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Laser-cut 3D forms made simple with easy to use plugins

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Laser-cut 3D forms made simple with easy to use plugins Powered By Docstoc
					Laser-cut 3D forms made simple with easy to use plugins It happens to the best of us
鈥?you dream up something great, a design that could change the world (or at least
your part of it) and have it ready to explode into reality, only to be held back by the
complications of the design process.. Users of Google SketchUp will be stoked to find
that recent plugins are making it even easier for them to create their own great designs.
Google SketchUp allows you to build models from scratch, or you can download what
you need. These include:
  聽 聽 聽 鈥 ⒙ 犅 犅 ?SliceModeler by Public Art International (available for a
$10-$50 donation) 聽聽聽 鈥⒙犅犅?SVG Outline plugin by Flights of Ideas
Sliceform modelling is a technique which lies happily on the borders between art and
mathematics. The models are made from intersecting sets of parallel panels made of
paper, cardboard, wood, plexiglas or MDF which slot together to generate interesting
3-dimensional surfaces or objects. Slicemodeler allows you to take a 3D form and
slice it up into interlocking pieces through a series of simple steps. You enter the
distance apart that you want the sections, the material thickness, choose which axes
the slices are on, and the software calculates the intersections. Slicemodeler is based
on the work of John Sharp - watch this interview to hear more about it.
  Once you have all the slices, that 鈥檚 when the SVG outline plugin comes in.
Select the sections you want (that have been conveniently laid out by Slicemodeler)
and hit Export to SVG file.聽聽 Now you have a file (or files) you can open in
Inkscape or Illustrator to arrange for laser cutting. The SVG export plugin also lets
you label the different parts so you can keep track of things.
  Users who prefer using other modeling programs should be able to take advantage
too - simply model your designs in your preferred program and then import them into
SketchUp. Then use the plugins available to take them even further.
  The process goes something like this: 聽聽聽 鈥⒙犅犅?Create the form in
SketchUp 聽聽聽 鈥⒙犅犅?If you are using a different modeling program, you'll
then need to export a .3ds file and import it into SketchUp 聽聽聽 鈥⒙犅犅?Run
SliceModeler (see above) 聽聽聽 鈥⒙犅犅?Export SVG files from SketchUp 聽聽
聽 鈥⒙犅犅?Open in Illustrator (or similar), label and laser cutting
  It's a great simple process compared to having to imagine how these pieces fit
together and design them by hand in two dimensions.
  Previously, this style of form creation has been possible with premium 3D modeling
software like Rhino, but the great thing about SketchUp and its plugins is that they are
free/super cheap.聽
  This significantly lowers the barriers that stop people creating. The plugins being
made available either free or for a small donation make it totally worthwhile to
support the great independent software creators that add huge value to these bigger
software packages.
  With the lower entry barrier, don't be surprised if a proliferation of designs that share
a design language emerges. The next challenge - how to add details to your designs to
make them stand out from the rest! http://designyourown.ponoko.com

				
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posted:2/23/2011
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