Thursday, March 30, 2017

Best Places to Find 3D Printing Templates


3D printing is a relatively new field where three-dimensional design projects are being translated to the real world with the help of special printers. This 21st century design field is getting more and more popular with year passing year. 3D printers are becoming more available for the mass consumers which has lead to the opening of many community-driven resource websites for 3D printing templates.

This collection contains some of the best 3D printing template resource websites you can use to meet other fellow designers, download free models, and share your creative projects online.

PinShape

Pinshape is a community driven online marketplace for 3D printing templates. The website serves as a great resource for free STL files but it’s also used as a marketplace for buying and selling 3D printing files. The Pinshape community is comprised of more than 70,000+ designers and makers who are adding up new STL files to the marketplace each day. The website features different designers and helps sellers develop their shops through a series of guides.

Thingiverse

Thingiverse is known as the largest content repository for 3D printing templates. The website is built by MakerBot, the company behind the popular Replicator 3D printers. The site has a great community of 3D designers and specialists in the field who are contributing new STL files on a daily basis. 3D printing templates range from basic shapes to complex multi-part objects.

My Miny Factory

My Miny Factory is another great site on the lists which serves as a resource base for quality 3D printing templates. The STL files are separated into 15 categories ranging from fashion, fan art, cosplay and home accessories to gadgets, electronics, spare parts, and BBC micro:bit objects. My Miny Factory offers quality-tested 3D printing files designed by professionals. The site contains lots of templates, yet if you can’t find what you need, you can always request a specific object by the designers.

NIG 3D Print Exchange

NIG 3D Print Exchange is a STEM-driven community platform. ( STEM is short for “science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” ). In this website, people share and distribute a special type of 3D printing templates which are scientifically accurate and medically applicable. The STL files library includes prostheses, neuroscience, molecule models, and more.

3D Warehouse

The 3D Warehouse is a 3D print files repository website which is focused on architecture, scale models, and product design and anything created with the SketchUp software. The website has a great community and features different designers. It is also targeted at manufacturers who wish to share, pitch, and promote their 3D models.

SketchFab

SketchFab has an amazing library of excellent 3D printing templates. The site contains mostly character designs, sculptures and different models in both STL and OBJ format. OBJ is a file format that provides coloring information as an addition to the 3D model and is used in advanced printing. Another thing that makes this website unique is the universal 3D model viewer which allows a full 360-degree view of the object directly from the website prior to downloading.

Instructables

Instructables is a community-driven platform for DIY enthusiasts which originally started as a website for all things do-it-yourself. It’s mostly focused on home and garden DIY projects, yet it also has a great collection of 3D models and various 3D projects. As part of promoting its newly established 3D printing community, Instructables also has a free online class for 3D printing that’s a great start for beginners in the field. The class has everything you need, from templates and guides to materials list, full instructions, and fully accessible classes 24/7.

Grabcad

Grabcad is a community-driven resource base for 3D printing templates which aims at helping mechanical engineers build great products faster. The site works as a collaboration tool between designers and helps them build 3D models together. The community has over one million engineers who are updating the open library daily with free 3D printing files in STL and other formats.

Youmagine

Created by Ultimaker, an open source 3D printer company, Youmagine is a great community resource website for 3D printing enthusiasts and specialist designers who are in search of some quality 3D template files.  Youmagine’s main purpose is to help creatives collaborate and build print-ready 3D models.

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Game of Thrones Season Seven Promo Teases War, Winter and White Walkers


The new season of Game of Thrones is still a ways off, having been pushed to July 16th instead of its usual spring premiere. Even though we’re all eager to go back to […]

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‘The Doctor’ Reimagines Gallifrey’s Time Lord as ‘Hamilton’


Hamilton: An American Musical is the hottest ticket on Broadway. People are paying half a year’s salary to learn about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton through song and dance. The American statesman isn’t the […]

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Revisit Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh Doctors in New Titan Comics


Follow the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Doctors’ adventures in this week’s new Doctor Who releases from Titan Comics. First-time readers can jump right into the Whoniverse with Sin Eaters: Part One, Cavan Scott’s […]

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Road to Star Wars Celebration: Mark Hamill, Battlefront II and More


You could cut the tension with a Kyber saber right now with how excited Star Wars fans are for official announcements coming from next month’s Star Wars Celebration convention. The show takes place […]

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Joss Whedon Could Direct a Batgirl Movie and More DC Movie News


Ben Affleck’s Batman solo film may be having trouble getting off the ground, but the Gotham City of the DCEU won’t go completely undefended. According to Variety, Joss Whedon is currently in talks to write, […]

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The Wide World of Video Game Vinyl


I don’t understand vinyl. I’m not talking about Funko Pops (but boy am I glad we have Brittany Vincent to cover them because I hate those creepy beady-eyed off-model bastards, and Nendoroids are clearly […]

