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"This new ModelMaker is awesome, I really like the way that you can build and combine different shapes.  Nice work!"  P.S.

Easy 3D Modeling Software


FabLab ModelMaker is an easy 3D modeling software for drawing 3D shapes, printing out NETS of the shapes and sending these to a SilhouetteSD fabricator machine shown below for trimming. FabLab ModelMaker can be used to print solid 3D shapes using Fab@School!



ModelMaker Download

Download FabLab ModelMaker for free

and try it on your PC or Mac.

ModelMaker gives children the chance to be thinkers, planners, problem solvers, designers, inventors, mathematicians and engineers!



FabLab ModelMaker Screen Shot

SilhouetteSD Fabricator

FabLab ModelMaker

"What I like most about this software is the ability for students of all ages to create, design, model and make their ideas."  And it is great fun for making paper models at home too! FabLab ModelMaker educational software enables children to design and manufacture models from 3D shapes like a cube, a cone, prism, pyramid etc to make boxes and simple models like buildings and space rockets. It gives children a hands on ‘design and make’ experience, a simplified taste of what is presently happening in the world of engineering and commerce.


"Model Maker is awesome and boy is it simple to use!"  K.S.


Cultivating Skills


When a group of youngsters come together to plan a design project, they form a team, co-operate, communicate and work with one another. They may need to research information from the local environment, books, the internet and other sources. In the design process they call on a variety of skills: language skills, thinking skills, social skills, hand and eye co-ordination, artistic skills, ICT skills and mathematical skills.


Schools can assist children to learn and practise all these skills from an early age. Educational software like the  ‘easy 3D modeling software' FabLab ModelMaker opens childrens eyes to how computers can be used to design and manufacture a product. FabLab ModelMaker enables children to design models using simple 3D shapes, it gives them a hands on ‘design and make’ experience stimulating and growing the skills they need to succeed throughout their working life.


These young fourth graders at Punahou School in Hawai'i are using ModelMaker in their math class, their teacher, Kris Schwengel, runs a great blog at Digital Engineering blog.


Nets of Castle to

Print and Make.

3D Modeling Overview


The idea of FabLab ModelMaker easy 3D modeling software is that you design a 3D model on the computer screen using simple geometric shapes and print them as nets for making into a paper model. Alternatively the printed geometric nets can be processed by a Silhouette fabricator, which scores, perforates, and cuts the net to form fold lines and trim it which is then used is then used to build the model.


FabLab ModelMaker provides a number of simple geometric shapes, cuboid, cylinder, cone prism, pyramid, sphere, wedge and frustum shapes to choose from. Select the shape you want to draw in the ‘edit’ window with a click of the mouse.

The shape is shown instantly as a 3D model, color it, move it around, rotate it, view it from any angle and adjust its size and shape. The next stage is to actually build the shape you have drawn. First you position the unfolded NET of the shapes, then print it, cut it out and construct a 3D paper model using scissors and glue.

This easy 3D modeling software puts real modeling power into the hands of the child, giving the potential to make simple things like boxes for packaging, and more complicated items like a house or a fun model like a borg cube space ship, the sky’s the limit!

The experience of designing 3D shapes on the computer and manufacturing a model from paper is an easy way into discussing related issues like the cost of manufacture, the kind of packaging which appeals to customers, and green issues like minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing models.

Castle made from

Irregular Prisms.


3D Modeling in Education


Learning in the area of design and technology and math needs a practical basis; investigating, evaluating, calculating, designing and doing. While children are familiar with word-processors, spreadsheets and databases, using tabs enables them to encounter the computer as a 3D design and manufacturing tool as well. It is an easy 3D modeling software for primary and secondary school classrooms and is used widely in both Design and Technology and Mathematics classes.

It is wise to start designing with something very simple. A first project could consist of just two shapes, a cuboid and a wedge, to build a farmhouse. Another idea might be to build a cuboid and a cylinder of similar dimensions and then compare how much sand they will hold.

FabLab ModelMaker educational software fulfils various functions in STEM education, and manufacturing the perfect 3D model is not usually the main objective! FabLab ModelMaker was not designed for making very sophisticated models, rather, it is an easy 3D modeling software which has proved accessible to a large number of students.

