Over the past week, almost everyone I know has played Pokémon GO, and I can’t help but laugh at the stories I’ve heard of grown men stepping into lakes or crashing into people and objects while in pursuit of Squirtle. I haven’t downloaded it yet, although I’ve been tempted – due to my tendency towards internet/smartphone addiction, however, I suspect I wouldn’t do anything else. Already. It was error enough to download Neko Atsume. I think Pokémon GO is really cool, though, and it’s a great example of how virtual and augmented reality are becoming accessible – all you need is a smartphone these days.
It’s not just for fun either. Augmented reality is a valuable tool in a wide variety of industries, and a Swedish tech company is using it to aid in 3D modeling. Stockholm-based Febtop Tech, a maker of modular delta-style 3D printers, is currently developing an app that lets users design 3D models by simply drawing in the air with a finger. FEBCAD AR is under development for Android at the moment, although other platforms will be added later.
“When we observe new users, with no previous 3D printing experience, working with our 3D printers, we often see them struggle as they try to learn 3D modeling software or a CAD program,” said Tom Yang. , CEO of Febtop Tech. “We quickly realized that we had to find a way to make this process more natural and inviting for new designers.”
The operation of the application is simple: the user looks through his smartphone or tablet and “draws” simple 3D shapes like cubes, cylinders and pyramids on the table or desk in front of the screen. 2D designs can also be drawn freehand and converted to 3D. Objects can be easily moved and rotated, and the user can view their design from any angle by moving the phone or tablet around the design. Once the model is complete, it can be exported to STL or sent directly to one of Febtop’s printers.
“The idea of using AR as a way to lower the barrier to 3D printing was born about a year ago,” the team explained. “We had many discussions about how this could be implemented and what tools we could use. Should we implement it with AR glasses or just use phones. We decided to go with the phone because most people have one and the goal was to make it accessible so it was the logical choice.The development of the actual software took about 3 months ago.
The company, a small team consisting of CEO Yang and creative technologist Simon Karlsson, plans to release the app and its source code online with an open source license. It will also ship with their 3D printers, the Optimus and Nimo 3D, once they are officially released. The Optimus is a modular machine that can be assembled as a Delta or Cartesian printer, with an extruder that can be swapped out to turn the printer into a CNC milling machine or laser engraver. The Nimo is a smaller, simpler plug-and-play printer that Febtop considers ideal for beginners or educational institutions.
While FEBCAD AR is still a work in progress, the key to its development is simplicity and accessibility. Febtop pitched the idea of designing it for use with AR glasses, but opted to use a simple smartphone interface to make it easily accessible to everyone.
“Challenges in developing the app have revolved more around solving practical issues to make the app useful and simple,” the company said. “We want the software to be really usable so you can easily draw simple designs and the app isn’t just a gimmick. There are a lot of features you need before you can draw something useful and one of the challenges we are facing right now is how we can add more functionality without bloating the interface…
What you can do with the app right now is [the] Following:
- Draw boxes, prisms, cylinders and cones.
- Draw a freehand 2D shape and extrude in 3D.
- Move around the individual shapes you’ve drawn and place them where you want.
- Rotate individual shapes around the X, Y, or Z axis.
- Import STL files to display in the AR environment.
- Export your design to an STL file.
- Send your design directly to one of our printers.
We haven’t seen any other app do what we do. Most of the AR apps we’ve seen just let you view models but not draw them.
Although there is no word on the official release date for the app, it looks good so far as you can see in the video below and we will continue to keep you posted. of its further development. Is this an application that you would like to have eventually? Discuss more in the Designing 3D models from a smartphone forum on 3DPB.com.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Stay up to date on all the latest 3D printing industry news and receive information and offers from third-party vendors.