The advent of 3D printing has brought a number of hardcore changes to the way we view manufacturing, and it’s only going to get easier as time and technology moves forward. MakerBot, an outfit that specializes in 3D printing technology, has recently made life that much easier for 3D printing aficionados. They’ve rolled out an Android version of their mobile app so you can now interact with your 3D printer by simply using your Android tablet or smartphone.
MakerBot Mobile promises to streamline your 3D printing process and make your workflow even easier by allowing you to access any 3D model file from your Cloud Library. You can then optimize, scale, or slice the design, layer by layer, and confirm the print operation with only a tap of your finger. The app even lets you pause your 3D printing process or cancel it altogether. And if you’re one who gets really picky about details, you can have your MakerBot printer’s on-board camera send snapshots of the printing job every three seconds and have it sent to your mobile so you can monitor the process in real time.
The mobile app works with the MakerBot Replicator, Replicator Mini, and the Replicator Z18, which may require firmware 1.4 or newer to be installed. The app runs on any device running Android 4.0.3 and up and is deliciously lightweight — needing only 11MB of storage on your mobile device. The application also works in tandem with Thingiverse, which allows you to look for 3D models that aren’t in your current collection; when you find something from the Thingiverse library that you fancy, simply tap the “Print Now” option and the MakerBot Mobile app automatically takes over.
The only drawback is that for the app to do its magic, it needs to be within the range of your Internet-connected MakerBot 3D printer’s WiFi network. This means that, for the moment, you can’t do your 3D printing miles away from the operation while you’re on vacation and your printer is slaving away for your happiness. But take heart, as MakerBot has also announced plans to make the printing process accessible via 3G or 4G soon. Until then, we can be content with controlling the printer while enjoying lunch in the kitchen or the company cafeteria.