jSketch - Part 1

date:Feb 24, 2009 @ 17:44

One of the nice things about the Mini9 (Ubuntu version) is the fact that Java comes ready installed, and for this reason I have decided to develop the application using Java.

jSKETCH is a proof of concept that explores how well, or otherwise, it is possible to have a lightweight client application that can be used for creating 3D models.

The first thing that comes to mind is how much functionality to embed in the client application.

For the purposes of this application, I will explore pretty basic functionality to establish what works well. At this stage the process and fluidity of response being more important than the extent of the functionality. It will be fairly s traightforward to add more functionality as required.

Development Pre-Requisites

I installed the full Java SE Development Kit (JDK) Version 6.0 Update 12 from


on a desktop machine (Dell T7400) running Windows XP.

NetBeans is an open-source free development environment (IDE) that I use for development of the Java-based client side application. I installed version 6.5 from


Alternatively use the single download combining both these features from


The final pre-requisite component for development purposes is to use Java 3D to provide instant access to the 3D functionality required by the viewer component of the client application.

The Java 3D API enables the rapid development of 3D graphics applications and internet based 3D applets although there may be alternative approaches.

Initial Application

The initial application will allow a user to create a 2D sketch which can be submitted to a server where it is processed into a 3D model. The 3D representation is extracted as a series of facets which are returned to the client application via the internet.

Here is stage 1, running as an application on the desktop. The application has been tested on a couple of different Mini9, laptops, and desktop machines.


In this initial version, the user can create simple, non-overlapping,, shapes from closed polylines, rectangles and circles.

Select the extrude or revolve options and submit the job for processing on the Research Lab server. User can use the 2D sketch view or the 3D model view.

Part 2 will describe the process in a little more detail and explain what’s happening on the server side.



Works on the MAC too