June 14, 2018
MatterControl has the tools to enable designing and creating your own models and 3D prints. With an array of new tools called "Design Tools" you can now combine and subtract different parts together to create something brand new and your own. But if that still sounds a little too intimidating for you we have an answer for that too: Design Apps. Rather than having to create a 3D model entirely from scratch, instead you have several parameters you can change to make it fit exactly what you need.
In the office, when we set out to 3D print something that we need, we'll search around and see if someone else has done it first. In most cases we are able to find what we're are looking for. But in other cases, the model is close to what we need but in some way "off." Like needing a drilling jig but the angle is too shallow, or the hole diameter is too small for the screws we need to use. In that case we needed to model our own part to make it work. It would be a lot easier if everyone had the ability to customize and modify the original jig to their exact specifications, but there weren't easy ways to go about it. Design Apps was born from that need.
In its current form, Design Apps are models that we create and publish, with the goal of allowing anyone to publish and share their app. The intent is that just like how you can modify the primitive shapes, there are similar parameters for the app. Like with the drill jig example, instead of changing the diameter of a cylinder or number of sides of the object, you can change the diameter of the hole in the jig or the angle of the hole with a few clicks.
One of the apps that we have currently is a business card holder. You can input what you want in the specified fields and it automatically updates to fit the text within the allowed space. One version of the business card holder will allow you to change the font and the text of the words on it, another version will update to an image that you can import yourself, and there's even another version that has both an image and text that you can modify, all while maintaining that everything remains within the boundaries of the business card holder's face.
You can take the holder, put your company's logo on it, your coworkers' names on it, and print out an entire collection of models for the office without having any modeling experience. With Design Apps it becomes much easier to get started 3D modeling and 3D printing, and once you do it's really easy to get hooked.
That about sums up how Design Apps work and where the idea sprung from, now it's up to you to put them to use. Of course, there are many more Apps that you can play with and many more that we will be developing from here on out.
We really hope that makers take this to heart and that we inspire those that might not normally try creating something and instead find a much smaller barrier to entry. Once you've created something, share it with us! Use the #MatterControl tag on social media and let us know what you've designed using MatterControl.
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