Many people are still a bit intimidated by 3D design, and there are so many model marketplaces online that, in theory, you could still 3D print every day without running out of designs. Still, there’s nothing like designing and printing your own models, even for the casual user, and we’ve seen an increasing number of 3D design software programs geared specifically towards those casual users who may not have the time or desire to learn a full-fledged CAD program.
The popularity of such simplified design programs shows that those casual users are plentiful, and the success of Doodle3D, one creator of easy-to-use design apps, doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon. Started in 2012, the Dutch company was begun by Rick Companje, by no accounts a casual 3D printing fan – but still one who wanted 3D design to be much easier than it was at the time. He had just assembled his first 3D printer for FabLab Amersfoort, so he decided to follow it up by creating his own 3D software.
“With the affordability and accessibility of modern 3D printers we felt that powerful but easy 3D design tools are still lacking,” he said. “We want everyone to be able to get into 3D printing, without the barrier of learning a traditional CAD program before they can get their feet wet.”
In 2013, Companje and co-founder Nico van Dijk launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Doodle3D WiFi-Box, a simple device that allowed users to draw on a tablet and send the drawing wirelessly to a 3D printer. The Kickstarter surpassed its goal by over $20,000, and three years later, the company has grown to five people and is launching a new app – Doodle3D Transform.
Compatible with Android, Apple and Windows tablets and computers, Doodle3D Transform can be used either in a web browser or as a native app. The design was based largely on feedback from the first Kickstarter campaign, and while Transform works with the WiFi-Box, it doesn’t require it. Users can export their designs directly from the app to their printers, as well as to external services like Shapeways, Materialise and 3D Hubs.
The app’s interface is simple: the screen is split into two halves, a 2D half and a 3D half. On the 2D side, the user can draw a design or scan and trace 2D images. On the 3D side, those images can be easily transformed into 3D shapes, as well as tweaked and modified. It’s easy enough for kids, and is a great application for teaching children about 3D design at an early age, but it’s also appealing for adults.
“At Doodle3D we always try to make complicated tasks as simple as possible,” Companje told 3DPrint.com. “With our new Transform app we do this by look at a complicated 3D object and bringing it down to a bunch of 2D shapes. That way anyone can be a 3D-designer because making a flat drawing is something everyone can do.”
The Kickstarter, which ends this Friday, October 21, has already surpassed its €50,000 funding goal thanks to more than 1,300 backers, but you can still take advantage of some nice rewards if you’d still like to back it. Early bird rewards are long gone, but other incentives include discounted bundles, immediate access to the beta app as soon as the campaign ends, and more. The retail price of the app will be only €20,