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Design Tools for the Rest of Us: Maker Hardware Requires Maker Software

Abstract

In our own work, we are developing and applying a system which attempts to support a wider range of 3D design tasks, while still providing a high level of accessibility and utility to users with varying skill levels. The meshmixer system includes tools for easy 3D “mash-up”, virtual sculpting, and 3D scan “cleanup” and repair, alongside more traditional shape modeling interfaces such as boolean composition and 3D transformations. One of the underlying motivations for bringing this disparate toolset together in a single interface is to simplify workflows. In particular, the goal has been to make life easier for those who are not professional 3D artists, such as “Makers” and digital fabrication hobbyists. For this userbase, the 3D design is a means to an end rather than the end itself, and the tools should take this into account.

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