Jump to content


[Software] MecaBricks - Online Design Tool


  • Please log in to reply
148 replies to this topic

#1 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 28 April 2012 - 04:06 AM

Hello,

In april 2012 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 wish to support it...
Language
Currently Mecabricks is fully translated in French (my mother tongue) and English (my second language).

Part library
Because it is a webapp, new parts are added without the need to update anything.
The library currently includes 1000+ 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.


Posted Image




Embed Player
If you wish to display a public model on your website, you can use the following code and replace [ID] by the mecabricks Id of the model:

<iframe frameborder="0" allowFullScreen webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="http://www.mecabricks.com/embed/[ID]?autostart=0&animation=1&transparent=0&white=0&antialias=1"></iframe>

Edited by Scrubs, 16 September 2014 - 12:39 PM.


#2 legolijntje

legolijntje

    Posts: 2064
    Joined: 06-June 10
    Member: 11214
    Country: The Netherlands

Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:35 AM

That looks really good, I think it's very promising  :thumbup:, but what are the advantages of other desktop builders like sr3d builder?
Does it use LDraw bricks, or do you've made them yourself?

Edited by legolijntje, 28 April 2012 - 08:36 AM.


#3 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:13 AM

Wow, very interesting project!
I hope you choose LDraw bricks too, because that's the best way to have immediately a wide amount of parts and promote interoperability!

I tried to access using the link you provide, but I can only interact with a banner showing supported browsers and the WebGL logo. I use Firefox 12. Is there something I've to activate?

@legolijntje
I think the advantage is that you can access to your models from anywhere, and you don't need to install any software to do that.
I hope the software will be able to open files from internet, for example from a dropbox account or any other file hosting site.
"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!

#4 Superkalle

Superkalle

    Posts: 5551
    Joined: 21-December 08
    Member: 4755
    Country: Sweden

Posted 28 April 2012 - 10:13 AM

Hi and welcome Scrubs.

Really interesting work you got going here. An online Lego designer is an interesting step forward I think. Now I just got to install another browser  :classic:
Eurobricks Digital Design Forum - for all your LDD and Ldraw cravings

#5 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 28 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

Yes, one of the advantage is that you don't need  to install any software and the only thing you need is a browser.
No I don't use the Ldraw library. The parts have been made with blender (free 3D software) and exported for the 3d engine. I didn't find an easy way of converting the ldraw parts for now but I was thinking about at least exporting/importing the models to/from ldraw.

@Calabar Normaly you don't have to activate or do anything with firefox 12. I just tried it now it seems to work. weird. The banner you see is supposed to appear only when you browser doesn't support webgl...

#6 vynsane

vynsane

    Posts: 472
    Joined: 21-May 10
    Member: 10811

Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:20 PM

Very cool, looks like a very promising project. There's a lot of potential for extending the functionality, I'm sure. Some feature ideas off the top of my head:

  • Connecting the 'part' list with data from BrickLink, and only allowing it to be 'painted' colors it actually exists in
  • 'Bricklink wantlist' auto-export
  • User-defined brick palettes

Keep up the good work!
ALL HAIL THE BLACTRON EMPIRE!

Flickr Photostream | Dropbox - LDD files and instruction archive

The SVG Decals Library - Discuss on EB | Contribute on GitHub

#7 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:53 PM

View PostScrubs, on 28 April 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

@Calabar Normaly you don't have to activate or do anything with firefox 12. I just tried it now it seems to work. weird. The banner you see is supposed to appear only when you browser doesn't support webgl...
Very Strange... try to add a button to skip the banner, perhaps there is a problem in the identification of the browser but it would work if I could access to the viewport.
I have tried with Iron too (chromium 18), but with the same result.
"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!

