ShapeJS

One of the main goals of the AbFab3D toolkit is to make it easier to create 3D printable objects. As a Java toolkit it’s only going to reach a limited audience(cue Venn diagram of Java programmers with graphics programmers). The web has gone crazy over Javascript as its scripting language. Say what you will about its shortcomings as a language but you can’t fault its uptake numbers. There are many more people out there interested in making 3D printed objects that know Javascript then Java. This brings us to today’s post topic, ShapeJS. We’ve written an application that executes Javascript code using AbFab3D as the backing library. This type of language binding is very common in the game world. You provide an easy to program language that level editors can script game behaviors. This makes creating a game much more accessible and allows many more creative minds to help with the project.

The ShapeJS language provides a powerful system for generating 3D printable objects via a simple Javascript program. Shapeways is hosting a development environment where you can edit ShapeJS scripts, execute them on a server and then view the results in your browser using WebGL. When your happy with your model you can print it Shapeways or download the model for yourself. Here’s hoping this deployment environment is easier then writing a bunch of installer code for Java applications. Been down that road several times and don’t want to repeat it.

We’ve made a bunch of examples to show how to create some cool 3D printed items.
ShapeJS Examples

I have a feeling that someone soon is going to make a creator that’s a break out hit. Let’s define a hit as a million in revenue. So far no creator I’ve seen has made it near that mark. But the time is ripe and the market is expanding fast. There are a few gems in the examples which I think might qualify. I can tell you that dice and jewelry have been extremely popular at Shapeways.

The final piece you need to make these into your own creators is a way to execute the ShapeJS scripts in response to your own user interface. We’ll be putting out examples soon which will show you an easy and inexpensive way to deploy these to cloud providers such as Amazon. Stay tuned!

I’d also like to mention an early user, Leon Nicholls who’s made a cool riff on the project. Currently it doesn’t support color information. He’s made a colorizer that can add colors after the fact. This is a nice way to add color to your models. We’ll get around to adding color support but for now I thought I’d pimp he’s system: Colorized ShapeJS.

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