Sharing CAD models: IPhone and Screen Capture

Be able to model a new idea is one thing, displaying it for others can be an entirely different beast. Many CAD systems are expensive and the intended audience does not always have access to the software required to view models. Sure there are helpful tools like “EDrawings” but sending executable files can be a bear. PDF’s exist but the hassle of creating one, and the lack of 3D for many means that the preferred way to send a design is by taking screen shots.

I used “Print Screen” and pasted an uncropped images in emails for a long time before I decided to look for a better option. A quick search led me to Cropper. This was a handy tool when it came to the CSWP writeups, the application is small quick and best of all I don’t have to paste each shot into a word document before moving on.

So then the question becomes, how do you mark up an image. Simple things like arrows, text boxes and the like can obviously be done in Paint or something similar but I prefer another Image editor called GIMP. GIMP is the open source equivalent of Photoshop meaning not only is useful to markup screen shots but it is also a great tool to get photo realistic renderings of models. Further explorations into is one of the goals of this blog.

The above programs are helpful (and free) for 2D but what about showing off 3D models. I always have my phone on me a quick fly through of a model would be seriously useful for friends and family (or clients) without all the hassle. I’m still looking for a great app for this but there are a few options.

The first I found through an email the other day. 3DVia is a website that provides hosting for 3D models (account required ). But there is also an iPhone app which is fun to play with and can do an alright job of displaying models. The below picture is taken from a sample #d file and a quick photo from a 3GS.

The insert into picture function is a bit lacking as the models are difficult to rotate but it’s a good start and a fun tool to express some ideas.

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