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Yeehaw Wand Review: Designing in Augmented Reality

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Picture of Claire Sembera
by Claire Sembera
Jan 23, 2018

Yeehaw Wand Review: Designing in Augmented Reality

The Yeehaw Wand is an exciting new technology that takes a new approach to 3D designing. It aims to eliminate the need to be fluent in a CAD program to create a design from scratch. In this Yeehaw Wand Review, we’ll take you through the pros and cons of the Kickstarter backed 3D scanner.

Yeehaw 3D has taken designing out of the CAD space and into augmented reality with the new Yeehaw Wand. In combination with the 360° plate, the Yeehaw Wand enables you to design free-handedly in augmented reality.

The digital brush that can be used to “create or recreate anything”, and Yeehaw Wand‘s price of $99 aims at families, designers and makers.

This new technology is a new artistic expression, as well. The Yeehaw Wand acts as an extension of your arm, imitating the act of taking a paintbrush to a canvas. In this way, it not only has its own personalized flair, but it also is helping to close the gap between art and technology.

When designing in a CAD software, some of the magic can be lost in the drawing process as you can get lost in the numerous drop-down menus, options, and controls, especially if you haven’t achieved pro-status. Everything is very specific and detailed – which is great when you need a specific/detailed design. But it can hinder the creative process and halt the ideas becoming transformed from thought to reality.

The Yeehaw Wand wants attempts to eliminate this hassle and expand the accessibility of 3D design. Read on to find out if they were successful in this Yeehaw Wand review.

Yeehaw Wand Review Pros

  • Innovative idea
  • Acts as an in-between step to get ideas into reality
  • New art form within the technological sphere
  • Less training required compared to CAD software
  • Several options to draw (line, area, ring, up to 6-sided, mirror)
  • Can save designs onto the app
  • Can group items together
  • Drawing field extends past the camera’s viewing span
  • Yeehaw Wand’s price is relatively moderate ($99)
  • App available for Android and iOS

Yeehaw Wand Review Cons

  • Only the first save will not be included in the obj. file
  • Cannot open/send a design without 360° plate in view
  • App shuts down semi-often – losing work
  • Screen does not stay bright on its own
  • All features not immediately obvious
  • Different “strokes” often misalign, creating unevenness

Yeehaw Wand Review Verdict

The Yeehaw Wand shines in creating a much needed middle step between creative design and detailed modeling. It allows for these two to be separated, greatly expanding the accessibility of 3D design.

We think the Yeehaw Wand is great for the intermediate step, to give shape to an idea. But in it’s current form, it lacks precision to be able to create a final draft of the design.

The main problem we faced is only what’s included in the first save will be exported. It will, however, save onto the app. This reiterates that the Yeehaw Wand is best for designing and remaining in the digital space.

When working with the Yeehaw Wand, give yourself some time to become acquainted with how it works. It’s a completely new skill and art form. Just like painting, don’t expect your first creation to be something you want to hang on your wall forever.

It’ll take time to develop the skill, but we feel it’s worth the time.

Once you get more comfortable with how it works and how to manipulate the drawing space, the Yeehaw Wand enables you to create beautiful, unique designs while simultaneously being able to see them in 3D.

yeehaw wand review

Yeehaw Wand Review The Loooong Read

When you first hear “Yeehaw” perhaps you think of a cowboy with a lasso above his head yelling “yeehaw” as he gallops after cattle. However Yeehaw 3D is well on its way to redefine what first comes to mind by updating this term to make it re-integrated in the new age of technology.

Yeehaw 3D is a new company under Shenzhen Madun Technology Co., Ltd. based out of Shenzhen, China. They shine in making complicated technology simple and accessible to everyone. They currently are known for the kids Yeehaw 3D Printer they came out with last year. But they haven’t stopped there. Their desire to make 3D technology accessible to all led them to develop the Yeehaw Wand that takes the design process out of the programming sphere and into (augmented) reality.

The Yeehaw Wand is expected to be released to the public next month (February 2018). The campaign was funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Yeehaw Wand Review The Product

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: The Product

When we received the Yeehaw Wand, it was accompanied by the 360° plate, a phone stand, and a clip-on lens to de-magnify the viewing pane.

The wand and the 360° turntable are fundamental givens; the other two are add-ons. The phone stand was very helpful to get the perfect angle while keeping the phone steady. If you opt out of this option, we recommend using another or 3D printing your own (e.g. this one from Thingiverse). The clip-on lens was also advantageous as it lessened the distance required from the camera lens.

