3d design for fabrication: real world meets screen world
Newly available technologies for 3D fabrication — notably hobbyist 3D printers — are widening the user base for 3D design software. Autodesk, currently the industry leader in 3D design software, is broadening the scope of their activities, seeking to reach amateur users and to encourage their use of Autodesk software solutions. One of the most difficult aspects of 3D design for fabrication is that the resultant 3D models do not just need to be aesthetically pleasing, they also need to be able to be produced using specific fabrication technologies. Expert designers know this and use their expert knowledge and often idiosyncratic practices to make design decisions that allow objects to be properly made. An example of this would be a designer choosing a specific angle on an object such that the 3D printer can successfully print the object without the use of external supports. Similarly, the objects being produced also need to function appropriately in the real world. Designers thus make decisions that take into consideration the way gravity and other forces come into play. A simple example here would be the way in which a designer makes choices that allow an object with legs to stand up.