3D Modelling & CAD Resources

Useful things for making 3D objects with computers.

Other Resources

ie not sure where else to put these :slight_smile:

Information

Design Repositories

Mesh Tools

Represent 3D objects as points (vertices) and lines (edges.)

Great for computer games, movies, etc. Not so good for mechanical designs- once created, the application (probably) doesn’t know that parts of the object were originally a sphere, cube, etc.

  • Doodle3D: online app that allows you to easily take a 2D sketch and create a 3D form.

Blender

A true Swiss-army knife of 3D, Video, and game design. Also known for artistic CAM (3D CNC milling- BlenderCAM).
And it’s free!

Deserves it’s own page!

Retopology

Recalculating the vertices and edges that make up your object. Often needed to make an object usable with physical fabrication.

Solid Modellers

Autodesk products. Solid Works. CAD tools that build up your object as a series of operations on mathematical shapes (cubes, spheres, cylinders, etc). The computer ‘knows’ what ‘makes up’ your object and you can go in and tweak the building blocks, regenerating your object.

You can also convert these objects to meshes by ‘sampling’ the mathematical object. You can control the final resolution of the converted object.

TinkerCAD

Very friendly, online, place to start for constructive geometry.
Also often the fastest and least likely to fail to do basic boolean modifications of mesh files.
Can also be used to create generative designs (you can create javascript programs called “Generators”.)

Autodesk Fusion360

Very popular, and free for many users.

Scanning

Moved to it’s Own page.

Voxel Modelling

Like ‘pixels’ (picture cells) in bitmap images, but 3D volumes.

Are great for maximum freedom when creating organic forms. Application (probably) has no idea about the tools used to create the shape (e.g. cube here, cylinder there, etc)- unlike solid modelling.

Programmatic Generation

  • Structure Synth: “Structure Synth is a cross-platform application for generating 3D structures by specifying a design grammar. Even simple systems may generate surprising and complex structures.”
  • Beetle Blocks- Scratch based visual code for creating 3D shapes
  • Intro to PythonOCC - create BREP geometry with Python
  • TinkerCAD has “generators” that are written in javascript. Easy to create a UI for parameters, and an expansive UI. May require a full browser reload (shift-ctrl-R) to pick up changes in your code.

Techniques

Voronoi Cells