First came less expensive 3D printers that made home printing accessible to hobbyists and engineers alike. Now a wave of apps has emerged that will pair with every 3D printer on the market. Expensive software packages are obsolete now that apps are available for nearly every mobile device and desktop computer. We’ll discuss the highlights of the top 3D printing apps, and leave the decision making to you.
Mobile Apps for iOS and Android for On the Go Printing
If touchscreens are your thing, Morphi’s mobile app contains 3D shape libraries and simple modeling tools that are ideal for a range of abilities. Export your creations in .STL format then uses a 3D printing service or a cheap home 3D printer for production. Morphi caters to educators and families with its introductory engineering and math concept work.
With apps for both Android and iOS, the MakerBot Mobile app allows users to track printing progress via a mobile device. Pause or cancel a print job from your phone or tablet when using MakerBot’s branded 3D printers. Other apps available from MakerBot include Thingiverse and Thingiverse Education, with mobile access to educational engineering lessons and a 3D printing community. Kid-friendly features make learning STEM concepts engaging while mobile options take designing and printing on the go. The MakerBot Cloud Library stores files for easy access and, click and go 3D printing.
Web Based Apps Packed with Features
When you think “app,” you might be imagining tiny mobile viewing windows and oversensitive touch screens. If mobile apps aren’t your thing, desktop apps are both accessible and responsive. For a classroom setting when teaching engineering concepts, desktop apps have more wiggle room than tablet or smartphone screens.
Autodesk, a software maker with tech in every industry, offers select 3D modeling apps and software for home use. Their web-based app, Tinkercad, requires no CAD or design experience. Along with a range of design features, Autodesk also hosts community forums and gives free training for their software. With the recent rush of 3D printing popularity, connecting with other designers and hobbyists is a desirable perk of using any app. Autodesk’s platform includes a gallery of designs and the ability to share user creations.
The highlights of today’s top 3D printing apps are, most notably, accessible features combined with a sense of community. When great minds come together, great 3D builds emerge.
Image credits: Jordan McQueen