Welcome to Orchard! If you haven't already figured it out, Orchard is a platform for Crowdsourced Design. In other words, it's a platform that enables people from all over the world to design together online using free, browser-based tools. This tutorial is part one of a two-part series for getting started in Orchard (see part 2 here). In this tutorial, you will learn the basics of the Orchard platform as well as how to modify existing objects on Orchard.

Before we get started, if you haven't already, open the platform in a new tab so you can follow along: 

Now would be a good time to sign up, so you can save what you make, download STL's and other cool things like that. Click the Hamburger menu in the top-right, then press "Sign Up" and follow the steps:

 By now, you've probably noticed the chat-based walkthrough in the bottom-right:

You can respond with feedback directly to that chat, or ask any questions you may have and we'll try to answer you as quickly as possible.

Now try clicking a design to view it. You can view a design by left-clicking on it which takes you to the single-design view. In this case, I've selected this particular virtual reality headset :

On the right, you'll see the Orchard design tree, which traces out the evolution of this object over time. The current branch is indicated by the largest circle at the top of the design tree. When hovering over each circle, you will be able to see a thumbnail of that particular iteration:

To the right of the tree are the comments:

The tab on the far-right is the list of parts in the scene. You can copy any of the parts from any scene, and add them to any other scene. To copy a part, just click the box next to the parts you want to copy, and press "COPY SELECTED PART LINKS"  (see the full article on Adding Parts for more details).

You can also approve of an object (similar to a like):

If you want to hold this object in your hand, you can press the "Order" button, and order a 3D print of the object (in materials ranging from plastic to ceramics and industrial metals). If you have your own printer, you can download the STL. Or you can download the base CAD format. 

To edit an object, select the button in the bottom-left: 

Give it a try. Press the button to edit one of the designs in the design interface.

The Modeling Interface:

There it is, the Orchard modeling interface. It looks pretty basic, but that's because all of its power is tucked under the hood. To rotate the camera, left-click and drag, to pan the camera, right-click and drag. Scroll to zoom. In the bottom-right are the camera controls for easier part orientation:

Unlike typical 3D modeling programs that shove the available modeling tools in your face (forcing you to guess when you can use them), in the Orchard modeling interface, the tools become available based on what's selected--we call it model-driven design. 

Available Actions Overview:

Give it a try. Single-left-click a part in the interface:

You'll see a few things happen. Most noticeably, the selected part highlights blue and a menu pops up, called the available actions.

The top button in blue enables you to edit that part. The two buttons below that enable you to move and rotate the object (respectively). Below that is the duplicate and delete buttons.

You'll also notice that measure tool pop-up in the bottom-right, which will display different measurements. In this case, it shows the global location of the object in the scene (relative to where it was created): 

Let's edit this part (it will now be considered a "shape"). Click "Edit Part," wait for "Successful Import" in the bottom-right: 

You'll notice that the part now has edge lines showing, as it is now an editable shape:

Now individual faces will be selectable on a single-left-click, and the entire shape will be selectable on double-click. Here, we show the options available on a single-click of the top face:

From the top to bottom, the options available are: 

  • to extrude, or push/pull the face to thicken the object; 
  • sketch and draw shapes directly on the face; 
  • fillet or round the adjacent edges; 
  • chamfer or flatten the adjacent edges
  • shell the face, which essentially hollows out the object by removing the selected face
  • Cross-sectional view to toggle visibility beyond or behind the selected face. 

For this example, we'll select extrude and pull the face up 2 cm, by clicking extrude, and typing in "2" into the "magnitude" field (alternatively, you can pull the arrows). "Cut" will subtract material in the direction of the extrude, and "Fuse" will add material in the direction of the extrude. The default is "Fuse," as shown below. See the detailed article about the extrude tool here

After pressing the checkmark, the extrude is applied:

Now try selecting an edge, which will yield the fillet (edge round) and chamfer (edge flatten) option:

Notice the length of the line is also displayed in the bottom-right of the interface:

Select Fillet. We will enter a 0.5 cm radius fillet:

Which results in: 

It's important to note that fillets larger than the nearest edge will cause errors. In the above picture, if I were to have done 1 cm, you can see the fillet would have gone beyond the left edge (it's best to try and avoid creating extra-large fillets and chamfers for now).

As you can see, many tools become available based on what is selected, but there are many other helpful tools in the interface as well. For example, hovering over the bottom-left of the screen reveals the menu for adding different things to the interface, like parts, sketches, backgrounds and basic shapes: 

On the top, is the button to add parts -- here you can paste parts you've copied from other scenes. Below that is the button to list the sketches (which we will go over in part 2 of this series). Below the list sketches button is the add backgrounds button, which adds a full, 360-degree background to the scene. And finally, at the bottom is the add shape button--which enables you to add primitive models, like a cube, cone, sphere, cylinder, and torus.

In the bottom-right of the modeling interface, you can edit the material of the part/shape, by selecting it, pressing the "Set Material" button, and pressing the "EDIT" button. 

You can do cool things like add wooden textures: 

When you are finished making a change to a scene, you can press the save button to publish the changes:

You'll then be prompted to enter information about the changes made (be as thorough as you think is necessary to communicate your intent with the world): 

One of the benefits of Orchard is, even if you aren't exactly sure what you want to create, you can "seed" a basic design--one that's close enough--and people around the world can edit and improve the design the same way you've just manipulated this design. At any point along its evolution, you can order a 3D print of that design, or download the STL (standard 3D printing file format) and print it yourself.

Although it may all seem slightly overwhelming at first, it's absolutely worth learning. I can't emphasize enough how empowering it feels to create your first product (trust me, it's awesome)!

Well done! Head on over to part 2, where we'll create a model from scratch using a combination of primitive shapes and sketches.

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