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3D Printing with Autodesk: Create and Print 3D Objects with 123D, AutoCAD and Inventor

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3D Printing with Autodesk: Create and Print 3D Objects with 123D, AutoCAD and Inventor

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  • Packed with full-color photos and screen shots
  • Covers the full Autodesk 123D suite, including Design, Catch, and Creature (as well as AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and alternative tools)
  • One of the few 3D printing tutorials that also focuses on project design
  • No technical background required, and 3D printer ownership not required: covers how to use third-party printing services


  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 304
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5328-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5328-1

3D Printing with Autodesk

Create and Print 3D Objects with 123D, AutoCAD, and Inventor

Create amazing 3D-printable objects fast with Autodesk 123D!

Imagine it. Then print it! Autodesk 123D gives you all the tools you need and it’s free. This easy, full-color guide will help you fully master 3D printing with Autodesk 123D even if you’ve never done any of this before. Authors John Biehler and Bill Fane have helped thousands of people join the 3D printing revolution—now it’s your turn. With step-by-step photos and simple projects, they teach you how to make the most of the whole 123D suite on Windows, Mac, and iPad. New to 3D printing? You’ll learn pro techniques for creating models that print perfectly the first time. Want to start fast? Discover how to scan photos straight into your models. Don’t have a 3D printer? Learn how to work with today’s most popular 3D printing services.

John Biehler discovered 3D printing several years ago and built his first 3D printer shortly thereafter. Since then, he’s shared his 3D printing knowledge with thousands of people at live events throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest and through online and broadcast media. He co-founded Vancouver’s fastest-growing group of 3D printing enthusiasts.

Bill Fane, an Autodesk Authorized Training Centre (ATC) certified instructor, has designed with AutoCAD since 1986. Fane has lectured on AutoCAD and Inventor at Autodesk University since 1995, and at Destination Desktop since 2003. He has written 220 The Learning Curve AutoCAD tutorials for CADalyst and holds 12 patents.

From start to finish, 3D Printing with Autodesk 123D covers all you need to know. So stop waiting and start creating!

  • Quickly get comfortable with the 123D workspace and key features
  • Learn the essentials of effective 3D object design
  • Practice 3D design hands-on with simple guided exercises
  • Generate detailed models from photos with 123D Catch
  • Create new 3D character “monsters” with 123D Creature
  • Prepare any 3D model for successful printing
  • Move from existing 3D CAD tools (if you’ve ever used them)
  • Design parts that are easy to print, and multi-part models that can be printed “pre-assembled”
  • Print through leading 3D printing services such as Shapeways, Ponoko, Fablab, and Hackerspaces

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Creating 3D Objects with Cameras and Autodesk 123D Catch

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 4 and Index)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Rise of 3D Printing 1

