Now that you are familiar with working with two dimensional images in vector format, the next step is to learn to create three-dimensional representations. Traditionally, this work was done with Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs that focused on providing digital replacements for drafting and technical drawing. Now there are a wide range of programs for working with 3D, ranging from animation (Maya, Blender) to engineering (AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Rhino). Most of these are very powerful, and require months or years to learn to use well. In class we will use Google SketchUp, a freely-available and easy-to-use tool for creating 3D representations. Later we will print simple SketchUp models in plastic using the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer we just built.

Background Preparation

In-Class Exercises

Combining 3D Models with Other Tools

A number of years ago, I created a short tutorial showing how to use 3D models as part of the process of mocking up a museum exhibit. You are welcome to work through these if you’d like… note that some of the specific instructions may be out of date.

Advanced Users

If you’ve already done a lot of work with SketchUp or other CAD software, you are welcome to try installing and working with a more complicated package like Blender.  There are tutorials on the Blender site.