There are many 3D modeling tools to choose from in order to create your 3D designs. Some are free, some are moderately priced, and some are outright expensive. But not one of these were created with the express intent of producing a design that will be 3D printed.
3D Systems, hot on the heals of introducing it’s home Cube 3D printer, along with its supporting Cubify website, has just released a new 3D design product called Cubify Invent. According to 3D Systems, it’s the first 3D design program created to specifically support 3D printers. And most specifically, of course, their own 3D printer, the Cube.
It’s a $49 program (there’s a 15-day free trial) that (sigh) only works on Windows. We don’t understand this thinking, as the Cube just looks like something that should connect to a Mac. I had also thought of it as a printer that would make a great Christmas gift for kids of well-to-do families–but these kids aren’t using Windows, they are using Macs. Oh well.
Cubify Invent will import STEP, IGES, SAT, and Solidworks file formats that have single parts only; if your file contains multiple parts, you will not be able to load it. You can save 3D models natively in the Cubify Invent file format (.fun) or export STL files. If you import non-native files, there is an option to try and “heal” models with problems that could affect the print.
As we said (big sigh, again), Invent only runs on Windows. It is a 32-bit program and can run on 32 and 64-bit operating systems, which include Windows XP Professional or Home Edition with Service Pack 3. Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The website has four instructional videos that will show you how to use the program, which sounds like it’s pretty simple to become proficient in. I wanted to embed at least one of them here, but alas, they chose not to make there videos shareable. So, if you are interested, head over to their site and watch the roughly 30 minutes of tutorials to get an idea of how you like the product.
From the 3D Systems press release:
Cubify Invent combines the power of professional design software with intuitive, free tutorials that make learning fun and easy. People familiar with basic CAD tools like SketchUp(R), and new users alike, can quickly advance to create and make in 3D, transforming even their most complex designs into 3D printables with Cubify Invent. Cubify members can access cloud-printing services for their creations or print their designs on Cube(R), the world’s first 3D printer for the home.
“We are thrilled to offer the most affordable and powerful 3D design tool on Cubify today. Cubify Invent, combines our extensive 3D printing and design expertise to deliver a unique create-and-make experience to beginners and professionals alike, and this is just the beginning,” promised Cathy Lewis, Vice President of Global Marketing for 3D Systems.
It looks like 3D Systems is creating quite an ecosystem around their Cube.