#8 Philo

Philo

    Posts: 354
    Joined: 07-April 10
    Member: 10185
    Country: France

Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:00 PM

Interesting... works well here! (Seamonkey browser)

View PostScrubs, on 28 April 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

No I don't use the Ldraw library. The parts have been made with blender (free 3D software) and exported for the 3d engine. I didn't find an easy way of converting the ldraw parts for now
Have you tried LDView? it can export to .stl and .3ds, two formats that look supported by Blender (but I am NOT a Blender specialist!)

#9 jasonsmith

jasonsmith

    Posts: 77
    Joined: 29-May 11
    Member: 18116
    Country: Canada eh!

Posted 28 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

What a fantastic idea. A multi-platform tool.

View PostCalabar, on 28 April 2012 - 10:13 AM, said:

I hope you choose LDraw bricks too, because that's the best way to have immediately a wide amount of parts and promote interoperability!

Agree, to really make this take off I think using the LDraw library is a must.
My Illuminated UCS Falcon - http://www.eurobrick...dpost&p=1256070

#10 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 29 April 2012 - 01:49 AM

I tried to export Ldraw parts in STL format using LDView to import them with Blender but I need to rework them as the mesh is pretty messy and often it finally takes the same amount of time as making them.
I also handle the textured parts differently. Another point is that LDraw uses its own measurement system which I am not a big fan of.
I admit that I really enjoy designing the parts myself Posted Image.

@Calabar I don't detect the browser but only the fact that webgl is starting. Maybe your graphic card is not compatible... Could you try to open this page http://mrdoob.github...metry_cube.html and tell me if you see something? It would help me to maybe fix a bug.

Thanks

#11 AndyC

AndyC

    Posts: 1235
    Joined: 23-June 09
    Member: 6485

Posted 29 April 2012 - 08:17 PM

View PostScrubs, on 28 April 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

@Calabar Normaly you don't have to activate or do anything with firefox 12. I just tried it now it seems to work. weird. The banner you see is supposed to appear only when you browser doesn't support webgl...

Because of security concerns around the webgl api design, it's only enabled on a tiny number of whitelisted graphics cards/driver versions. So even having the right browser isn't enough to ensure you'll be able to run it. Shame as it sounds like an interesting project otherwise.
Posted Image

#12 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:46 AM

View PostScrubs, on 29 April 2012 - 01:49 AM, said:

@Calabar I don't detect the browser but only the fact that webgl is starting. Maybe your graphic card is not compatible...

View PostAndyC, on 29 April 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

Because of security concerns around the webgl api design, it's only enabled on a tiny number of whitelisted graphics cards/driver versions. So even having the right browser isn't enough to ensure you'll be able to run it. Shame as it sounds like an interesting project otherwise.
Ok, it seems we have found the problem.
I didn't know about a whitelist, and in this computer I've an old GF6100 integrated graphics.
I thought WebGL would run on every OpenGL capable computer.
"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!

#13 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

I found a page on the wiki of the khronos group in charge of webgl that is about white and black lists: http://www.khronos.o...tsAndWhitelists

#14 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:12 AM

Hello,

A month after, I kept improving mecabricks and there are now 400+ parts in the library which shall allow to build more awesome stuff.
It has also been accepted on the chrome experiment website by google, which I'm proud of :wink:.

Edited by Scrubs, 24 April 2014 - 09:54 AM.


#15 Superkalle

Superkalle

    Posts: 5551
    Joined: 21-December 08
    Member: 4755
    Country: Sweden

Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:11 AM

View PostScrubs, on 10 June 2012 - 09:12 AM, said:

It has also been accepted on the chrome experiment website by google, which I'm proud of Posted Image.
Congrats  :classic:
Well deserved!
Eurobricks Digital Design Forum - for all your LDD and Ldraw cravings

#16 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:11 AM

I keep working on mecabricks and adding parts - about 500 now.
Here is one of the last set I designed. This is the set 6595 - Surf Shack.

Posted Image


#17 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:32 AM

Today I modeled the set 10216 - Winter Village Bakery in mecabricks and added about 50+ parts in the library. Only the light brick is missing here.

