Silhouette America officially released its “new” ModelMaker software this week, but it’s probably not for you. Even Silhouette is marketing this as an educational program, not a crafting one, but you may still be tempted since it bears the Silhouette name.
A little history… At least as far back as 2010 there was an educational software product called FabLab Modelmaker from a small British company named Aspex. Fablab ModelMaker allowed you to design basic 3d paper projects and cut (or print and cut) them on your Craft Robo, Original Silhouette or SD machine.
Silhouette hired Aspex to write the Silhouette Studio software and would eventually buy them out. The ModelMaker software languished with no updates for the Cameo and license key sales were halted. This week, Silhouette re-released the identical software with no new features except for the ability to cut to the newer machines. (The good news is they didn’t spend resources updating this with so many pressing issues on the Cameo side).
Unless you are a math teacher or home school mom, there’s not much to ModelMaker that would interest you. I say this because it’s old (7 years is a long time in 3D years), not designed for crafters, has a limited feature set (you can’t weld shapes together, for instance) and there are other free tools, such as Template Maker (covered extensively elsewhere on this blog) that are much simpler and better suited for paper crafter purposes. My tutorial on using Template Maker with Silhouette Studio DE is here.
But don’t take my word for it, you can get a free trial of ModelMaker here. (Users of Silhouette Studio v1 or 2 will immediately recognize the interface design.) The trial version has a 15 minute time limit and can’t save, but you can see how it works and if it meets your needs. Be sure to compare it to TemplateMaker, Sketchup or Pepakura depending on what your kind and level of 3d papercrafting need is.
ModelMaker does have the one feature we’ve been consistently asking for in Silhouette Studio, it can save as SVG. So maybe Silhouette will revisit their decision to remove this capability from Silhouette Studio. Never hurts to ask.
ModelMaker intro video circa Feb 2010
Silhouette’s re-release video