fin.
  • Select the fuselage, the cockpit, the wings and the tailfin together (Right-click on the first one, while holding the Shift key pressed, Right-click on the three other parts).
  • Press “Control J” to join these four parts together to form a unique object.
  • Your plane is ready and looks like it is made of many facets, like a cut crystal.
  • If you want it with a smoother surface, use the Subdivision Surface Modifier (View value of 2 or 3 should be ok).

Good job!

To get the best result with your printer, print your plane the nose upward and its rear part on the bed of your printer. Enjoy!

The Not Yet So Obvious Benefits of 3D Modeling for 3D Printing

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3D printing technology makes progress every day. It reaches more and more areas in our lives. In the years to come, it will be a common thing to get something through a 3D printing service. Today I would like to spark a new idea in your mind and the mind of your children.

3D printing just a few years from now

Imagine for a minute your kids have grown up a little bit. You are about to build a new house in the countryside, on the seaside or in the mountain (or anywhere else you would like to have your new house). You are having a meeting with your architect to decide how to design your house. He tells you all the requirements for energy efficiency, comfort and safety. Suddenly, he looks at your child and asks him:

“Do you know how to create 3D model for 3D printing?”

You are surprised. The architect goes on:

“As you probably know, building technology has improved greatly these last years. I was wondering if your child could design his own living area, so we can 3D print his model for him. You too could model some parts of your house to make it unique.”

Two scenarios

Now, dear parents, you have two possible situations:

Situation 1: Your child and/or yourself have never created anything in 3D. Needless to say, something specifically for 3D printing.

Situation 2: Your child and you have already practiced several times 3D modelling for 3D printing. You had lots of fun and have already several Family Made 3D printed objects at home.

In which situation would you like to be? 1 or 2? I would personally prefer the second situation.

Maybe you are telling yourself:

“Patrick is a nice guy, but it will be long before we can do this kind of thing, like modeling all or parts of our living area.”

Really? Think about it. Building constraints have considerably changed. New concrete allows funny shapes as strong and durable as reinforced concrete without iron rods. 3D printing technologies specifically for the building industry are popping all around the world. They progress quickly. Sooner than you think, you will be able to 3D print the house of your dream.

My advice for today

Begin as soon as possible to think about your new house in the shape of a concert grand piano or the shape of a delicious mango.