123D Make. Source: WhiteClouds
123D Make. Source: WhiteClouds

An overview of 123D Make for iPad.

123D Make, by Autodesk, bridges the gap between creative 3D designs and physical objects. This is a free, consumer application that converts your 3D design into a file or a plan to build your object. While the app is also available for your PC or Mac or can be used as a web app, this article is specifically about 123D Make for your iPad.

123D Make provides a few different ways you can turn your design into a tangible item. You can export your object as an STL or OBJ file to 3D print at home or send to a 3D printing service. 123D Make also generates a plan to build your object out of cardboard.

123D Make for iPad is available through the iTunes Store. The app gets 4 ½ stars in customer reviews. One reviewer, Fernando Silveira Lima, writes, “This is really an amazing app, it is unbelievable what you can do with a phone! The series of app called 123D work together to give you liberty to model, capture 3d objects and manufacture!”

123D Make is a great way to introduce children and adults to manufacturing and the concept of 3D printing. This is a program that you can use at home even if you don’t have a laser cutter or a 3D printer. You can use the software to export a PDF with patterns for the pieces needed to build your object. Instead of laying down layers of plastic, or some other 3D printing material, you cut out pieces of cardboard based on the patterns and put the layers together to form the object.

We recommend opening an example shape so you can see how the various tools in 123D Make affect your object. 

When you open 123D Make for iPad, you will have three options:

1- Create

  • Draw a 2D shape
  • See it three dimensionally as it revolves in Stacked or Radial mode
  • View assembly video
  • Access to 2D plans that can be printed on an inkjet printer
  • Email PDF file
  • Order the plans laser cut

2- Load

  • Open a file that has been previously created in 123D Make

3- Kits

Load kits have been made with 123D Make on the PC or Mac.  Eight prebuilt files are included to help you get started. After choosing a file, you are taken to a screen where you will see the revolving 3D model. At this point you can:

  • See the project revolve
  • View the assembly video
  • Access to 2D plans which can be printed on an inkjet printer
  • Email a PDF file
  • Order the plans laser cut

123D Make offers a number of ways to turn your 3D model into a physical object. You can 3D print your object, use a laser cutter to build the parts, or do something as simple as print a PDF and then use the templates to cut the parts out of cardboard.