CAD is one of the most promising avenues for virtual reality (VR) in enterprise applications, both from the standpoint of creating virtual prototypes as well as the collaborative aspects. Now VR software company Sixense has partnered with HTC, makers of the popular Vive VR headset, to bring VR CAD design to DIY enthusiasts, as well.

Sixense’s MakeVR software aims to close the gap between VR and 3D printing by creating a 3D, interactive interface where users can create designs and export them as standard object files for 3D printing.

MakeVR's interface uses two Vive controllers, one for menu commands, and one for manipulating objects.
MakeVR’s interface uses two Vive controllers, one for menu commands, and one for manipulating objects. The software exports water tight designs for 3D printing. (Image source: HTC Vive / Sixense)

Some basic functionality includes creating shapes, adding textures, building simple objects, and duplicating objects. MakeVR also allows for scale adjustments, allowing users to make objects they create or the workspace as large or small as they want. You can make an object tiny enough to fit into the palm of your hand, or large enough that you have to walk around it. The software even adjusts the speed of your movement to coincide with your size relative to the object to add an additional layer of immersion.

MakeVR’s industry standard CAD modeling engine supports .sab and .sat files. The software can’t perform any work on .stl files, but it can export .stl files for 3D printing. The software engine also automatically creates water-tight models so that a 3D printer can print the files directly without any clean up to prevent printing errors.

The version currently availing is a free-form modeling tool targeted at makers and DIY designers primarily. Sixense is planning to release a pro version later this year that will include more precision tools for enterprise and professional applications. MakeVR is also not the only product of this type available on the market, Minddesk, Autodesk, Solidworks, Virtalis, and Oculus are just a few other companies that have either released their own VR CAD programs or integrated VR functionality into their existing software.

>> Read more by Chris Wiltz, Design News, May 10, 2017

MakeVR Brings Virtual Reality CAD Design to Makers