These days, VR tech and 3D Printing are both developing at rapid speeds. So, the confluence of 2 of the fastest rising technologies of the modern day is inevitable. Most VR-3D printing advents, so far, have revolved around modeling software rather than overtly with printing. Even, Google has dipped its toes into these particular waters. However, HTC’s MakeVR Pro VR software tool looks like a game-changer.
The MakeVR Pro has an industry-standard CAD engine that enables 3D modeling with VR tech. However, the feature that sets it apart (in terms of additive manufacturing applications) is its ability to connect to 3D printing services. Users can export standard object files for 3D printing and then upload them to Shapeways 3D printing service. As a result, any can go from the digital world to the real one in just a few easy steps.
Aside from its fancier features, the MakeVR Pro is also extremely beginner-friendly. It aids users with the precision alignment of objects using grids and rulers, jigs, snapping, surface tracking, and mirroring. These tools allow for novices and newcomers to pick up the device with ease and apply their imagination unhindered by a steep learning curve. The device also comes with tutorials built into the app.
VR and 3D Printing
The MakeVR Pro is available to buy on the HTC Vive port for $39.99. The software is only available on the HTC Vive, as it is a flagship title for HTC. Considering, that it provides users with the ability to interact with their models beyond the screen and optimise them as though sculpting the parts by hand, this might be worth looking out for for any aspiring artists.
The MakeVR Pro is not the first tool of this type. Artists have previously used Google’s tilt brush software to produce complex models and 3D print them. Similarly, VRCLAY for the Occulus Rift also allows users to generate unique shapes. The difference between these software and the Make VR Pro is in how much more direct this new process is, as compared to previous ones. The MakeVR Pro has features overtly intended for 3D printing and connects directly to services. This gives it an edge in that it gears itself more towards additive manufacturing than the others.
As VR technology progresses, we will see more applications. The biggest hurdle, currently, is that designers have not adopted VR as widely as traditional computer methods. This is bound to change as the technology improves and gets cheaper. It is without a doubt that this will continue to influence 3D printing as well.
All pictures retrieved from HTC Vive blog.