When the 3D printing hype train started a few years back we were promised that in a few years everyone would have a printer in their home and effortlessly replace things like broken knobs on appliances or 3D print any household item that we could ever want. However, in reality 3D printable models don’t just appear out of thin air, and while CAD software is starting to become much more user friendly, there still isn’t a way for novices to quickly design an object that doesn’t look like it was designed by a novice. Yoda heads, cell phone cases and vases with geometric patterns are great and all, but there is only so much of those that any one person needs.
The 3D printing industry’s lack of useful objects to 3D print will continue to hold its expansion into the mainstream back until there are options for people who have never used 3D modeling software. While design software is improving rapidly, it isn’t happening fast enough for beginners and 3D printing neophytes. Thankfully there are finally a few more options that are designed to auto-generate 3D models. The 3D modeling app 3D Slash is probably one of the easiest of this new wave of 3D model auto-generation software platforms, and for many of their features, new users don’t need to know how to do much of anything to create 3D printable files.
3D Slash already has several easy-to-use 3D modeling tools, including a Classic Mode that provides users with a cube of material that they can be slowly or quickly chipped away at. Alternatively they offer the Empty Mode with provides users with an empty grid that they can fill with small building blocks. And of course they offer an Import Mode, so users can upload existing STL files and use the simple 3D Slash tools to alter it. Then any of the 3D models that are designed by users will already be a 3D printable model and will require no further editing or adjustments.
The Parisian company is constantly adding new functionality to the 3D Slash app, and they just launched a set of new features to their web-based design tool that makes 3D printing more accessible than ever before. The new 3D Slash updates include several simple ways to to create 3D models from a 2D logo, or as easy as just entering a bit of text.
The new Text Mode allows users to enter basic text into 3D Slash and then select from a handful of fonts and italic or bold script. The text will automatically be converted into a 3D model that can be edited, colored or altered with a handful of tools. The Logo Mode is exactly what you think it is: users upload a 2D logo and the program will automatically turn it into a 3D logo. Both of these tools are extremely easy to use with intuitive controls and low learning curve.
The final new feature added this week was the integrated 3D Viewer that allows registered users to share their 3D creations on blogs or on their social media pages just like they would any image or video. Any of the models that they designed can generate code that allows an interactive viewer to be seen and manipulated like the example below:
Last month 3D Slash added the functionality to include adding color to blocks, or even the ability to paint detailed images. The color feature includes two different tools, either a fill “bucket” that turns an entire cube into single color or the “brush” tool which allows the ability to paint or tint colors individual colors. Just like all of the 3D models that can be generated using 3D Slash, the 3D printable files can be sent off to print with just the click of a button.
3D Slash is currently available as an app on all devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry pi, iOS and Android and is available both online and offline. You can try out all of the 3D Slash tools online for free.