Since its inception, 3-dimensional printing has always delivered extensive value to the engineering world enabling the visualization of a design before production of the first unit. In the past several years the availability and potential uses of object printing have expanded, due in part to the reduced cost of technology and the introduction of cloud based printing companies. Cloud based printing services enable designers from all over the world to create 3-dimensional objects in traditional modelling software packages and have the models printed and shipped to them for review. This has provided accessibility to 3D technology for those who may not otherwise have access to a printer with this capability.
There are several cloud printing providers in the market, each delivering their own unique set of services ranging from basic upload and printing of already created files to easy creation web-based tools complete with tutorials for those new to the 3D modelling world. One of the cloud providers in this space, Sculpteo, has just introduced the first mobile application for 3D print design.
The Sculpteo mobile app is available in the iTunes Store for Apple devices including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The app is free to download, install, and use and has the potential to introduce a large number of people to the 3D printing concept through its easy-to-use interface and understandable options. The app is not a full-featured design tool for all creative inspirations as it is limited to pre-defined objects that effectively allow you to embed details into already designed models. Available collections include coffee mugs, vases, cups, bowls, plates, or completely unique iPhone cases. Each of these can be selected, customized, and ready to purchase or share in just a few moments.
For those models incorporating a profile picture of a human subject, the photo can be accessed from an existing library or can be taken from within the Sculpteo app. Non-photo based customizations include pixel editing tools and text boxes to create a one of a kind design. On many models the size can be adjusted and all allow for selection of one of six available colors: white, black, blue, yellow, red, or green. For ease of use, the app allows quick visualization of the design throughout the process with the click of a button. Once the object reflects the intended design and is in a final state, it can be added to the cart to purchase the finished 3D object, saved as an image, or digitally shared via email, Facebook, or Twitter.
Sculpteo’s app is limited in functionality and will likely not appeal to those with greater experience in the 3D modelling realm, but for new audiences who have not yet been exposed to 3D printing, the simplicity and ease of use of this mobile app expands the world of additive manufacturing into an entirely new direction. As Sculpteo adds functionality to their mobile app, and competing cloud providers create their own services in this market, we can expect more fully capable feature sets in the 3D design mobile platform arena.