Silicon Enhance: 3D modeling

With modern 3D modeling software, engineers, artists, architects, designers and even children can will their ideas into existence.

After building their idea, the virtual object can be turned into a computer file. That file can then be loaded into a fancy machine, like a 3D printer or CNC machine, which uses the file as a blueprint as it builds the virtual object in the real world. 


There is a lot of different 3D modeling programs out there. Professionals are likely to use something like Tblender, SolidWorks, AutoCAD or Inventor. These programs have a high degree of functionality and can be used to generate complex shapes. However, today I will focus on Tinkercad, 3DTin and SketchUp.



3DTin is an easy-to-use 3D modeling program that runs in Google Chrome or Firefox web browsers. Unlike fancier 3D modeling programs, 3DTin was designed to be simple enough for children to use. To build with 3DTin, users work with pre-made shapes that add or remove parts to their model.

 

Tinkercad is similar to 3DTin. It also runs in-browser, and provides pre-made shapes to add or remove parts. It was also designed to be simple enough for anyone to use. For the most part, using Tinkercad is like building with clay shapes.


SketchUp is another free 3D modeling program. It is more complex than 3DTin and Tinkercad, but not by much. The ability to draw more unique shapes and surfaces adds more complexity and functionality to the program.

3D modeling isn't difficult to learn if one begins by using beginner-level software. Jumping straight to using professional software might burn you out before you learn anything fun.

Despite being easy to use, the models from these programs can still be used as blueprints for manufacturing machines. Almost anything you design using 3DTin, Tinkercad or SketchUp can be built by a 3D printer.

Users should give these programs a try and start on the journey to making their ideas into realities with 3D modeling. Create.