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Editing is intuitive as you select from the varying properties to drag and drop onto the canvas
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When editing textures you are able to zoom in on a specific part for further detail
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The app then compiles the parts into a 3D printed build plate
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The app gives you a link to download a zip file of the STLs for your printer
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The print comes out as poseable and as detailed as the on screen version
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The textures are visible close up
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Robot De Niro rules!
One of the great questions that surrounds 3D printing is how do we get the youth of today interested in 3D modelling? Paul Harter faced this exact problem when he got a 3D printer and tried to get his youngsters to use Tinkercad to model something, they quickly got bored and started playing Minecraft instead. So he invented Printcraft.
One of the intrinsic problems with Tinkercad, despite it being a completely marvellous app that we love, is the lack of a tablet/smartphone version. Children have taken to tablets like a ducks to water; PC sales are crashing through the floor as tablet sales soar. Without sufficient easy-to-use tablet apps children just won’t bother 3D modelling.
Modio are hoping to bridge that gap with perhaps the most intuitive 3D printing app I’ve yet had the pleasure to tinker with. The app, which launched at Maker Faire Bay Area earlier this month, allows users of all levels to create and pose creatures from a wide range of components with the swipe of a finger.
The app gives you choices of heads, torsos, limbs, weapons, hats etc to chose from all you do is drag them into the build area, parts that go together are drawn together with a magnetic force that allows you to easily build a creation from scratch. You can even change the colours and add textures to the certain parts of the body.
Here’s the clever part though; once you finished playing with your robot/knight/dinosaur on screen you press a button and the app will dismantle and put it onto a virtual build plate for you. All you have to do is download the zip file, import the relevant STLs into your 3D print software and press print (and then do a fair bit of support removal but shhhh).
I made the Iron Giant faced, hammer wielding maniac that you see above in about five minutes, and Modio told me that he should use about 25grams of material and print in three and a half hours. Clever this app!
I decided in honour of my excellent design skills to print Robot De Niro (yeah that’s what I’m calling him) in matching colours to his virtual counterpart. However, there was a slight snag… I only had white ABS and blue PLA. I was always going to have to do two print runs, that wasn’t the problem, the issue was the fact that I know from my year of ThingiThursday printing that ABS shrinks more than PLA and with these interlocking pieces this could ruin the model.
I took to social media to enquire about how much, roughly speaking, the percentage of shrinkage in ABS compares to that of PLA and fortunately RichRap (who else?) came up trumps with the following answer:
- Richard H @RichRap3D
- @prsnlz Good Question, more warp than shrink - ABS has more mix variation, it depends model shape & moisture too, but ABS ~2% and PLA ~0.5%
So when I came to the second print run, the PLA one, I scaled the STLs down to 0.985 in the UP! Plus software and to my surprise it worked!
I’d say it took a little longer and a little more material than Modio suggested but that is mainly down to the support, which looked like it was going to be a total nightmare to remove. It wasn’t.
I’m presuming this isn’t down to chance but the Modio parts have little holes designed into them, which seems to make support material removal, for the most part, fairly easy. There are areas were it is a little tough to get to but I think scaling the model up slightly might make this easier.
Considering the finished product was done on the fastest setting and the finishing by my own hand is at best rushed, at worst pitiful, the Modio-to-print app has produced perhaps my favourite thing I’ve ever printed on a ThingiThursday. The textures are visible and the parts are poseable and detailed, this is the type of 3D printing app children and parents alike will lap up.
Robot De Niro is now sitting pride of place on the divider between our desks and unlike some of the other, now binned, ThingiThursday prints he’s going to stay on that pedestal for some time.