Ok, so we all know how cool 3Dprinting is. The media is reporting that this will change our lives forever and that we will all become makers in our own homes printing object after object. This is powerful thinking, the fact that ‘Star trek’ could suddenly be happening in our houses and schools in the not too distant future. Here’s the concept, you press ‘print’ on your printer and then come back in a few hours and bingo an object has been made! If only it was that easy.
I am an educator by profession and have spent many hours teaching students the concept of 3D CAD modelling. Anyone can easily download a model from ‘Thingiverse’ or the forthcoming ‘3dfilemarket.com’ and print it off. However, can the average consumer create their own models? I know from experience many students can get frustrated with the complexity of professional grade Industry CAD modelling suites that are parachuted into schools. Can we expect a 13 year old to master the functions of a CAD programme that degree educated professionals use? My opinion is no, there has to be a bridge between education and industry. Many students know what they want to design but can’t access the right features on the CAD packages. Also many teachers are not skilled enough to meet these demands. Learning a complex CAD package can take years and sometimes we only have hours to familiarise ourselves with new technology before we have to teach it. So where is the answer to this? Could it be ‘Project Shapeshifter’ hosted by Autodesk.
Project Shapeshifter is the ability to create complex CAD models with the ease of simply dragging a slider bar. Templates are provided and you simply customise to your liking. The ease of use is fantastic and leaves you wanting more and more. Students in school ask ‘sir do you play COD, aka Call of Duty’. I respond with, ‘no I play Project Shapeshifter’ and tell them to Google it. I have had hours of fun with this programme and have created models that I have 3Dprinted that is far above my level of CAD modelling skills. Could this be the revolution that CAD modelling needs to bring 3Dprinting to the mainstream. Complete accessibility to create complex models with no CAD skills…. sounds too good to be true! Look at the evidence yourself below. There is a growing community of thingiverse modellers that are uploading their designs created on shapeshifter (see the screen shot below) so the word is spreading. Also, here is one I printed myself. I needed a night light for some nice ambiance, shapeshifter delivered all the way! The best thing is this design is unique to me and created by me and no one else has this.
Click the link below for an adventure of a 3Dprint lifetime! Get on it before the end of April as it is only running for a short trial.