I know what you’ve been thinking—why can’t 3D modeling be more like Minecraft? Well, the folks at 3D Slash have apparently been thinking the same thing. They’ve put together a web-based voxel editor that can export STL files for printing. The result should feel fairly natural to those with Minecraft experience.
Even though my quick little creation above is rather boxy, 3D Slash allows you to drill into each block, splitting them into sub-blocks upon sub-blocks. This allows you to model curves, defined in smaller and smaller pixels.
The editing experience was easy to grasp, though tool-changes are unnecessarily slow. All went swimmingly until I tried loading up the exported STL file. [Note that the generated STLs are in binary format, but if you need ASCII, they can be converted using the convertSTL Ruby script.] Unfortunately, most of my apps didn’t care for the generated file. Even with ASCII conversion, they were throwing errors. The only place I could preview the file was in Cura:
Still, the idea has serious promise. As an alternative experience for modeling, 3D Slash brings something fun to the table that is easy to start with. That counts for quite a bit when talking about modeling software!