Blog Archives

123D Creature, look out it’s hungry

Autodesk is cranking out a ton of free excellent software lately. Today we will be reviewing Autodesk 123D Creature. It’s an app that’s only available for iPad and it allows you to create and color any creature or character imaginable.


Honestly, it reminds me of the creature creator from Spore with some added complexity.


Here are some examples of what people have made.

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Characters created in this program can easily be printed in a monochromatic material through an online printing service like Shapeways or on your own 3D printer.

Though I have not attempted it, I also believe it possible to 3D print in color characters made in this app. However, it seems like the process will require special software to convert to the proper file.


123D Make, laser cutting goes 3D

Autodesk is cranking out a ton of free excellent software lately. Today we will be reviewing Autodesk 123D Make.


123D Make allows you to do the impossible, which is make 3D objects with a laser cutter. It has many options of how the parts can be assembled and even numbers them for you!! The interface is easy to use and there are a lot of options.

Watch this demo of how it works!

People have made some really amazing stuff with it!

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Do not worry if you can not get your hands on a laser cutter, 123D Make will even teach you origami.


The Water of Life (Red), with bottle!

triforce coin

They are called the Water of Life in the original game, but from now on I’ll just refer to them as potions. After the second dungeon, you are going to want to pick up something to help you through more difficult situations. There are several potion shops in the game scattered throughout the map. Purchase the red potion as it has two uses , and turns into the blue potion when used once. There are many types of potions spread across the Zelda timeline, however, in this age, only two potion recipes remain.

The red potion was quite a challenge to create. First, the liquid of the potion was 3D printed in full color sandstone. I tried 3D printing the bottle out of translucent material but was displeased with the result. Then I gave myself a challenge: create a way to form a clear bottle around the liquid by only using a 3D printer and other DIY equipment and products. The bottle is made out of a clear silicone rubber. I really like the way it came out.


On my next post I will be discussing the method by which the bottle was made. This is a new technique that can be used to generate cheap 3D printed reusable two part molds. Here is what the 3D printed mold looked liked after casting the bottle. It will be used again shortly to create the blue potion.

bottle mold

Elasto Plastic, a new flexible 3D printable material

3d coin

Today we are going to check out a new material from Shapeways called Elasto Plastic.


It’s the cheapest 3D printable flexible material available through an online service. Right now it is a trial material, so hopefully they will keep it permanently. The material is printed via the SLS method. Flexible material opens up a vast array of possible projects. Start brainstorming!

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Check out its properties in this video!!

Shapeways online 3D printing at its best!

Don’t want to buy a 3D printer. No problem you don’t have to, thanks to online 3D printing.

There are four major companies that offer online 3D printing services today will be looking at one of them.




New York, NY

Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Ships from inside USA?  Yes (This is important as it is an added cost factor)


shapeways material

Public Material Prices? Yes!!! (That’s right some companies will not give you the pricing of a material until you upload an object, not Shapeways!!!)

Pricing: Shapeways has the cheapest 3D printing prices I have seen online.

Online Shops: Yes (Check out mine here)

Strengths: Cheap prices, excellent interface, and  great customer service. Before they add new material they thoroughly test it and make sure the customer will be satisfied.

Improvements: None at this time! Shapeways seems to be well ahead of the other companies in bringing 3D printing to the masses. Keep it up!!

Experience with Customer Support: Awesome! They are very helpful and prompt!

Tinkercad, 3D modeling software that’s really easy to use!

3d coin

Today’s topic is software.


Tinkercad is a browser-based 3D cad (computer-aided design) tool that is free to use. If you have never used a 3D modeling program, this is a great place to start.  There are easy to follow tutorials that will help you understand all the tools available in the program. The program is very intuitive and its drag and drop style is very pleasant to work with. I designed all the Zelda miniatures in this program. Here’s a screen shot of the program.


Tinkercad was created by Kai Backman and Mikko Mononen in 2011 as a tech start-up in San Francisco. The two wanted to make a 3D CAD program that everyone could use, as other programs to them were to complicated and boring. The program had a rocky start and many improvements have been made since the launch. Unfortunately the inability to properly monetize the project and the prospect of devoting the system to another possibly more lucrative project named Airstone caused Tinkercad to announce its closure on March 26, 2013.

So why are we talking about this software if you will not be able to use it. 😦

Grave Tinkercad


That’s the great part you will :-)!


You see shortly after Tinkercad announced its closure another company Autodesk came in and bought it. They not only bought it but made free some of the features that you had to pay for before. Autodesk is a long time maker of CAD software whose price would be out of range for most consumers. However, recently they have been making programs that are free to use. They call this free software initiative Autodesk 123D. The programs are fully open and free but premium accounts can also be purchased, some which include discounts or come with Makerbot 3D printers.  All the programs are also going to be linked to online printing services like Shapeways.

Tinkercad still needs some improvements and I’m excited to see how Autodesk will rise to this challenge.  Sign up for Tinkercad today and start tinkering.

Speaking of Shapeways


They are following their newest addition to their marketing team as she moves across the country from San Fransisco to their headquarters in NYC. She has been stopping at hacker spaces and meeting makers all along the way. I had a chance to meet Savannah and hear about what it’s like to work at Shapeways. To say the least I was very impressed!! Right now she is in Ohio, follow her adventure here!!!



Stay tuned as in time I will be reviewing many software programs including those found at Autodesk 123D. I will also be reviewing online printing services. However, if you want to start using an online printing service, the one that stands out from all the rest in price, and customer service is definitely Shapeways.