Setting up was decently easy, the Yeehaw Wand connects automatically via Bluetooth 4.0, and the only thing left was to put the wand and 360° plate in the viewing pane and start drawing. We did have some issues with getting it to connect initially, but had no problem the second day or since.

Yeehaw Wand Review Design

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: Design

The interface of the app is quite simple. Upon opening there are three options: Template, Library and Explore. The Temple tab allows you to take a base design provided by Yeehaw, say a pair of glasses, and add your design approach to it. The Explore tab also has pre-made designs, but rather links to 3D model repository Sketchfab to view the object.

The main tab of importance is the Library tab. Here your files are stored, and the lovely, inticing button to create a new object is offered.

One thing the design does not offer is settings. This could be nice, for instance, to be able to switch the camera direction. The iPad uses the front-facing camera (selfie mode), and the iPhone the forward-facing camera (normal camera mode). Having to draw behind your phone can be slightly strenuous as the drawing plane is then quite far from you. It would be nice to be able to switch this and not need to reach around. But alas.

There are a few settings options offered within the drawing mode. However, these are limited to what can be done after a designed is completed: trash, save, email, upload to Sketchfab and send to a Yeehaw printer. While these are important, they don’t help with the limitations stated previously.

Yeehaw Wand Review Drawing

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: Drawing

There are several options when it comes to drawing: color, thickness, rotation, mirror, and shape. The different shapes available are line, area, and ring. Pairing these with the other features encompasses any shape you could want!

The color wheel is more than it seems, housing both the color and thickness options. By touching the wheel and dragging your finger up/down you are also able to choose the thickness of the drawing point.

Aside from drawing, you can manipulate the object on the screen: sizing (two-finger pinch), moving (two-finger drag) and rotating (one-finger drag). The sizing and moving options work as expected, however, an important thing to know about the rotation of the object is it will always rotate with the axis at the point of origin for that specific “stroke”. You can move the object and turn the plate to change the rotation direction, but the point of origin will always be the axis. Keep in mind here, that there is no reset button to return the object to its original position.

The main problems we encountered during our Yeehaw Wand review had to do with the drawing plane. Firstly, the 360° plate turns quite easily, which then makes it very difficult to keep the drawing plane still. Regardless of not touching the 360° plate nor the phone, the wand would still draw in slightly different planes. It’s harder to tell in the app, but becomes quite evident when trying to print as the object will then not lay flat. We’d like to see some sort of snapping function that would compensate for slight movements in the rotation.

Yeehaw Wand Review Features

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: Features

While the only hitch in the drawing phase came down to experience and artistic ability, a real problem did occur when taking our design to the next level.

Once you’ve completed your design, you have a couple of options: save, send, upload or print. If you have a Yeehaw printer you’re set as the app is set up to connect directly to a Yeehaw 3D Printer. The save option is pretty straightforward too.

However, problems came with exporting the file: the app will only export the .obj file of the version that was included in the first save. This is true for both emailing the files and uploading to Sketchfab, sadly resulting in the inability to print the final design. This becomes quite problematic if you’re designing a more complex model and want to save as you go to not risk losing all your work.

Other (positive) features of the Yeehaw Wand include the ability to copy, import pre-made designs and grouping different “strokes” together.

Yeehaw Wand Review Printing

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: Printing

Regardless of the issues with exporting and laying flat, we wanted to try out printing some of our designs.

As the most common method of 3D printing is with an FDM printer, we started here first. When the model was flat or had a flat base, this printing method worked great and produced some nice prints. But even our “flat” designs proved to not be 100% flat and printed a little funky.

One of the findings of this Yeehaw Wand review: The device is best paired with a printer type that doesn’t require supports, such as SLA or SLS, or is manipulated in an external program.

Yeehaw Wand Review Wrapping Up

Image of Yeehaw Wand Review: Wrapping Up

We think the Yeehaw Wand has great potential in turning the design space on its head and moving it into a more user-connected space, encouraging inspiration and creativity. The Yeehaw Wand allows you to instantly take a shape/design that you have in mind and draw it in 3D space. It’s a perfect drawing board for brainstorming different ideas. Especially as Yeehaw Wand’s price isn’t very high.

There are some issues when leaving the digital space and attempting to give life to your creations. There are some tweaks that are needed, but we look forward to seeing where this technology goes.

License: The text of "Yeehaw Wand Review: Designing in Augmented Reality" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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