Novedge : Tell us a little bit about yourself and SelfCAD.
Aaron Breuer: I’m a DIY type of person. I was inspired by the 3D Printing evolution but was taken aback by the learning curve that is required to design for 3D Printing. This is how SelfCAD was born in 2016. Our goal is to simplify 3D Modeling and its learning curve, so that anyone can participate in the 3D modeling and printing evolution.
Novedge: How does SelfCAD compare to TinkerCAD?
Aaron Breuer: Many people think SelfCAD is just an upgrade to TinkerCAD , mostly because of its simple and intuitive interface and the focus on 3D Printing. While TinkerCAD is an introductory software to the 3D world , with the aim of enticing the youth to the 3D Modeling industry, SelfCAD is a fully-featured professional 3D modeling application that has a high standard, as well as many proprietary powerful tools and features.
Novedge: What kind of Design tool is SelfCAD?
Aaron Breuer: SelfCAD is a Browser-based Mesh modeling application. It has a diverse technical and artistic toolset with many 3D Printing specific tools like Magic Fix and has a built-in slicer.
Novedge: How long does it take to learn SelfCAD on average?
Aaron Breuer: People we surveyed say that you can master SelfCAD in two weeks. Other comparable solutions that have the same kind of features SelfCAD has, have a learning curve of about 6 months.
Novedge: How did SelfCAD shorten this learning curve?
Aaron Breuer: By separating basic and advanced tools, by keeping a single design mode for all types of objects and profiles while reusing the same modeling tools for all types of objects, and by SelfCAD’s smart design that dynamically updates its advanced settings according to the selection context. That saves a lot of time that normally would be spent in learning which settings to use for each object type and selection context.
Novedge: How does SelfCAD address complex designs?
Aaron Breuer: SelfCAD tools work directly on the mesh. This allows it to add artistic tools like sculpting that are designed to work on complex and organic shapes.
Novedge: How is SelfCAD Optimized for 3D Printing?
Aaron Breuer: One would typically need 2 or 3 different software packages to achieve what you can do in the single and simple SelfCAD App. For starters, SelfCAD puts a great emphasis on making sure that all output meshes are manifold. Traditional CAD software cares much less about watertight meshes. SelfCAD has also a MagicFix tool that automatically corrects all broken meshes; furthermore, SelfCAD comes with an advanced build-in slicer to slice any mesh and download a printer-specific ready G-code.
Novedge: What type of Models can be designed in SelfCAD?
Aaron Breuer: With SelfCAD you can design whatever you can imagine. Most SelfCAD users are DIY people, designing for additive manufacturing or for product design. These people benefit the most from the intuitive, diverse, and the online aspects of the program.
Novedge: Do professional designers use SelfCAD and if so why?
Aaron Breuer: Many professional designers use SelfCAD for importing and modifying objects created in other CAD programs. This is challenging in parametric modeling software. In SelfCAD you can import all standard mesh and CAD files and modify it the same way you modify objects created directly in SelfCAD.
Novedge: What are your favorite SelfCAD features and why?
Aaron Breuer: I personally love all the proprietary time-saving tools:
Image To 3Dturns any simple image into a 3D model. This is one of the most used tools in SelfCAD when designing for 3D printing.
Freehand drawingis a great time saver for architectural and artistic designs alike; it saves a tremendous amount of work of trimming profiles.
Snap and Align toolsare simple but very helpful SelfCAD tools, that make aligning your models simple and quick.
Copy offset, extrusion, and inset Macrosare very powerful for creating design patterns.
Shape generatoris the most popular among beginners, as they can quickly create amazing organic shapes without the complexity of learning how to sketch and use the more advanced tools like revolve, loft, and followpath.
Novedge: How easy is it to export files from SelfCAD?
Aaron Breuer: Exporting is as easy as exporting a doc from word or google docs. With many traditional CAD programs, you first need to apply the transformation matrix, you need to convert from functions and tools that used the GPU for visualization and run it’s actual functions to create the mesh. Since SelfCAD is always working on a mesh and is automatically applying all transformation matrices as you go, the export is just a downloading function without any additional processing involved.
Novedge: SelfCAD is a relatively new tool. Where do you see yourself in the future?
Aaron Breuer: SelfCAD was developed by and for DIY people but we have been pleasantly surprised by the interest it generated among architecture modeling communities and product designers. We have had many requests for integration with rendering plugins like V-Ray for example. We hope to add V-Ray cloud rendering by the end of the year and we then plan to start focusing on some of the B2B opportunities waiting in our development pipeline.