Students have used this 3D modeling software in a space project to design a rocket ship, a new box design for Bassetts confectionery, a model of the city centre in Michigan, the Empire State Building, and many more, with all the models being printed out as nets and then made into 3D paper models.

Becta, the British Government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning, commented on tabs, the predecessor to FabLab ModelMaker " The software is perfect for use at Key 2, 3 and 4, it addresses an important area for teachers wishing to implement Net modeling into their curriculum."  This easy 3D modeling software allows pupils to model ideas quickly on the computer.


D. R. Thompson, a teacher at Hounsdown School, used tabs, the predecessor to FabLab ModelMaker in the classroom and reports:


"This software greatly assists in the teaching of 2D and 3D concepts. Younger pupils are impressed by the software’s ability to view in 3D and generate Nets of the shapes. We use tabs at KS3, year 8 & 9 (12 –15 year olds) and also with the GCSE courses at key 4 product design". One of Mr Thompsons students made this amazing 3D model of a car using the tabs software.


Cognitive and Practical Skills

FabLab ModelMaker can help to integrate the use of IT into a wider design or mathematics project. When children use FabLab ModelMaker to make a simple 3D design, the process employs and refines a broad range of cognitive and practical skills such as:


Thinking about and discussing a design, arguing through problems, exercising oral skills.

Understanding and Interpreting

Interpreting other people’s ideas, verbal or written, to establish potential solutions.

Manual Dexterity

Drawing initial ideas and using tabs to experiment with them. Using the mouse to manipulate 3D shapes on the computer, and making the design, which involves cutting, folding and glueing the chosen material.

Spatial Awareness

Visualising how shapes exist in 3D space in relation to the 2D plan view.  Young children are using tabs very successfully to make simple 3D models from just one or two 3D shapes; such as a church building or a tissue box. In the process they become familiar with cuboids and wedges, they learn about Nets of the shapes and how 3D shapes look when flattened out, and they see how folded Nets can be used to make the 3D shape.

Children start to recognise these 3D shapes as being already present in everyday objects, as for instance, a table is a series of cuboid shapes joined together. One primary school is using tabs in a home design project. Secondary pupils bring a greater level of understanding to tabs and produce accordingly more sophisticated models.

Nets Modeling

A design is built using simple geometric shapes which are ‘unfolded’ on the computer screen and displayed as NETS. The NETS can be moved around on-screen by the pupil and organised in the optimum way to prevent wastage of the paper or card when the design is printed out for building. Some schools use coloring pencils or paints to decorate the model and younger students have produced some surprisingly innovative work with just a few simple shapes.


Design Skills

FabLab ModelMaker provides a medium to help pupils develop skills in designing and building.  Children generate ideas for 3D designs, taking into account the end user and the purpose of what they are designing. They think through and clarify these ideas, develop criteria and discuss how they are going to set about achieving the final product.

Math Skills

Children are exposed to real math concepts in a practical way when they are drawing and manipulating shapes to create 3D objects. Tabs easy 3D modeling software develops an understanding of geometry as pupils experiment with and manipulate 3D shapes.

Some math features of tabs commonly exploited include:  Using a grid to help positioning 3D shapes, adding dimensions, rotating shapes to new angles in the x, y and z axis. Comparing the perspective and orthographic views and analysing the orthographic projection including both the 1st angle and 3rd angle projection.

FabLab ModelMaker develops spatial concepts as pupils manipulate and move shapes and children improve their math vocabulary and concepts by recording and analysing tabs models, they see how they fit together and how the development of the Nets of the shapes form solid shapes.

Children arrange Nets by moving and rotating to best fit the paper to be printed, they can investigate a simple shape by calculating its surface area, volume, the length of its perimeter. They discover the number of sides, lines of symmetry, corners, angles, etc.

Whatever the design and however simple or complicated it is, the student will follow a similar design process, from the initial idea to the finished design.  Manufacturing the perfect model is not usually the objective; tabs easy 3D modeling software was not designed for making very sophisticated models, rather, it is a simple, functional, educational software to provide a taste of how computers and IT are used to design and make things in the commercial world.

Examples of designs made by the students in various schools include: Hubble Telescope, Camera & Tripod, Saturn V Rocket, Can Crusher, Pen, Cup, City Scape, Table & Chair, Razor, and many, many more.


This 3D modeling is fun!






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