Posted Image


#18 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:53 AM

Kia Ora,

I released the second version of the mecabricks workshop today which I think improves a lot the ease of use.

A new tool bar is located on the top of the page:
  • File: open / import / save / properties / new scene
  • Help: Tools / shortcuts
  • Camera orientation
  • Render mode: texture / wireframe
  • Grid: small / medium / large
  • Snap selection to grid
  • Pivot Point. relative to selection origin or cursor 3D.
  • Display grid
  • Display transformation axes
  • Reference system global or local
  • Initialise position and rotation of selection
  • Create a new folder in the hierarchy
  • Duplicate selection
  • Delete selection
You can now look for parts in the library using their names or references.

To organise the project (parts, folders) you can use the drag and drop functionnality with multiple objects.
It is possible to lock a folder which means that you won't be able to open it or add elements in it. If you click on one of its parts in the scene you will select all the parts from this folder.

To move parts you can use the axes. Pull the arrow corresponding to the axis (press ESC if you wish to cancel the move).
Or press G to start the translation, then X, Y or Z to constrain the translation along a particular axis in the global reference system and X, Y or Z again to constrain the translation in the local reference system.

Same method to rotate de parts but use the R key instead of G.

For the camera, no change. It is better to use a 3 buttons mouse, but keyboard is enough.
  • Zoom: mouse wheel (or CTRL + mouse)
  • Move: right button (or SHIFT + mouse)
  • Rotation: middle button (or A +mouse)
Don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer :classic:


Posted Image



#19 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

It seems the software is growing very well.

I've two questions:
- I indexed your software as "Online Design Tool". Do you want I modified the name in "Mecabricks Workshop"
- With the migration to the new board, it seems that the first post need a little fix. What do you think to use the first post to gather all the useful informations of your software, such as links, the last version, number of bricks supported, main features, future improvements, etc...?
"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!

#20 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:26 PM

Hello,
I guess if possible, maybe use only "Mecabricks" :classic:
I saw that my first post needed an update after the migration. of course it sounds like a good idea to use it to put the info relative to mecabricks. I'll do that.

#21 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

Hello,

Here are the last models I made on Mecabricks. They are 2 modular buildings - Grand Emporium (10211) and Pet Shop (10218). I put them together to take this screenshot.
This weekend, I'll try to reorganise the first post of this topic to present better the functions of the software, list the official lego sets already made and so on.
I also made a video tutorial that I uploaded on youtube to show how to use some of the tools to build a little lego frog.

Posted Image

#22 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

Any new parts added?
"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!

#23 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:52 PM

View PostCalabar, on 07 February 2013 - 12:09 PM, said:

Any new parts added?

Yes of course, There are now about 800 parts and still growing.

#24 Scrubs

Scrubs

    Posts: 100
    Joined: 13-April 12
    Member: 27954
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 10 February 2013 - 04:53 AM

Hi,

I just updated the first post of this topic to put more useful information about the software.
I will keep it up to date in the future.

Cheers

#25 Calabar

Calabar

    Posts: 2193
    Joined: 11-April 10
    Member: 10232
    Country: Italy

Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:19 AM

Great work Scrubs!
What do you think to share language files so that we could contribute to add missing languages?

A pair of questions:
  • I imagine that 800 parts refers to Design IDs (shape) and not to specific elements (shape/colour/decoration). Or perhaps decorated elements are counted as single elements?
  • Do you privilege old or new parts? I mean, your software is more adequate to built old or new sets?
  • About performances, has the software the same problems to manage big models as LDD? Or it is more/less efficient?
  • The software uses its own ecosystem or its files are in some way compatible with LDD or LDraw ones?
    Oops you already answer to this. I hope in an import/export function soon.
  • Models is saved in locale or is there an online library? Is it possible to open/save file from a personal cloud resource?
  • Is there a way to request a part to increase its priority?

"Official LEGO Sets made in LDD" topic: Read guidelines before posting!




2 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users