A new update of Autodesk's 123D Design for the desktop has made the free – and relatively simple to use – 3D creation and editing tool a cutting edge solution to allow users to 3D print models at home, the school shop or via a preferred fabrication service.

With support for lots of new 3D printers, 123D Design uses natural interactions and editing tools to let neophyte users create 3D models by taking basic objects provided in the interface. After a few mouse clicks, models begin to take shape.

And the best part of the software?

Professional CAD skills are not a requirement for admission to the club. The creation and editing tools are straightforward and natural, and they let users focus on the design itself rather than the design process.

123D Design has the distinct advantage of automatically creating the most natural connections between parts. When parts are moved, they align and snap to connection points such as corners or center of faces. If you don't need that kind of help, never fear, the user can define specific connection points without intervention.

New to V1.4:

  • New UI similar to other 123D products such as Tinkercad
  • Easier access to all your models and projects, regardless of the 123D app used to create them
  • Support for opening, inserting and saving STL and OBJ formats
  • Combine, Subtract and Intersect between meshes and solids
  • Option to combine objects on STL export to support printers that read first body only
  • Import SVG files and use them as sketches or for extrusion
  • Drop to grid with <F10> key
  • Ability to hide grid
  • Toggle to enable/disable implicit grouping when snapping between parts
  • New option to define snapping increments for different operations
  • 3D Print now sends model to Meshmixer for processing prior to printing
  • Premium members can now download unlimited models from 123D library
  • Free members can now download up to 10 models/month
  • Performance improvements, stability and bug fixes
  • Support for 3dconnexion devices