Tiles by Cadigo is a 3D modeling program for kids that lets the wee tykes drop blocks, walls, and pixels into an environment and then output the object for 3D printing. Designed to be dead simple, you basically create a shape in 2D and then “extrude” it into 3D, adding features as you build.
The software costs $25 for an early “Founders” edition with free updates, larger canvas and more block options. Less expensive versions reduce the size and shape of the objects you can create. The company is looking to raise $30,000 and will make the software available on PC, Mac, and Linux and iOS and Android if they reach their stretch goals.
To create objects you simply place LEGO-style bricks in virtual space. Once you’ve built your model you can export to an STL file for printing on a Makerbot or similar printer. Aimed at the very young, Tiles offers a number of building styles including additive building by dropping blocks and “chip-way” that lets you remove material from a larger block. Unlike tools like Printcraft, which translate game worlds into STL files, this is a true CAD tool, albeit one with considerably reduced complexity.
Tiles was created by Cadigo, a 3D model marketplace, and is the company’s first software offering. They also allow users to upload objects to their library so you can share your blocky creations with the world. Like TinkerCAD, Tiles lets the extremely inexperienced try their hand at 3D modeling and, once they get good, to graduate into more complex tools. If there is one thing holding back the average 3D hobbyist its an understanding of 3D design and Tiles is doing its best to remedy that.