The last few years have seen a revolution in the world of 3D Design. What was once the preserve of specialist aerospace manufacturers has become available to everyone. To give you an idea of the scale of this revolution, over 70% of all design currently being done in Europe is performed in 3D. Everything from the humble light bulb to the most complex space vehicles are being designed in 3D, and here at DesignSpark we think that’s exciting!
We can help you get involved in the fascinating world of 3D design. The first thing you'll need is a 3D design software package. The good news is that there are a wide array of tools available to help you start designing. The bad news is the cost - many of these software tools are aimed at the professional user, and the license can cost the same as a new car! But there is help at hand!
SketchUp is a 3D design tool that is available to download and use free of charge. Previously a Google product, SketchUp is now owned by Trimble, and was originally created for architectural use. Due to its unbeatable price, it has since gathered an enormous following of users and developers who use it to create amazing designs easily on an everyday computer. Before you get stuck in, visit the friendly guys over at sketchUcation, an independent forum of SketchUp users. You'll be amazed at what you can create with this tool.
For those of you with a bit of money to spend, take a look at SpaceClaim. While not free, this wonderful bit of kit is considerable cheaper than most of the other "professional" tools on the market. SpaceClaim's innovative approach to modelling is something like creating a sculpture from a virtual lump of clay. The time it takes to get to grips with the commands can be counted in minutes rather than hours
Even with the best tools, 3D design can be time consuming. To help you create the designs you need, many manufacturers publish pre-prepared 3D models of their products that can be inserted directly into your software. DesignSpark has its own library where you can search amongst tens of thousands of products to download for free.
3D Design tools are not limited simply to creating new designs. Many allow the importing of files from other tools to allow you as an engineer to integrate all of the elements of your next creation. A perfect example of this comes to us from the award winning DesignSpark PCB, our very own free to download printed circuit board software. Have you ever wondered what your PCB will look like once it has been made? Not only does DesignSpark PCB offer a 3D viewer, but using our PCB Converter, you can export your circuit board into SketchUp and build it into your design.
Hand in hand with 3D design has been the development of 3D printing. Its proper name is “additive manufacturing”, which describes the process quite accurately – a 3D device is created by adding a very thin layer of material on top of previous layers. In this way, very complex shapes can be created relatively quickly and cheaply – in fact, some products can be made in no other way. Take a look at this:
3D Design is more accessible now than it has ever been, and free tools like SketchUp allows users of all skill levels to get involved. Check back with DesignSpark regularly to keep up to date with the latest news and gossip from the 3D world.Like this Leave a comment