123D is a new free 3D solid modeling software released today. 123D is intended for those wanting to make things commonly known as “Makers”. Makers of all ages will be able to create, visualize, and make their own creations. If I can sum it all up in a word one of the biggest benefits with 123D besides it being free of course is that it is a precision tool for everyone. The early beta version of the application is very powerful and this is due to its parent being from not only the leading design and visualization software company Autodesk but because it shares the same blood lines with Autodesk's professional design products. If you want to mod existing objects there are thousands of 3D parts available for free on http://www.123dapp.com/content from pipe fittings to sharks and many things in between.
This release of 123D is a public beta with updates to the product, services, and content planned for regular releases. On the 123D site it mentions “Interested in fabricating your model from materials like sliced cardboard, folded aluminum, fabric, and more? New and interesting ways to output your model for fabrication are coming soon.”
You launch the 123D product and you are presented with some learning resources to get you started on the user interface, creating sketches and objects all the way through assembling objects together.
The User Interface makes use of the marking menus.
I can even edit the edge to shape the cylinder into something more complex.
This experiment is after shelling the solid is beginning to look like one of those odd fittings that go on the end of a handheld hair dryer.
I can also select colors or physical materials to assign my parts instead of plastic perhaps I want to be a rebel and create the bow dryers custom nozzle out of oak.
Now lets shift to evil creative genius mode or the crazy creative gear. In 123D I can import several file types including DWG, SKP, OBJ and more. Now I just happen to have a OBJ mesh of my head in 3D with textures created using the upcoming version of Autodesk Project Photofly. So I combine the meshes and solids coming up with my unique sprinkler head design and perhaps print it in 3D when I am done to just freak the neighborhood out.
Videos showing 123D will be posted to the 123D YouTube Channel
More on Autodesk and the Makers revolution:
Autodesk Discusses Makers & New Industrial Revolution at Wired Conference
If you are attending the Makers Faire in San Mateo California stop by the Tech Barn and see 123D as well as our awesome partners such as TechShop and 3D Systems. I will also be wandering the huge Maker Faire event.