With the launch of the new version of Microsoft’s operating system, the users have the opportunity to become acquainted with the new fairly important function.
Today, we are already after preliminary tests of the 3D Builder, which is an integral part of Windows 10. I can already say, it is good, but it could be even better. When I started the program my first thought was: Tinkerplay, the software developed by Autodesk. The programs have a similar interface, based on the wheel motif, however, they are intended for other user groups. Tinkerplay is designed to be fun for children, who can easily create their first 3D model and then print it using an outside service or their own 3D printer. In the case of the 3D Builder, the target group are home users who already have a finished model in one of the supported formats: 3mf, stl, obj, or ply. The program, in addition to viewing these formats, enables their simplified editing. If I were to look for analogies from Windows, I suppose Paint should come to mind.
We start our program.
It loads up the models very smoothly. The first thing the user needs to do is to select the unit of measurement in which the further processing of the file will be carried out.
After selecting the unit, the program “analyzes” the model for any invalid layers which could damage the printout, with just a click you can make the program try to fix such a model. It is certainly not a perfect method, and it may not work properly with more complex models, but for simpler objects the repair is successful and you can promptly move on to toy with your model.
The program’s interface immediately makes the finger wants to touch the screen (regardless if it is a touchscreen or not).
The upper part of the circular menu allows you to rotate, scale, and change the position of the edited object, the latter feature is especially useful if the you want to add another object to the “scene”, or duplicate a shape that you are editing. Scaling an object also allows you to change its shape. When you remove the restriction it becomes possible to stretch/contract one of the dimensions, and, for example, make a high vase out of a spherical one.
The lower part of the menu consists of three basic buttons:
- Object Mode
The object mode allows you to create groups of models, duplicate them, delete etc.
After clicking on the edit mode the user gets additional features, such as:
- Plane cut
The first option allows you to place your own inscriptions and shapes onto elements of the model. The program is doing very well on flat, round and cylindrical surfaces. Like was the model, we can also change the size of the inscription, its protrusion and the method of its adjustment to the substrate, we could as well “weave” it around the ball.
The Plance cut allows the user to divide the object into two parts which will enable printing more complex shapes or bigger details.
The following two features can be useful, though only in certain conditions. Simplify and Smooth allow you to manipulate the number of triangles in the model, which may have surprising effects, as you can see it the following pictures.
What is next?
When you finish working with the program, it would be nice to somehow use the results of our work. We have several options. If you have a 3D printer compatible with the system, you can begin printing right away.
In case you have no such device, you can use “in the cloud” printing services, however, this option is very disappointing, because the file is sent to cubify.com where you need to go through all the purchasing steps. Currently, it is not clear whether Cubify will be the sole service provider for the 3D Builder, or perhaps the function will be enhanced with other contractors.
Fortunately, we are not forced to use the print service, you can save the result of your work in stl or one of other three file formats. Every time you are warned that stl is not the best choice to store 3D model files and there is always a suggestion to save in 3mf. This is, of course, not surprising given the fact that 3mf is a new standard developed by Microsoft and other companies of the consortium.
Do you need to be interested in this program?
The answer is simple, it is well worth it and in fact necessary, if you are a Windows 10 user, the program is likely to become your primary stl file viewer. It is quick and convenient and it also offers the possibility of basic editing. I believe that the program may suffer defeat only if it turns out that it is not able to cope with more complex models. As of now, it does not seem to be the case.