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images (1)Shapeways is certainly in the business of indulging and encouraging the free spirit and creativity of artists and designers. They understand though, as do those experienced in design and innovation, that for the best work you do often need some structure—and, a plan; after all, it’s not much fun if your 3D model doesn’t turn out looking spectacular–just like you envisioned.

oneIf you are worried about that, or just looking to do some designing and having fun, Shapeways can streamline the process for you as your ideas flow from concept to fruition with 3D design. With their fresh new design tool, the newly released Shapeways 3D tools can help you comprehensively plan everything for your 3D model from size to shape to all the intricate details in between that make up a great design.

While the popular Shapeways 3D Tools was released to the public in January, they’ve just announced two more new features:

  • Bounding box visualization
  • Part count visualization

twoWith bounding box visualization that is material specific, Shapeways wants to help you have added understanding of how to deal with the size of the 3D model and what you can use to 3D print it. While it’s easy to use zoom features to view your model before it’s actually gone to print, there are schematics to consider between that and material. With their bounding box feature, Shapeways shows you how to get perspective on the size of your model and how to change it—not just overall—but in specific areas. The bounding box shows you:

  • Where the model is too big or too small (in red)
  • Perspective with the maximum and minimum bounding box oriented around your model as a transparent box

It becomes quite simple as the bounding box either contains your design or colors the parts that need to be re-sized in red. The program allows you the flexibility of moving the design around from that mode.

fourOnce you’ve mastered sizing and scaling of your design, Shapeways has created their second new feature, part-count visualization, so that you and your work do not fall victim to the loose shell, unintentionally. When models with many different details are created it’s easy to overlook disconnected parts that are not meant to be so. Again, with the use of color, part-count visualization makes it extremely easy to see what’s going on with your design details. Parts are colored so that if there is a disconnection or loose shell, you can easily see it and repair or re-design that issue, with the loose shells appearing in different colors from the rest of the connected design mass.

Shapeways is definitely following through with their commitment to seeing that their designers are able to create with confidence—and it’s obvious they’ve been diligently acting on the feedback they receive from members of their 3D printing marketplace and community. Headquartered in New York, Shapeways has a vast array of resources available to everyone of all ages and design levels in their 3D printing marketplace and community.

Have you been using Shapeways 3D Tools? Do you think these new features will be helpful in terms of issues you’ve encountered with their new software, or just in 3D designing in general? What do you find are challenges in sizing and deciding on materials? Discuss in the Shapeways 3D Tools New Features forum over at 3DPB.com.

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