Let’s face facts, 3D printing is cool. But for those less-CAD savvy, modeling can seem too complicated on large, expensive 3D CAD programs. For those, AC3D has come out of the limelight as a solution. It supports both ASCII and Binary STL files, models necessary for 3D printing and the STL files are automatically optimized at import.
3D Printing with AC3D 7.2.17
New AC3D features include STL support, which means you can directly preview and edit STL files from 3D printing download sites such as Thingiverse.
There is also a Ron Jensen plugin for checking the integrity of an object prior to 3D printing. The plugin checks for holes and open edges by selecting surfaces that are at the edge of the ‘leaks’. This new function is available from the Tools menu as “Select Leaky Surfaces.”
AC3D 7,2 works with Mac, Windows and Linux but not all of the latest features are available on the Mac platform, sadly. Though what is missing isn’t the biggest thing in the world and doesn’t stop Mac users from enjoying what the program can do. (see directly below)
Drag and Drop to AC3D
On Windows and Linux (only) you can now take a model from your desktop, or from the Windows Explorer, and drag and drop it straight into AC3D. There are even supported texture files (e.g. jpg, gif, png etc.) that can be dropped directly onto an object showing the texture instantly.
Some improvements have been made to the Tool > Hierarchy. Groups can now be drag/dropped to adjust the ordering and newly grouped objects retain the ordering–especially useful if you are editing large structures. Other changes include compatibility improvements and general bug fixes.
Important Update – 7.2.17
Version 7.2 has an important update numbered 7.2.17. For those who have purchased AC3D after November 2012, the update to version 7.2 is free. If you already have version 7.2.14 installed, then you need to remove it and install 7.2.17 instead. You can find which version you have from the AC3D menu item, typical of all Mac programs.
Key improvements include:
- 7.2.17 fixes a bug which caused AC3D to crash when objects were deleted
- It also fixes a problem with selections (when ‘Select-Through’ was unchecked)
- Vertex > Snap-Together — now moves all selected vertices to the average position
- Vertex > Snap-to-First-Vertex — a new function which snaps vertices to the position of the first vertex that was selected.
The Tardis Modeled for 3D printing shown above, brought to you by AC3D Forum
For more information see AC3D