Chapter 7

Resources mentioned in Chapter 7 – Fabrication
  • Thingiverse – Thingiverse is a place to search for or share digital designs with the world for laser cutters, CNC machines, 3D printers, and even automated paper cutters. The site is hosted by 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot.
  • Make Magazine 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide – Annual comparison and recommendations for 3D printers of various types and price ranges.
  • Make Magazine 3D Printer Comparison Rubric – Make Magazine offers a rubric of over 60 questions used in their annual roundup that can be a guide to evaluating your own printer purchase.
  • Make Magazine Annual Guide to Digital Fabrication – Make Magazine publishes an annual issue with reviews and recommendations of the latest fabrication tools. Some of this is not online, so if you are not a subscriber to the magazine, it is worth buying the PDF online or finding this issue at a bookstore near you.
  • All 3DP – All 3DP has news, reviews, and guides for 3D printers, lasercutters, and other fabrication devices.
  • Tom’s Guide – Reviews for consumer electronics, but also 3D printers, filament, drones, computers, and more.
  • All About Laser Cutters – A comprehensive guide for laser cutters: buying, maintenance, setup, and more from Adafruit.
  • Die Cutter Comparison Guide – Die cutter machines, including vinyl and craft cutters, advice, reviews, and hardware comparisons.
  • Digital Fabrication Comparison – Comparison chart: CNC router, laser cutter, vinyl/cardboard cutter, 3D printer.
  • Instructables Introduction to 3D printing – Simple introduction to 3D printing with many photographs.
  • Cricut – A variety of cutters and resources for home and education.
  • Silhouette cutters – A variety of cutters and resources for home and education.
  • Tinkercad – A free, easy to use, online Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) program. It is a favorite of many schools for its friendly interface, tutorials, and is free. One of the Autodesk line of 3D modeling programs.
  • SketchUp – A free, easy to use 3D modeling program. There is an online warehouse of models to download or contribute to.
  • Fusion 360 – Autodesk 3D CAD/CAM design software for students, educators, and academic institutions.
  • Autodesk Student Software Licenses – Autodesk publishes a wide range of professional CAD and 3D design software tools. They have free student licenses with minor restrictions for many of them.
  • Adobe Illustrator – Vector graphics software.
  • Inkscape – Free open source vector graphics software.
  • MeshLab – Free, open source software for editing 3D meshes.
  • Beetle Blocks – Visual code for 3D design in the Logo tradition. Free and runs in the browser.
  • Makers Empire – Easy to use software for 3D modeling, design, and printing. Tools for teacher management of student projects. Works on tablets, Macs, and PCs. The app itself is free, but additional features are not.
  • Blender – Blender is a widely used open source 3D creation tool, free to use for any purpose and supported by a worldwide developer and user community. Blender has a high learning curve but may interest students who are fans of 3D animation or video games.
  • Maya – Autodesk 3D animation, modeling, and simulation software.
  • Corel Draw – All-in-one graphic design software offers home/school licenses, tutorials, and project ideas.
  • FreeCAD – 3D parametric modeling software. Free and open source.
  • BlocksCAD – Cloud-based, free programmable 3D modeling software with a block-based interface.
  • OpenSCad – Free software for creating parametric 3D models.
  • Meshmixer – Autodesk software to clean up meshes for 3D printing. Free.
  • Sculptris – Virtual sculpting software. Free.
  • Shapeways – Upload a design and it will be printed and delivered to you. Also offers a community and marketplace to sell your own designs.
  • Sculpteo – Print your 3D object or get an object laser cut in a variety of materials. Browse designer collections or open a 3D object store. Offers plugins for SketchUp and Blender.
  • Ponoko – Create your own design or modify someone else’s with an easy to use “Personal Factory.” Your object will be delivered to you in plastic, wood, metal, ceramics, acrylic, or other materials.
  • 3D Hubs – Global network of local 3D print facilities.
  • i.materialize – Belgium-based 3D printing with world-wide shipping. Also has an extensive shop for designed objects.
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