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Up Your Cool Factor With a Custom Retro Gaming Cabinet


Calling all hipsters and nostalgics: London-based STOA is your new favorite home decor company. The British manufacturer custom builds arcade cabinets, each handcrafted from start to finish for one or two players. Available […]

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Don’t Miss the Women’s History Month Sale on Comixology


March is Women’s History Month, and with the month coming to a close, Comixology is having a sale on a huge selection of books that star women characters and/or were created by women. […]

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Geek deals: Get a lifetime subscription to TigerVPN for just $29

Geek TigerVPN

Our privacy is under constant attack. Not only are government agencies and criminals trying to snoop on our internet traffic, but it’s clear that some ISPs are very interested in exploiting their clientele. […]

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This Cherry Blossom Cotton Candy Pizza Is Totally Bonkers


Spring is here again, and as we’ve said several times before, that means it’s cherry blossom viewing time in Japan. Cherry blossoms everywhere. Cherry blossom McFlurries, cherry blossom burgers, ice cream, you name […]

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The It Trailer Is Here to Remind You that Clowns Are Still Terrifying


It’s rare that a remake of a horror classic actually looks decent. They’re usually pointless, shallow and often forget what made the original so scary, to begin with. (Looking at you, 2015 version […]

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7 Great Ways To Learn Swift Online


As web developers, it’s our responsibility to make sure our clients have beautiful, functional and maintainable websites. But in today’s development environment, more and more clients need a mobile app solution of some kind, and they’re looking to web developers to help them create it. And in a world where some 91% of Americans have cellphones, and 61% of that 91% have the “smart” variety, it’s hard to blame clients’ for wanting to expand their digital presence.

It’s easy enough to up your web development game with new tools like developer extensions. But if you have the skills to help your client create a mobile app, you’ll be bringing in new business for yourself and your company. Learning Swift, Apple’s programming language for iOS devices, is an excellent way to get started down that path. Check out these resources below to take your first step.

1. The Swift Programming Language by Apple

The Swift Programming Language is Apple’s official documentation of the Swift language, but it also makes a great learning resource for developers with the necessary prerequisite knowledge. It’s designed to help programmers that are already familiar with common programming languages pick up and get started with Swift quickly. If Swift is your first programming language, this volume might leave some rudimentary information out, but overall its an excellent-and free!-resource for those getting started with Swift. You can view the document online, or download an ebook copy from iBooks.

2. iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional by Udemy

iOS 10 & Swift 3: From Beginner to Paid Professional on Udemy.com isn’t cheap. But if you’re serious about learning to use Swift professionally, it’s well worth the $200 price of admission. The instructor, Mark Price, is well known and widely respected, and he’s been teaching Swift courses on Udemy since the language was first released in 2014. He’s had thousands of students and many thousands of reviews, so you can trust that its decent content. And the course is specifically calibrated for those looking to start making money with Swift as soon as possible, so it will be well suited to your professional needs.

3. Swift 3 Essential Training: The Basics by Lynda

If you have access to a Lynda subscription, you can’t do much better than Swift 3 Essential Training: The Basics with instructor Scott Gardner. The course is designed to take you from a novice programmer to someone who can develop basic apps in Swift, but you might need some post-course training before you’re ready to take on the professional world. It covers all the basics, from creating playgrounds, working with strings, controlling program flow and working with structs. It’s great for users looking to get familiar with the structure of the Swift programming language while learning the basics of programming.

4. Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift by Stanford

Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift is a full Stanford app development course that’s available for free on iTunes U. If you already have some familiarity with Swift or other programming classes, this is a highly rigorous course that will launch the next step of your journey with Swift. The course calls for experience with C and object-oriented programming, so complete newbies should probably look at one of the more basic courses on this list. Advanced topics covered include object-oriented design using the model-view-controller paradigm, memory management, object-oriented database APIs, animation, mobile device power management, multi-threading, and networking and performance considerations.

5. Learn Swift by Treehouse

Subscription-based education provider Treehouse also provides an excellent track for learning Swift from scratch. The 14-hour course starts at the very beginning, covering the basics of the Swift language, object-oriented programming and simple iOS app development. It’s an excellent course for newcomers looking to get their feet wet, but experienced coders should probably look elsewhere. Subscriptions to Treehouse currently start at $25 per month, and you could likely get through the entirety of the Swift track within that period.

6. Swift Playgrounds for iPad

Swift Playgrounds is an iPad app from Apple that introduces users to the basics of programming in general and Swift in particular. It’s built with a playful interface, making learning engaging for novice and younger users especially. For example, many lessons involve moving an avatar around the screen using the Swift language’s tools. If you’re looking for a rigorous course, this likely isn’t it, but it’s a friendly way for users of all ages to dip a toe into what Swift has to offer.

