First look at the new 3D design software WeDesignLive

The 3D printing file format, .stl (humorously called Standard Triangle Language by some) was developed over thirty years ago, an aeon in software terms.

Difficulties with the format include the ease with which a 3D design can navigate a workflow, for example between different programs, while retaining all relevant data. To solve these problems, MyMiniFactory created the MP5 format and now launched a web-based live collaboration 3D design software: WeDesignLive.

The new WeDesignLive interface from November 2016. Image via: MyMiniFactory

For the open beta, 3DPI took the opportunity to speak with Sohail Siadatnejad, WeDesign CTO and lead developer of the program. Sohail showed us around the improved user interface, design tools, social media integration, and most importantly, the unique Direct collaborative aspect of WeDesignLive.

wedesignlive logo

Combine simple shapes in complex objects

The WeDesignLive interface is divided into two menus:

Explore – which allows visitors to watch and request collaborations from live projects, and;

Design – which gives the user the possibility to create a new project or work on a previous project saved on the server.

The program is based on Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG), allowing the creation of complex objects by combining simpler shapes – a process similar to that found in Adobe’s Photoshop software. The beta currently works with a base of 7 primitive shapes, including a sphere, cylinder, cube, and placeholder figure, which users can complete by submitting their own objects.

The range of WeDesign primitive objects Screenshot via: WeDesignLive
The range of WeDesign primitive objects Screenshot via: WeDesignLive

Once a design has an object in play, a variety of operations are possible.

  • ‘Magnet’ that allows users to precisely align two objects on top of each other
  • ‘Grid’ to arrange multiple objects with adequate spacing to 3D print them all at once
  • ‘Gravity’ which simulates how an object will fall and sit on a print bed

When a design is complete, users can then upload a video of the design process or share a gif of it on Facebook and Twitter. There are also social aspects built into the site that allow a user to follow and comment on other people’s projects – a setup similar to Twitch’s live streaming site.

Suitable for everyone – from design beginners to professional developers

Sohail also showed me how easy it is to turn MP5 files into .txt files which makes the site accessible to developers who can quickly and easily make changes to an object’s code. I also got a glimpse of the collaboration capability that lets you see changes made between users in real time.

The Igognito browser acts as an alternate user on collaborations between WeDesignLive users.  Screenshot via: MyMiniFactory
The Incognito browser acts as an alternate user on collaborations between WeDesignLive users. Screenshot via: MyMiniFactory

Finally, Siadatnejad highlighted how WeDesignLive handles all the details of an object slice for 3D printing, including print time, mass, and volume. At this time, only one printer’s information is available, but this is something the team will continue to add for its official release.

As WeDesignLive is still in the early stages of development, the team welcomes feedback from beta testers who find bugs in the program. We’re excited to see the creative approaches people are taking to the program and the continued evolution of the site, bringing together all the best parts of collaborative software and 3D modeling, making it even easier to realize your ideas.

You can join the open beta here.

The featured image shows a 3D printed WeDesignLive model (left) next to a second model (right) that was cast in tin. Photo by Michael Petch.