If you know anything at all about designing in three dimensions on a computer in the past few decades, then you’ve probably heard of AutoCAD. For the uninitiated, CAD is short for “computer aided design.” Back in 1982, John Walker and Mike Riddle coauthored AutoCAD, a commercial software application for 2D and 3D designing and drafting. It’s users hail from a pretty wide range of industries; they’re industrial and graphic designers, engineers, architects, project managers and more.
With its flagship product being AutoCAD, Autodesk, Inc., based in San Rafael, California, was born, although the company’s been through a name change or two. As of 2014, AutoCAD is in its 29th generation and it has also inspired a variety of other CAD programs which has made Autodesk into a major, multinational software corporation.
On January 30, 2015, Autodesk added the latest version of Meshmixer–Meshmixer 2.8–to its suite of 3D-design applications. Meshmixer 2.8 joins 123D Design, 123D Make, 123D Sculpt+, 123D Catch, 123D Circuits, Tinkercad, and Project Shapeshifter as a member of the Autodesk 3D design family of products.
Meshmixer 2.8 users can now open and save to and from their 123D projects within the application! What’s Meshmixer? Like the other open source Autodesk 123D products, its free to use. It lets you combine existing designs from other apps. Meshmixer is where individual 3D objects from other apps like 123D Sculpt+ go to create a more complex 3D composition–your own Frankenstein’s monster, if you will.
In Meshmixer 2.8, you can browse the 123D Gallery of uploaded projects by other designers, do searches, of grab some of your own existing 3D designs from other apps to mix, sculpt, paint, or otherwise adjust. You can use Meshmixer 2.8 to refine a design and then prep the mesh for 3D printing. You can open and heal a capture from 123D Catch in order to 3D print and then you can share it back to 123D. Meshmixer 2.8 allows you to view all of the 123D models you’ve produced and save them to your online 123D account, regardless of which 123D app you used. And, of course, you can save your designs for public access, so that other 3D designers can admire your work and use it, too.
If you haven’t used Meshmixer yet, give the new 2.8 version a try, now that it has been mashed–or is that meshed? or mixed?–with the 123D design crew. Downloads are free and there are countless tutorials if you’re new to 3D design. Let us know what your thoughts are on this latest version. Discuss in the Meshmixer forum thread on 3DPB.com.