123D Make for Mac. Source: WhiteClouds
123D Make for Mac. Source: WhiteClouds

123D Make for Mac is an app that breathes life into 3D models. This software transforms 3D models for laser cutting, origami folding, cardboard or plywood construction. It is a highly customizable app that integrates with Autodesk which is favored by professionals. On the other hand, an amateur can successfully learn how to create DYI projects. It is available as a free download at the iTunes App Store. 

Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you will be presented with a tutorial that walks you through all the steps needed to turn your 2D plans into a 3D project. 

In the tutorial you will learn how to:

Choose a 3D Model – open a model and choose a construction technique

Auto-create 2D Plans - Automatically generate 2D vector cut patterns and animated assembly instructions

Make your object - Print out your 2D parts.  Cut them out by hand, with a   laser cutter, or have them cut for you and delivered to your door.

Use the Tools – adjust setting to change size, construction and model output

Cut A Layout – Preview your 2D cut layout. Diagnose construction issues for error-free assembly

Use 3D Viewport – Instantly see your changes to the model.  Select a slice and drag to change its position

There are 4 different build techniques:

Curve –Ideal for curvy shapes; assists in defining the sweep of your interlocked slices by applying an editable spline.

Interlocked – Use slotted assemblies; no glue required.

Radial – Use for rounded shapes such as a bowl; defines the rotation axis.

Stacked – Cut cross-sections to stack into desired project.

You will have the opportunity to choose what material you wish to use, the size of your project and the slice direction. Step-by-step instructions are provided to guide you through the assembly process.  Finally, you can save the STL or OBJ file to your computer and then either print it on a personal 3D printer or send it to a 3D printing service such as WhiteClouds.

Once you have completed the tutorial, you will come to the opening screen that gives three options:


Draw a 2D shape

See it three dimensionally as it revolves in Stacked or Radial mode

View assembly video

Access to 2D plans that can be printed on an inkjet printer

Email PDF file

Order the plans laser cut


Opens a file that has been previously created in 123D Make


Load kits that have been made with 123D Make on the PC or Mac.  Eight files are included to get you started. After choosing a file, you are taken to a screen where you will see the revolving 3D model. At this point you can:

See project revolve

View assembly video 

Access to 2D plans which can be printed on an inkjet printer 

Email PDF file

Order the plans laser cut