Just when we weren’t sure if Autodesk was ever going to update 123D Design for Desktop, a brand new 1.4 update comes out and surprises us. The details from their history update from their website looks very promising.
- A new UI introduces similar look and feel with other products from the 123D family, like Tinkercad.
- Easier access to all of your models and projects, regardless of the app you made them in. MyProjects provides access to models created in 123D Catch, 123D Make and 123D Creature.
- Support for opening, inserting, and saving meshes in STL and OBJ formats.
- Perform Combine, Subtract and Intersect operations between meshes and solids.
- New option for combining objects on STL export in order to support printers that read first body only.
- Import SVG files and use them as sketches or as simple extrusions.
- Drop selected objects to the grid with a simple key (F10).
- Added option for hiding grid.
- New toggle for enabling or disabling implicit grouping when snapping between parts.
- New option for defining snapping increments for different operations.
- 3D Print now sends model to Meshmixer for processing before 3D printing.
- Premium members can now download unlimited models from 123D Content Library.
- Free members can now download up to 10 models a month.
- A brand new car! (Just kidding)
- Stability fixes on Copy-Paste.
- Performance and stability bug fixes.
- Support for 3dconnexion devices.
- Shortcut Keys on F1.
- Feedback Survey directly in app under Help.
- Also includes updates for 123D Premium members, and bug fixes.
We think this is a really big update. Our first impressions with the UI redesign are really good. Things did not move around, it’s mostly a graphical refresh, which looks very sharp and clean.
Objects have a nice lime green outline when its selected, making it more distinct. Features that might get overlooked that seem minor are actually handy in use. Hover over the bottom right to quickly change snapping increments and measuring units. Toggling on/off groups when snapping is a time saver and turning the grid off allows you to project sketches from irregular surfaces.
The biggest feature update is SVG import. This is great for making solids from outline sketches made from a vector drawling app like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. In our tests, the feature worked best on simple paths. It did an OK job at importing our Adafruit font, but crapped out on our icon. Importing SVG option is available in either a Sketch or Solid. Doesn’t seem like there’s an option (yet) to set the height of an extruded object when importing as an object. You can’t apply construct operations to extruded SVGs which is a bummer but expected from a new feature.
Importing STL is also very welcomed feature that we feel was probably the most requested feature. Tinkercad did this really well and now 123D Design can too. It also gives you a ability to apply basic combine operations like merge, subtract and intersect to solids and other meshes. The best uses of this feature could be for anyone who is looking to make remixes/fixes/customizations/upgrades to STL models like scanned data. You also can’t apply construct operations to imported meshes.
Overall it’s a great update and we really recommend upgrading if you’re already a user. If you’re thinking about learning some CAD for 3D Printing, now is a great time! Special thanks goes out to 123D Design team from Autodesk for making kick ass free CAD software!
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Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
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