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Part 1: Getting Your Feet Wet > The Ins and Outs of Google SketchUp and Shapewa...

Chapter 1. The Ins and Outs of Google SketchUp and Shapeways

Before you jump in and start the 3D printing process, it's important you learn about the tools used in the development process. With the numerous modeling programs available today, you might ask, "Why should I use Google SketchUp?" I recommend Google SketchUp for two reasons. First, it has an easy learning curve that allows even beginners to create models effortlessly. Second, for such a simple tool, SketchUp offers the user the ability to draw highly complex models. Software such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Blender are also great, but the downside of those modeling packages is the steep learning curve. A beginner might find those software programs intimidating compared to the ease of using Google SketchUp. In the first half of this chapter, I will go through the steps of installing Google SketchUp and introduce you to the SketchUp toolbars.

The second half of the chapter explores the online 3D printing service Shapeways. Shapeways is an online platform for uploading models for 3D printing. By using Shapeways, you avoid having to purchase expensive equipment. The equipment is operated by Shapeways, and all it does is charge you for the cost of the material and service.


  

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