Tag Archives: 123D

Autodesk Shows off 123D Catch Software and 3D Printing at Google I/O

Autodesk 123D at Google IO

At the Google I/O conference in San Francisco this week, 3D printing was a popular theme. We reported earlier about the 3D Systems Cubify team hosting a printing station. Also at the conference was the Autodesk 123D team.

They were showing off their design software called 123D Catch, software for your laptop or iPad that lets you import a series of photos of a physical object and create a precise 3D model from those photos. The software is powered by the cloud and takes about 10 to 15 minutes to produce a model. In the example they were showing, the team had taken 30 photos of a marble statue in a museum and the software created a rich 3D model that was ready to print.

Autodesk 123D Catch App

The Autodesk team was also printing objects on the MakerBot replicator.

Autodesk 123D MakerBot Google IO


Read more about Autodesk and 123D in our previous coverage.

Photos from Google I/O by on3dprinting.com.


Top 10 Countdown: Most Popular 3D Printing Stories in May 2012

Amy Elliott Virginia Tech DREAM Vendor

Here are the top 10 most popular stories On 3D Printing brought you in May 2012.

10. 3D Systems acquired FreshFiber for 3D printed electronics accessories.

9. We wrote an editorial analyzing the space of 3D printing creators and consumers.

8. We reviewed SketchUp, Tinkercad, and 123D modeling software.

7. The fashion runway was 3D printed in Belgium.

6. The Motley Fool weighed in on public 3D printing manufacturers.

5. We featured companies exhibiting at Maker Faire Bay Area 2012.

4. Why Google sold SketchUp and what it means for 3D printing.

3. A 3D printing vending machine surfaced at Virginia Tech.

2. This New House: constructing and printing WikiHouse.

1. We featured Brad Feld as a premiere venture capitalist looking at 3D printing investments.


Thanks for reading in May!

Top 3D Printing Headlines from Last Week: SketchUp, Medical, Toys, Jobs

Dr. Ivo Lambrichts Displays 3D Printed Jaw

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from April 30 to May 6.

Monday, April 30

Tuesday, May 1

Wednesday, May 2

Thursday, May 3

Friday, May 4

Stable Design: 3D Printing with Autodesk 123D and MakerBot [Video]

3D Printing Solid Model Foundation

The video below shows an expert tutorial on how to create a flat surface foundation on the bottom of your design in Autodesk 123D before sending it to your MakerBot for 3D printing. This is important so that your model can stand up as it’s being printed and will continue to be stable once it leaves the printer and is used in the real world.

Why Google Sold SketchUp and What It Means for 3D Printing

Google Sketchup at Maker Faire

Google acquired upstart SketchUp in 2006, made the product free, and drove tens of millions of users. Now Google is selling the SketchUp product and staff to Trimble, a company best known for GPS technology.

On the SketchUp blog, John Bacus, Product Manager, SketchUp wrote:

In its time at Google, SketchUp has become one of the most popular 3D modeling tools in the world. With over 30 million SketchUp activations in just the last year, we’re awfully proud of our accomplishments. But there’s still so much we want to do, and we think we’ve found a way forward that will benefit everyone—our product, our team and especially our millions of users.

That’s why I’m sharing today that the SketchUp team and technology will be leaving Google to join Trimble. We’ll be better able to focus on our core communities: modelers who have been with us from the beginning, as well as future SketchUppers who have yet to discover our products.

Why Did Google Sell SketchUp?

The simple answer is focus. As founder and new CEO Larry Page wrote in his 2012 update to investors, ”Since becoming CEO again, I’ve pushed hard to increase our velocity, improve our execution, and focus on the big bets that will make a difference in the world.”

SketchUp apparently is not included in Google’s big bets.

Good Move by Trimble

Google made the investment to turn SketchUp into a popular software platform. Trimble can capitalize on that brand. Trimble announced in a press release that SketchUp would “enhance its office-to-field platform”.

Trimble will also continue to partner with Google on running and the SketchUp 3D warehouse, an online repository where users find and collaborate on 3D models. And Trimble will keep offering a free version of SketchUp.

“SketchUp and the corresponding 3D Warehouse provide an important element of our long term strategy by enhancing the integration of our field presence with the wider enterprise,” said Bryn Fosburgh, Trimble vice president.

Did Google Make a Mistake?

Google’s move is surprising to those who believe 3D printing is at an inflection point and will be a disruptive force on our global supply chain by empowering a new generation of product creators.

We reviewed Autodesk 123D, Sketchup and Tinkercad and later featured Anarkik3D, a crowdfunding hopeful. Although SketchUp was not necessarily the best design software for 3D printing, it was one of the most popular free 3D design software packages on the planet and inspired many people to get into design. Google has now lost that audience.

We have previously suggested that giants like Amazon would get into the 3D printing field. It would surprise us if Google stayed out of the industry altogether.

Perhaps SketchUp was too technical of a product for the mainstream. Should we prepare for a new 3D modeling software from Google? A web-based 123D of their own? Or perhaps a different play.

Impact on 3D Printing?

Not much today, as summarized by Fabbaloo:

Is this a big change for 3D print operators? We think not so much, because SketchUp just isn’t the best tool for modeling solid objects. It doesn’t even output the STL format used by all 3D printers unless you install a special plug in.

But the long term impact depends on whether Google re-enters the 3D printing field with a new product.


Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid, used under Creative Commons license.