Autodesk rolls out new 3-D focus with bus tour across U.S.

SAN RAFAEL -- Autodesk is choosing the magic bus route to both gauge and spark interest in its new 3-D design and manufacturing technology.

[caption id="attachment_92830" align="alignleft" width="385"] The Autodesk 3DRV bus is a rolling advertisement for the "Maker Movement."[/caption]

A wildly painted RV pulled out of San Rafael last week for an eight-month tour of more than 100 cities, towns, schools and national parks "to explore how 3-D technology is fundamentally changing the way things are designed and made," the company said.

The world's leading design software company has basically put together a rolling advertisement for the "Maker Movement," a largely California-spawned interest in do-it-yourself manufacturing. Appropriately, one of the 3DRV's first stops was the Maker Faire in San Francisco on May 17-18.

According to Robert Shear, director of  the Autodesk Reality Solutions Group, the company is on top of three major manufacturing trends involving 3-D capture, design and fabrication.

"There's digital capture of images using smart phones, digital cameras, laser scanners and other devices. Autodesk leads the world in 3-D capture software," he said.

"We have computer-aided design (CAD) tools that bring sophisticated design capabilities within easy reach of just about anyone, including my nine-year-old son."

And Autodesk just launched an open source software platform aimed at makers of 3-D printers, to bring costs down and improve the user experience.

"We loaded the RV with equipment. You could call it a revolution in a box," said Mr. Shear.

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