Kenan O'Keefe got used to using top of the line CAD software as a graduate student at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.
Unfortunately, he lost access to all that with his student license when he graduated and he didn't have the cash to buy the software himself.
"I'm caught in that in between, without that student license I can't access the expensive software," O'Keefe said. "The other option is essentially that (overly simple) Lincoln Log approach."
That's when he started developing Honeycomb, free parametric CAD software right in your browser. There's nothing to download.
"What I want to offer is a very robust way to create 3D models in a very simple fashion… I'm instilling some advance features in something everyone can use," O'Keefe said.
The project is still in its beta stage. Early visitors to the Honeycomb Web site have an opportunity to sign up for access to a free trial version of the software in exchange for feedback.
Honeycomb allows custom geometries with tools that let you be both creative and mathematically precise. By running in Google Chrome and Firefox, it catches the CAD community up to the Web 2.0 world. And with storage in the cloud, it's also accessible from any computer.
O'Keefe designed his brainchild to create robust, printable models that can be downloaded or exported to popular services such as Shapeways or Thingiverse.
It's also compatible with personal computers and Macs because, as the Web site says, "Mac users need some love from the CAD community."
It's simple enough to use. Once you're in the program, you pick a reference plane to start and create a custom 2D sketch with an array of tools.
Features like "Extrude" and "Revolve" then let you turn your masterpiece into a 3D solid.
Finally, you can then create a new sketch to add or cut from your current geometry.
O'Keefe is trying to launch a start up company, and is looking for investors, but this isn't a crowd source funding campaign. O'Keefe is mainly just looking for feed back on the product right now at firstname.lastname@example.org.