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123D Make is a construction plan generator to create 3D models in real life. Given an STL or OBJ file, the program attempts to generate a layered, interlocked, or folded assembly design that the user can create using household items, according to their preferred mode of construction. Cardboard, plywood, and plastic are all acceptable materials for this task. Even paper is fine if the user opts for the more adventurous origami (folded) route.
Once you obtain a 3D model in STL or OBJ format, you can import it into the app. After selecting a mode of construction, the plan design is generated, with both an exportable map of the shapes to be used in construction and a step-by-step assembly walkthrough in 3D. The shapes could feasibly be printed on regular paper, which could then be used as a guide for the cuts on thicker material. But recognizing the potential difficulty of this, Autodesk offers a service where they cut and ship the material for you - for a fee, of course. While the origami route is an alternative one, it seems rather experimental, without any detailed instruction on how to use the calculated shapes to create the desired object.
Sam's Protip: If the model you're trying to use has a high polygon count, it will take a while to import, but as long as the program doesn't crash while it's in the process you can reduce the complexity of the construction plans by reducing its size - otherwise you can easily end up with an impractical 1000+ step procedure on your hands.
- Cool way to turn 3D model into a real object with household materials
- Integrates well with other programs in the 123D suite
- Only accepts STL and OBJ files
- Many models, even fairly simple ones, do not generate viable solutions