3D printing always sounds like a fun weekend project--until you try to create your own 3D model, and discover that working with available creative tools requires an advanced degree in smartypants science.
Indeed, 3D printer prices are dropping, and 3D printer hardware is easier to use than before. But it's still a major challenge to actually design anything with existing software.
Enter Sixense, which was demoing its MakeVR software at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo in San Jose, CA last week. Used in tandem with the company's STEM controllers, MakeVR marries the familiarity of joystick control with a pro-caliber CAD engine. The upshot is that regular-old, non-designer civilians can create relatively complex models. And the process becomes even easier when you import freely available 3D objects from public libraries.
I literally went hands-on with MakeVR at the conference, and found the system offered natural, intuitive creative control. Most of what I modeled was free-form, but the system does support the accuracy required for highly precise models. You'll also be able to use MakeVR with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for an even more immersive 3D modeling experience.
Sixense has already fully funded the STEM controllers on Kickstarter, and plans to crowdsource the MakeVR software in the coming months.