Shapeways, The Community

Sneak Peek at a Parametric Browser Based 3D Modeler

Powerful web based parametric 3D Modeling tool for 3D Printing being developed by Benjamin Nortier. There is more information on Benjamin’s blog but take a look at what looks like a really exciting application that could easily compete with SketchUp for ease of use but with the important difference of parametric modeling and STL output…. NICE…

To realise this he has built the modeler on a 3 part technology stack:

    The HTML5 WebGL-enabled browser. The browser uses WebGL and a scene graph library (SceneJS) for rendering the models. The UI is entirely javascript (jQuery and mustache.js), with only geometry operations (in JSON format) being sent to the server’s RESTful API.
    A RESTful service. The is running the excellent webmachine in an Erlang VM. The RESTful service accepts geometry commands from the browser and uses those to create modelling requests for the solid modeller. The tesselation of the models (used for rendering) and meshes (for STL export) can retrieved from this API.
    A C++ OpenCASCADE worker node. OpenCASCADE is a very powerful open source solid modeller developed in C++. The mathematical representation of the solid geometry is contained in the worker process. Geometry command for unions, transformations etc. are received (in JSON format) from the Erlang process, and the operations are performed. The tesselation of each shape can be retrieved and forwarded on to the browser. If you are interested in OpenCASCADE, I suggest you start with the PythonOCC project. I found that to be very helpful.

I am really looking forward to the release, uptake and implimentation as this is EXACTLY what we need to make more complex 3D printing available to all.

Well Done Benjamin. Follow @bjnortier for updates.

About me
Shapeways Designer Evangelist
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