Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Windows 10 System Apps Review: 3D Builder

Note: This page is a review which forms part of the post Windows 10 System Apps Review

This is the app that precedes the alphabet, 3D Builder. There’s no better place to start than with one of the in-built apps, which when everyone gets Windows 10, makes them say “What?” when they see it in the start menu, before loading it up and saying “Eh?”

What’s this app for?

Well, initially I thought it was game. If it is, it’s very much like those Chinese finger puzzles that once you start playing with, you get stuck with. But no, this is an app for creating and editing models that you can then print to a 3D Printer. Yes, that device that’s in every home in the country in 2016. Not! 

Talk about future-proofing your OS. I’m almost surprised there’s no teleportation kit app in Windows 10 so we can all plan how we want our molecules split up and reassembled in the future one day, probably when computers are almost history.

Does it do the job it was primarily designed for?

Probably. But how would we know? Even if we created a model in the app, how many people know someone who has a 3D printer? Possibly at schools this app is more useful, but to the layman, this app is about as redundant as Windows 95.

You load it up and can immediately access a library of various 3D shapes, like a truck, chess pieces, plane, umm, sphere, but I really can’t see the point of this app for the majority of people. It’s like the Windows 10 version of ‘Windows Journal’ or ‘XPS Viewer’. They are in the OS, but really only a few people really know how to use them, or, more importantly, even want to use them. The needs of the few outweigh those of the many when it comes to the 3D Builder App’s existence.

What’s the alternative?

Most people won’t care. Quite possibly seeing right-clicking and uninstall as the best alternative but there are some very sophisticated 3D tools out there for the hard-core enthusiasts, some of which I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve seen and had demonstrated to me in my previous job where I dealt daily with distributing software, such as the lightweight SketchUp Pro, although “free” tends to be reserved for personal use or education purposes with these types of software. Although 3D Builder does have a degree of options for tinkering your objects, most of which might be simple to some but baffle me, I know for a fact that SketchUp has more.

Hit, Miss, or Maybe?

Miss, For the layman user of Windows 10, it’s a simple miss, purely based on its limited everyday usefulness rather than any technical issues within the app.


  1. Worth noting; 3D Builder now has a companion app, 3D Scan (https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh68pmc), that uses Kinect to scan objects for manipulation in Builder.

  2. What a stupid review. Why did you even bother to write it? "I have no use for it, therefore it's useless... and that's all there is to say." There are lots of apps in Windows that are not of use to everyone. Why is it bad that they exist? Are they taking up precious disk space? Are they interfering with your usage of the OS? Nope. Maybe if you crawled out of the dark little box in your mind where you like to hide, you might realise that lot's of people do have 3D printers or a desire to 3D print. Options are rarely a bad thing. Idiot.

  3. Okay so far. I just started using it yesterday, so I do not yet have full knowledge of its capabilities. I am looking for a way to build three-dimensional models to communicate conceptual ideas and print them two-dimensionally (saved as a pdf and printed on paper or emailed). It does this and it does it for FREE (not free to 3-D print, of course). While I prefer more sophisticated parametric modelling tools, such as Sketch-Up and Revit, those tools are very costly. This product appears to fulfill the basic needs of our non-profit organization and we appreciate not having to pay dearly for occasional use. If you have some basic skills, you can draw well enough and get your idea across with enough detail. I also appreciate that it is out there so I can readily send the files out to our design and construction teams for them to view and edit as well.

    By the way, you may be able to find a 3-D printer at your local, public library.