123D Design is 3D design software that can work with PC and Mac computers and with the Apple iPad tablet . In addition, there is the possibility of using the application online through the web browser. In all cases, this 3D modeling tool offered by Autodesk is free. It is quite simple to use, thanks to a fairly clear interface that bases almost all operations on mouse movements such as drag and drop or point and click. Basic functions are always visible on the toolbar, located at the top. The user has at his disposal an interesting selection of models, shapes and objects in the component library . The view of the results is activated by a cube-shaped icon, which can be moved to change the point of view and interact with the project.
The user can modify the curves and edges of the models to make them easier to print. You can also fillet and bevel the edges. Adjusting the dimensions of the object is very easy; just select the object and enter new values, or use the tools to snap an edge, move, rotate and rescale an object. Designs can be saved even when using the online version. It also allows you to import designs from other applications, such as AutoCAD, for example. The latest version, released in May this year, includes an Autodesk 3D printing utility. It is used to optimize the 3D model and make it ready to be printed. The model can be emptied by the user to save time and materials when printing, and includes an adaptive thickness feature to adjust details that are too small to print.
To use 123D Design online , the developers recommend working with the web browser Google Chrome for PCs. Those who have the Explorer will have to previously install a plugin called Google Chrome Frame to be able to run the application on the web. For Apple computers, the browser must be Safari . It does not work with the rest of browsers, nor with Firefox, nor with Opera.
The website offers comprehensive information on the 3D modeling tool . Before you start using it, please refer to the quick start guide . On the other hand, the video tutorials are quite complete, with topics such as creating objects, grouping objects, or designing for the iPad, among others. To this must be added a technical support forum. Within the site there is a section dedicated to the community of designers, which includes a projector of 3D designs that users have decided to show on the Internet.
The application is available for PC and Mac . In the case of PC computers, the operating system is Windows 7 , and there is a version for 32-bit systems and another for 64-bit systems. For Apple computers, Mac OS X version 10.7 is required at least.
123D Design for PC and Mac can be downloaded for free from here .
123D Design for iPad is free at this link in the Apple App Store .