Becoming a 3D Design Hero

By FPL_Adam

Did you know you have access to 3D printers at the Frisco Public Library?

When I first saw a 3D printer in action, it seemed I had a THOUSAND ideas of how I could use a 3D printer to create objects that would just make my life better. Instantly I wanted to 3D print a way to organize all those memory cards for my camera that actually fit in that little spot on my desk. However, I just didn’t know how to create the 3D models of the objects I envisioned.   

Step 0: Inspire Me

Need a little inspiration to see what others have done with a 3D printer? Check out the website thingiverse.com.  Users share their 3D designs and you can download them for free. You will find everything from objects that solved household problems to fun objects that will make you smile.

I found a few examples similar to what I wanted to achieve. I used some of the ideas I saw here

Step 1:  Absolute Beginner

Tinkercad.com [free]:  This web-based design software is easiest enough that elementary students are successful in creating their own 3D models to 3D print. Even better is that it’s an Autodesk product, so the skills you learn here will transfer over to more advanced design software. It has some basic guided tutorials and beginner projects (you’ll go from total noob to having created a custom keychain in 30 minutes).

Tip: You can even further customize a design you discovered on Thingiverse.com to make it just a little more perfect for you. Just import that STL/OBJ file into Tinkercad.com and start tweaking the design with your newly develop skills!

With Tinkercad.com I was able to design a solution to organize all of my camera’s memory cards and was just the right size to fit in the space I wanted it!

Step 2: Leveling Up

Fusion360 [free for individuals/hobbyists]: Eventually, you are going to want to add more refined elements to you design. That means you need more advanced design software. Fusion 360 is another Autodesk CAD software that will put some very powerful design tools in your hands that will allow you to achieve professional level results. It includes some built in tutorials to help you get started. However, you might also be interested in the on-demand video tutorials created by experts. With your Frisco Public Library card you have access to the on-demand video tutorials created by experts from LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com).

After using my memory card organizer for a while, I wanted some extra refinements to the design that would make it better. These refinements were a few design elements that I couldn’t quite achieve using Tinkercad.com. So, I started to get know how to use Fusion 360.

Step 3: Go Pro

By now you have some idea of what it is that you like to do with your 3D modeling skills and are ready to invest in your skills and purchase some software to achieve some career goals. Maybe you want to get more into the digital animation and art and want to learn the software Blender or Autodesk Maya. Perhaps you want to get more into project managing along with 3D modeling and want to learn Revit. Or perhaps you are interested in 3D modeling CAD (computer aided design) software like Solidworks or Autodesk’s AutoCad. The best news is that you can get in-depth training from experts for any of those software products from the library. Your Frisco Public Library card membership gives you free access to an extensive collection of essential on-demand training videos from Linked-In Learning (formerly Lynda.com) to stream to your favorite device. So, get ready to level up your skills!

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