In april last year I released a first version of my webapp called mecabricks. Since then I improved it quite a lot and I am now using the first post of this topic to introduce it a bit more. I'll try to maintain it in the future to talk about the new features, modifications, tutorials coming up and so on.
What is mecabricks?
Mecabricks is a free webapp that you can use to build LEGO 3D models and if you wish you have the possibility to publish them so that they are accessible to anybody. You actually don't need to install any software or plugin in your browser. The only requirement is to have a browser and a graphic card supporting WebGL. If I can't do anything if your GC doesn't support it, here are information about the browsers:
- Firefox - WebGL has been enabled by default since version 4.0
- Chrome - WebGL has been enabled by defalut since version 9.0 as well
- Opera - WebGL is supported since version 11 but is disabled by default.
- Safari - WebGL is supported since version 5.1 however it has to be enabled. For that, select Preferences in the Safari menu. Click on the Advanced tab. Check the Show Develop menu in menu bar checkbox. To finish, open the Develop menu in the menu bar and select Enable WebGL.
- Internet Explorer - Sorry, Microsoft doesn't whish to support it...
Currently Mecabricks is fully translated in French (my mother tongue) and English (my adopted language). However it is also partially available in Russian and Dutch.
Because it is a webapp, new parts are added without the need to update anything.
The library currently includes about 800 parts and I add new ones almost everyday. On a more technical side, they are made with Blender and exported as json files. If you wish to help me to model new parts, design new textures for minifigs don't hesitate to get in touch with me and I'll be more than happy to help.
You can also use the missing part form to request a part not yet modelled. I'll be notified and I'll try to make it as soon as I can.
Mecabricks also contains non-lego parts. They don't appear by default and to see and use them, tick the checkbox Display custom parts under the part library.
How to start building a model?
Like any other software, you will have to play with the workshop for a little while to fully understand how it works. However, to speed up learning curve you will find more information about the tools and shortcuts in the help menu of the workshop. I also made a video tutorial that I posted on youtube where you can learn how to build a simple model and how to publish it. I planned to make others for more advanced tools.
What kind of result I can expect?
Again it depends on your graphic card and browser. Mecabricks is using the antialiasing technic to smooth the edges however it might not be supported by your browser or GC and it will be more pixelated. Here is a model that I built recently. I used the printscreen function included in mecabricks to extract the image of the 3D model and I simply added the drawing in the background later without any other modifications. You can also have a look in gallery for an overview of what can be done with mecabricks.
It is now your turn to play with it. Have fun!
Edited by Scrubs, 21 February 2013 - 10:45 AM.