7. LearnSwift.tips

LearnSwift.tips isn’t an educational course in its own right, but rather a collection of educational resources related to Swift. Even so, it’s an indispensable hub for anyone looking to advance their understanding of the programming language. In addition to links to many of the resources above, it includes cheat sheets, code samples, Swift libraries, Q&A pages and more. And because resources are organized into “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced” difficulty, it’s easy to find content that matches your current skill level.

The Future of Swift

Swift is an excellent language to add to your programming tool belt. Users experienced with C/C++ will that Swift shares a lot of commonalities with those languages, and novice programmers will learn a wide array of programming paradigms and thought processes that transfer easily into other languages.

Aside from the opportunities to be had developing iOS apps, Swift is fast becoming a more popular language for non-iOS tools. It’s likely to see a wave of popularity in the future as the language continues to develop. In a couple years, we might even start seeing server-side applications developed in Swift—the sky is really the limit.

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5 Web Design Trends for 2017 and 2018


Now that we’re comfortably in 2017, we can look back at the last few months to see how our “trends of 2017” predictions have turned out, and offer a few more to consider for 2018 and the rest of the year.

Clean Layouts That Let Content Shine

There was a time when the web was all about showing itself off. Web pages piled on scrolling effects, animated designs and aggressively “modern” features in an effort to let users know how cool their designers were. As the web has matured and become a daily part of most folks’ lives, we’ve seen a lot of the gimmicky features of yesteryear fade away. Today, the trend is towards simple layouts that let a site’s content come through cleanly and clearly. Bonus points are awarded to designs that use typography well, with clear information hierarchies and an obvious way for users to navigate through webpages. These type of designs also make “mobile-first” design paradigms much easier to implement. And considering that 51.3% of users access the internet through their smartphones, mobile-first is more important than ever.

We can also expect to see an increase in semantic design that puts information clarity and user experience first, reducing the number of hyper-complex or archaic website designs out there today.

Internet of Things Connectivity

Just like APIs were a big hit several years ago, connecting web services to the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a big trend of 2017 and will continue into 2018. IoT devices are Internet-connected objects can range from something as complicated as a tidal turbine to something as simple as a tea kettle. They use sensor arrays and server-side processing to receive and act on data in their immediate environment. APIs are currently in the works that allow web developers to connect to and communicate with IoT devices, and that degree of interconnectivity is likely to increase.

Of course, some concerns about IoT security have been raised, so developers may be tasks to help protect their users’ data from IoT-based breeches as well. It’s a double-edged sword, with opportunities for both developers and hackers, unfortunately.

Colorful, Typographically-Driven Designs

Now that skeuomorphism has fallen thoroughly out of fashion, user interface designers have been gradually moving to a typography-based web. It’s no surprise to developers that buttons are gone in favor of text-based links for most user interactions, but we can expect that trend to continue throughout the rest of 2017 and 2018. Look for big, bold text-based designs, with massive headers that make the content and context of a page instantly clear to the visitor.

We can also expect to see the bright, saturated colors of 2016 continue through 2017 and 2018 as large companies hop on the latest neon-gradient trend. And if past trends are any indication, we’ll all be parodying it by 2019.

AI and Machine Learning

AI has made massive leaps since it broke into the public awareness in the 80s and 90s. Just last year, Google’s AlphaGo AI beat a skilled human Go player for the first time, accomplishing a feat that had eluded AI experts for decades. Computers have passed the legendary Turing Test (by tricking us, to be sure), and AI assistants like Apple’s Siri are available on millions of devices. Of course, web developers won’t benefit much from a Go-playing machine, and an AI that plays Go well isn’t the same as an AI that helps users. But developments in AI-aided design for web development haven’t been far behind narrow-but-powerful machines like AlphaGo.

Adobe’s Sensei project promises to make AI- and machine learning-based tools available to developers looking to improve their applications and websites, and TheGrid has been offering AI-based web designs since 2014. As AI advances, we can expect to see more of these AI and machine learning developments leak into web design, making certain parts of web development easier while abstracting away some of the messy details.

Greater Number and Complexity of UI Animations

As the underlying technology of the web has become more advanced, more complex interaction design has steadily become more feasible. Today, it’s easy to use a JavaScript wrapper like jQuery or even HTML5 to add simple animations to your sites, and we can expect to see that trend increase as we move into 2018. Designers now have more powerful animation tools in their hands, and even today’s “old” browsers can handle reasonably detailed animations. When you consider how tastefully-designed, subtle animations can improve a user’s experience, it’s no surprise that we’ll see more of them in use as the months roll by.

As we move into the future, web design firms will need to adapt to the trends of the future as they come. It’s an exciting time in web development, as new technologies come online and new trends peek over the horizon.

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