As Makers, it is usual to model pieces in 3D to print them or send to CNC / Laser Cut. It turns out that whichever 3D modeling software I use, I can't use the mouse to rotate the object in the visualizer.

What it does

This small box is helping to visualize the object in the viewer: whatever rotation is made on it is automatically transcripted to the computer 3D modeling software.

How I built it

I am using an accelerometer to get computationally "feel" how the box is moving. Then, an Arduino board is transmitting the information to the computer. Finally, a python program is transmitting this information to the 3D modeler, and the piece moves in the viewer.

Challenges I ran into

I have never used accelerometers before, it was very hard to understand what the different values of the sensor correspond to. Also, transmitting the information between the Arduino board and the computer took me a bit of time (because the sensor and the connection to the computer were not compatible in the first time).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am very proud that I managed to understand how the sensor works, from complete scratch. I really enjoy having something that works, and that I can demonstrate after only 24h of hacking.

What I learned

I have learned about Arduino compatibility between components, 3D modeling.

What's next for 3D Modeling Helper

The next step is to make it harder, better, faster, stronger: Harder, as the plastic is a little bit soft, and not very pleasant to use. Better, as better accuracy: after a few minutes, it has a little error, and needs to be recalibrated. Faster, as it is making the 3d modeling software a little bit slower than usual. Stronger, as the plastic box is not very solid (I didn't have time to print a thicker case). Maybe use metal on the next version to look more professional?

Fun Fact

The box was 3D printed, but I finished the electronics before making the box. Therefore, I was able to use the 3D Modeling Helper for the first time, while it wasn't finished yet :) Machines are making machines :) => It is useful in particular at the end of the modeling, to check that the piece is as you expected.

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