Introduction: Make Art From Everyday Objects (using 123d Catch and Meshmixer) - TfCD

This tutorial shows how you can transform everyday objects into a cool arty object using Autodesk 123D Catch and MeshMixer. As an example we have chosen the simple, blue housing of this eraser (see pictures), but you can do it with other objects as well. Imagine this housing is broken or you just want to pimp it up a bit, this tutorial shows you how you can do this.

Step 1: Make Photo's and Load Them in 123D Catch

First download the desktop version of 123D catch or the mobile app version
from the app store.

The next step is to carefully photograph your object. Take photos of the product from different positions and perspectives. Take between the 20 and 50 pictures, depending on the complexity of the product’s geometry. Be sure to capture sharp pictures and try to keep the camera on a constant distance to the object. Do not use a flash

The application will not be able to scan (semi) transparent or high reflective surfaces. It is useful to have a reference surface underneath, like a newspaper. This makes it easier for the system to recognise the camera positions from the photos. Use a scene with enough and diverged lighting. Make sure there is enough contrast between product and surface (don’t put a white product on a white surface).

In the 123D Catch application click on ‘start a new capture’ and select all the useful pictures. Now the application will start calculating the 3D model. This can take a while.

Step 2: Stich Your Photos and Remove Background

In the 123D Catch application you can manually stich photo's that are not recognized properly. Hereby you connect points which are the same in different photos. After this you can remove the background and make sure you have only your object that you want to edit left.

For tips and tricks look at:

Step 3: Open Your Object in Meshmixer

Export your object in the 123D Catch application as .obj file in order to be
able to open it in MeshMixer.

Download Meshmixer from the Autodesk website and open the program. Open your .obj file in MeshMixer. You can now start editing your object.

Step 4: Edit Your Object

You can edit your object in any way you like. MeshMixer is a sculpting tool so you can sculpt and create modifications to your object as you want.

Probably you will need to close the bottom of the object. Make use of the inspector tool (under edit) to close the gap at the bottom. In order to make the object hollow you can insert a rectengular box (one of the standard items in Meshmixer) with a little bit smaller dimensions as the eraser, so that it fits perfectly inside. You can than substract the volume of this box from the volume of the object.

We have used the sculpt-brush tool to make some organic looking creations. You can also for example put your name in there or remodel your hole object.

For tips and tricks about MeshMixer go to:


Step 5: 3D Print Your New Arty Object

You can save your modified object as an .stl file. Load your .stl file in the program for your 3D printer and you can start printing in right away. Our model was printed in the Ultimaker 3D printer.

In the end you will have your own, personalized, arty variation of in this case eraser housing. However, this method can be applied to any other object you would like to modify! You can see our outcome on the pictures included in this instructable.