3D Systems, the creators of the Cubify 3D Printer, has just released a CAD-like application that allows users to shape models like they were digital clay. Cubify Sculpt gives users the opportunity to freeform shape objects, giving a more natural feel to the design process and making it more accessible to the less-experienced designer.

Because it's powered by 3D Systems' volumetric CAD engine, which is used by professional engineers, the system has the ability to create complex, intricate designs that can be exported directly to a 3D printer. The exporting ability also allows for traditional CAD files to be created, such as STL, OBJ, PLY, CLY, and ZPC, according to Alyssa Reichental, media relations manager at 3D Systems.

"For makers and DIYers, Cubify Sculpt is the easiest and most complete design tool for customizing existing STLs," says Reichental. "Its extremely powerful for mash ups, smoothing, deforming and reforming, adding textures, and painting - for full–color prints." The program does mesh correction automatically, making it useful when integrating different designs.

Cubify Sculpt is a voxel-based CAD program, which, according to Reichental, means everything you design is water-tight and 3D-printable. "This is very powerful for both beginners and experienced users alike. For beginners, it takes away some of the challenge and concern over how to make their design printable, and for the experienced, its a quick band-aid for any overlooked flaws."

Sculpt lets users start with a design from a box, sphere, or cylinder of virtual clay. Utilizing varying push, pull, embossing, and paintbrush tools, the program has the natural feel of molding with Play-Doh, only with a mouse. Sculpt also manages to combine many tools that engineers and designers traditionally have to import and export between multiple programs to get the desired end result. "Cubify Sculpt simplifies the process all in one, affordable program," says Reichental.

The program has a paint feature that gives a little color to those usually drab, somewhat unrealistic CAD files. "The paint feature is optimized for Color Jet Printing (CJP) on [3D Systems'] Projet X60 line of printers," she explains.

"[Sculpt] is more intuitive to use and learn for beginners, unlike many traditional CAD programs," Reichental explains. 3D Systems plans to integrate this new software with its other Cubify products, as the goal seems to point in the direction of keeping the system feature-rich without making things too complicated.

A free trial of Sculpt is available on the Cubify website and the video below is a quick introduction to the application's interface.

Source: 3D Systems

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