Source: Shutterstock/Slavoljub Pantelic
Source: Shutterstock/Slavoljub Pantelic

“3D meets DIY.”

123D Make by Autodesk is a program that will turn your 3D designs into to do-it-yourself projects and bring them into reality. The program is available for free for your PC or Mac, iOS device, or as an online app. This article looks specifically at the online app.

With the 123D Make web app, you can upload your own 3D file or use an object that another user has created and shared. 123D Make will slice the object into many layers and then export an EPS file. You can then use a laser cutter to cut each layer out of cardboard. Glue the pieces together and you’ve created a physical representation of your digital object.

The downloadable version of 123D Make will also export a PDF with patterns for your parts so you can cut the parts out yourself. This eliminates the need to have access to a laser cutter. 

123D Make is a great tool to introduce students to 3D design, manufacturing and 3D printing. 

Here’s an overview of 123D Make’s features:

AUTODESK 123D MAKE Logo – The Autodesk 123D Make Logo is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Click the logo to access a drop-down menu with five options: Open, Save, Save a Copy, Download Sheets and Project info.

Open – Opens a file in 123D Make. You can open a file from four different locations including:

My Projects – View and open the projects you’ve saved in the Autodesk cloud.

Browse My Computer – Search for 3D files that you’ve saved on your computer.

Open from Gallery – Open projects uploaded and shared by other 123D Make users.

Open an Example – Autodesk has provided 6 different examples you can open. This is a good way to explore the features of 123D Make without uploading your own designs. Examples include a Spitfire airplane, a dental chair, the Eiffel Tower, a steam train, a moose and the Taj Mahal.

Save – Save your project to the Autodesk cloud. You can name your project, add tags and a description so others can find it, and make your project public or private.

Save a Copy – Save a copy of your project to the Autodesk cloud. This option has the same features as Save.

Download Sheets – Download an EPS file that you can then use to cut out parts with a laser cutter.

Project Info – View and update your project info including Title, Tag, Description and Visibility.

Me – Access your projects and Autodesk account. You Autodesk account has your profile, downloads, community activity, purchase history and more.

? – Click the question mark in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to access support options for 123D Make including Quick Start Tips, a Support Forum, Blog, and the 123D Website. You can also view the 123D Make About page.

Tool Bar – The Tool Bar is located on the right side of the screen and includes four different tools:

Orbit – Rotate your object.

Hand tool – Pan your object.

Zoom – Zoom in and out on your object. 

Sizing Tool – The sizing tool is located at the bottom of the screen and allows you to size your object by the depth (D), width (W), or height (H).

Construction Technique – The Construction Technique icon is located just to the left of the Sizing tool at the bottom of the screen. Choose the slicing panel direction based on the X, Y or Z axis.

You can also choose to construct your object using folded paper panels. Choose between three options when using paper panels, depending on how much detail you want to show and how complicated you want the model. The options are Coarse, Rough, and Fine.

Unit – The unit of measurement is displayed in the lower right corner of the screen. Click Unit to select centimeters, millimeters or inches.

Sheet Preview – The Sheet Preview is located on the right side of the screen as a small blue tab. This displays what the parts will look like on a sheet. At the bottom of the Sheet Preview there is a button to Download Sheets. This will export an EPS file of your project.

123D Make makes it affordable to create a physical object from a digital 3D design. It works seamlessly with Autodesk’s other 123D apps. You can launch the web version of 123D Make here. Find more information on 123D Make here.