MakerBot And Autodesk Demo 123D Programs In NYC

MakerBot was on hand this evening as a key member of the Maker community, as Autodesk discussed direction for their family of personal 3D modeling and digital fabrication programs. Autodesk President and CEO Carl Bass and VP of Consumer Products Samir Hanna talked eagerly about their company’s embrace of the Maker Movement, with Bass describing himself as a lifelong maker and sharing some great photos of his own creations throughout the years.

As an aside, VentureBeat captured a shoutout from O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly, who suggested technical revolutions come from smart, creative people using the tools available to have fun. VentureBeat aptly tied the remark to the MakerBot community, and tonight’s event with Autodesk was a great reminder that this stuff is just plain fun.

Here’s what I mean: our MakerBot station was set up with a couple Replicators right next to the 123D Catch guys. This program allows a user to upload a set of images of an object. Snap 20 or so pictures of something like, for example, this garden gnome.

The photos are interpreted sequentially, so as you circle with your camera, the software knows to find its anchor points and reconcile them into a single 3D model. What you see on the screen in the photo below is not a photograph, it’s a high-res, finely detailed mesh that you can view from any angle. If it’s not clear to you, think: magic. That’s kinda what this is.

The end result is a printable file. We had this miniature gnome off the build platform in minutes, and it was just so easy!

Bass spoke recently at a panel about craftsmanship and technology where he commented that the ease of digital fabrication, with products like the 123D programs and printers like the MakerBot, is potentially “rewriting the fundamental economic equation of the industrial revolution,” an idea he repeated tonight. Rather than rely on mass production to achieve high quality at manageable costs, we can now produce high quality objects that fit individual needs. And there’s “no difference when I make one and when I make 1,000.”

With products like 123D Catch, which includes a free version, by the way, along with 123D Make and 123D Sculpt, the MakerBotting future seems eerily easy and bright.