1 Video tutorials
A tutorial series about 3D builder is available on the Channel 9 - 3D Printing blog:
- 3D Builder Tutorial Part 1 – Viewing your first 3D object
- 3D Builder Tutorial Part 2 – Transforming and printing your first 3D object
- 3D Builder Tutorial Part 3 – Object mode and settings
- 3D Builder Tutorial Part 4 – Building 3D objects with edit mode
- 3D Builder Tutorial Part 5 – Scanning with Kinect for Windows
2 Loading an object
Figure 1 - 3D Builder Start Screen
3D object can be loaded using 3 different methods. One can either pick a model from the 3D Builder Library, load them from an external file or create a new one from a Kinect v2 Sensor scan (see 3D Scanning).
Loading an object from a file can be done by pressing the Load icon. 3D Builder currently supports the following file formats:
· 3MF (load and save)
· STL(load and save)
· PLY(load and save)
· OBJ (load only)
· VRML (load only)
3 Camera Movement
Left button drag
1 finger drag
Right button drag
2 fingers drag
Pinch and stretch
4 Selection Control
Figure 2 - Maximized Selection Control
Pressing this icon will restore or minimize the selection tool.
Select all objects in the scene.
CTRL + A
Deselect all objects in the scene.
CTRL + D
5 Object Transforms
Figure 3 - 3D Builder Toolbar
Move mode: dragging one of the arrow will move the object in the selected dimension.
Rotation mode: dragging one of the arrow will rotate the object around one of the 3 axis whose origin is at the center of mass of the object.
Scale mode: dragging the arrow will scale the object following the direction of the arrow.
Note: rotating the camera can change the side on which the arrow is displayed. This can be very useful to scale an object in a desired direction.
W (keeps the aspect ratio on)
Edit the value of a move, a rotation or a scale.
Note: Pressing the unit measure in scale mode will switch it to percentage.
CTRL + Z
CTRL + Y
6 Object Mode
Figure 4 - Toolbar with the object mode activated
Object Mode: activate/deactivate the object mode.
Clone: create a duplicate of the selected 3D object.
CTRL + SHIFT + C
CTRL + X
Settle: allows the user to position and lay the selected 3D object flat on the print bed.
CTRL + G
CTRL + SHIFT + G
Center View: center the camera on the selected 3D object.
CTRL + O
7 File Mode
Figure 5 - Toolbar with the file mode activated
7.1 File Mode: General controls
File: activate/deactivate the file mode.
New scene: deletes every object on the current scene.
CTRL + N
Add a Piece: displays a bottom bar with additional options.
CTRL + L
Save: save your 3D model to a 3MF, STL, OBJ or PLY.
CTRL + S
About this model: allows the user to change the information regarding the model.
CTRL + B
ALT + ENTER
Report a problem.
Settings: includes the possibility to change units and 3D rendering.
CTRL + T
When the File Mode is active (), the material tool appears (Figure 6) the user can then add materials to the material tool by pressing + and pick his material from the material selection (Figure 7). Then the user can select the object and press a material from the list to apply it.
Figure 6 - 3D Builder Material Tool
Figure 7 - Material selection
Figure 8 – List of materials that can be applied
8 Edit Mode
Figure 9 - Toolbar with the edit mode activated
8.1 Edit Mode: General controls
Emboss: enters the emboss mode which allows the user to emboss texts or contour to the selected 3D object.
Plane cut: enters the plane cut mode which allows the user to cut the selected 3D object.
Simplify: reduces the number of triangles used to render the selected 3D object.
Smooth: averages the surface of the selected 3D objects to smooth it.
Subtract: suppress anything that is currently intersecting with the selected 3D object.
Intersect: keeps the intersection of multiple selected 3D objects.
Merge: creates one object by merging multiple selected 3D objects.
Figure 10- Toolbar with the emboss mode activated
Text Emboss: allows the user to input the text to be embossed.
Contour Emboss: allows the user to create an embossment based on an icon or a file.
Plane Projection: optimize the embossment for a plane surface.
Cylindrical Projection: optimize the embossment for a cylindrical surface.
Spherical Projection: optimize the embossment for a spherical surface.
Accept: applies the embossment to the 3D object.
Cancel: exit the emboss mode.
8.3 Plane cut
Figure 11 - Toolbar with the plane cut mode activated
Move Mode: allows the plane to be moved in one dimension.
Rotate Mode: allows the plane to be rotated.
Keep Top: cut the object and keep only the part on top of the plane.
Keep Bottom: cut the object and keep only the part below the plane.
Keep Both: cut the object and keep both parts.
Accept: applies the plane cut to the object.
Cancel: exits the plane cut mode and discards the operations.
This section describes the 3D Scanning options available on 3D Builder for Windows 8.1. On Windows 10, a brand new 3D scanning application with new features will be available soon!
9.1 General controls
When the scan icon is pressed, a user can perform 3D scans using a Kinect v2 sensor for Windows. To perform a scan, the user must satisfy the below requirements:
· 64-bit (x64) processor
· Dual-core 3.1-GHz (2 logical cores per physical) or faster processor
· USB 3.0 port dedicated to the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor (Intel and Renesas controllers)
· 4 GB RAM
· Graphics card that supports DirectX 11
· Windows or Windows Embedded 8 or Windows 8 or 8.1
The user can set the Size detected by the sensor (Figure 12) and the resolution of the scan (Figure 13). After each modification of settings or before starting to scan the sensor has to be reset. Once enough data is collected press complete to open the scan in the 3D builder editor.
Figure 12 - 3D Scan option: Size
Figure 13 - 3D Scan option: Detail
9.2 Tips for better scans
The quality of a scan is affected by 3 major factors:
· The quality of the GPU: a high-end GPU will allow for higher frame-rate and will produce better scans. Optimal results are obtained with 20fps or more.
· The quality of the lighting: a setting without any visible shadows will produce the best results. The more diffuse the light is the better the colors will be captured.
· The background: the distance between the background and the object to be scanned should be maximized, this avoids having artifacts from the background to be captured by the sensor. Additionally, non-reflective background works better as reflection will create noise around the scan.
Scanning can be performed in two ways, either by moving the Kinect v2 Sensor around the scanned subject. Or by fixing the Kinect v2 Sensor and rotating the scanned subject. The second option has proven to provide the most optimal results when scanning big objects.