3D Printing Will Change the World 2

Chapter 2 Basic Principles of 3D Printing 5

How 3D Printing Works 5

    Layered Approach to 3D Printing 5

    Printing Time for Layers 17

        A More Realistic 3D Printing Example 18

Two Basic Types of Printers 20

    Deposition—Deposit This… 20

    Fusion—Take This Material And Stick It… 20

    Stacking Up: The Third Type of 3D Printing Process 21

Pros and Cons of 3D Printing Processes 21

    Pros and Cons of Deposition Printers 21

    Pros and Cons of Fusion Printers 24

Summary 24

Chapter 3 123D Creature for iPad 25

Creating a Creature 26

    Adding Bones and Joints 30

        Moving the Model 31

    Sculpting Your Creature 32

Working with Control Options 34

    Sharing Your Creature 45

Summary 50

Chapter 4 Creating 3D Objects with Cameras and 123D Catch 51

Photographing Objects 52

Correcting the Model 56

    Orienting the Model 59

    Repairing the Model 60

Summary 62

Chapter 5 Introducing 123D Design for iPad 63

123D Design Interface 65

    Primitives Parts 66

    Parts Kit Library 68

        Rotate Tool 70

        Scale Tool 70

        Adjust 71

        Combine Tools 74

        Reshape Tools 76

        Take a Picture Option 80

    Object Editing Tools 80

Project/File Menu Options 82

    Projects and Galleries 83

    Additional Support 83

    Saving to the Cloud 84

    Camera View 85

Summary 85

Chapter 6 123D Design Exercises for iPad 87

Creating New Projects 87

    Scaling and Smoothing Edges 91

    Using the Chamfer Tool 94

Manipulating Existing Projects 96

    Aligning the Model 100

    Finishing the Model 103

Sending a File to a 3D Printer 105

Summary 106

Chapter 7 Workspace Basics of 123D Design for Mac and PC 107

123D Design Templates 108

Starting a New Project 109

    Toolbar Controls 111

    Menu Options 113

Summary 120

Chapter 8 123D Design Exercises for Mac and PC 121

Exercise: Create a Coffee Mug 122

    Making the Mug Handle 129

Exercise: Create a Business Card Holder 140

Summary 149

Chapter 9 Preparing 3D Models for Printing 151

Code Used for Printing a 3D Model 152

Scale and Dimension 155

Manifold Geometry 156

Orientation 158

    Adding Support Material 159

    Place Good Side of Model Against Print Bed 160

    Consider Print Orientation 160

Summary 161

Chapter 10 The Difference Between Surface and Solid Models 163

The Solid Facts About CAD 163

Animated 3D CAD Models 166

Show Me Some Skin Models 168

AutoCAD Versus Inventor 171

Summary 172

Chapter 11 Why and How to Use 3D Printing 173

What Can Possibly Go Wrong, Go Wrong, Go Wrong… 173

    Using 3D Prototypes to Verify Designs 176

Manufacturing Small Quantities with 3D Printing 181

Creating Metal Parts with 3D Printing 182

Allowing for Shrinkage 183

    Using 3D Printing for Large Parts 184

Summary 184

Chapter 12 Designing Easy-to-Print Parts 185

Design Versus Make—Know the Process 185

    We Can Do This the Hard Way… 187

    …Or We Can Do This the Easy Way 189

Helpful Hints to Minimize Problems 191

    Size of the Little Details Matters 192

    No Visible Means of Support 192

        Fusion-Type Printers 194

        Deposition-Type Printers 194

Creating Usable 3D-Printable Threads 196

Solutions to 3D Printing Large Objects 197

Summary 198

Chapter 13 Designing Multipart Models to Print Preassembled 199

Effects of Printer Resolution on Parts 199

    Using Derived Part Functionality 200

Resolving Interference Problems 203

    Problems Unique to AutoCAD 203

    Issues with Ball and Roller Bearings 203

        Ball and Bearing Solutions 205

Considerations Before Using 3D Printing for Parts 208

    When Not to Use 3D Printing 209

Summary 211

Chapter 14 Exporting Models to a 3D Printer 213

Exporting STL Files 213

    Using Inventor to Export Files 213

    Using AutoCAD to Export Files 215

    Scale 216

    Optional Extras 217

        Resolution Setting Options 219

        Assemblies as Separate Files Option 219

Viewing STL Parts 220

    Inventor 2013 Users, Do NOT Try This at Home 220

        Inventor 2014’s Own File Naming Quirk 221

    Using STL Files to Translate CAD Models 222

Something Completely Nerdy 222

    The STL File Format Explained 222

        The Three Sides of STL Files 224

    G-Code Used to Send STL Files 225

Summary 227

Chapter 15 Using Inventor to Print Directly to Third-Party 3D Printing Services 229

Connecting to a Third-Party Print Service 229

    Options for 3D Printing 232

More Inventor STL Export Options 232

    3D Print Preview Button Bar Options 234

    Using the Assembly One File Option 237

Summary 239

Chapter 16 Using a Third-Party 3D Printing Service Bureau 241

Reasons to Use a Third-Party Service Bureau 241

    Capability of Service Bureau Machines 242

    Players in the Third-Party Service Arena 242

Uploading 3D Projects to Third-Party Services 242

    Ordering a 3D Print 242

        Using the Edit Details Tab 247

Pricing and Materials Options 249

    Checkout Options 252

Summary 252

Chapter 17 The Future of 3D Printing 253

The Future According to Bill 253

The Future According to John 255

Index 257


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