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Can You 3d Print From Your Phone? 3D Printing Phone Cases

Can you 3d print from your phone?

Have you ever wanted to 3d print a toy for your child, but didn’t have a printer? Well, now there’s an app for that. There are several apps that will allow you to 3d print from your phone!

You can even send the files straight from your phone or iPad right to the printer. In this blog post, we’ll cover these three apps and how they work. We hope you enjoy it!


Can you 3d print from your mobile?

Yes, you can. Today’s smartphones are powerfully little computers. And thanks to the ubiquity of the cloud, they’re all but guaranteed to always have an internet connection. Most 3D printers can be accessed by your phone or tablet with free apps that run in a browser window.

This is fascinating for several reasons: it makes printing truly mobile, it opens up the possibility of social 3D printing, and it quite literally puts a new spin on fabrication.

All but one of the devices below are powered by either Android or iOS.

The exception has Windows Phone 8 support but still works with Android via DLNA. If you’re looking for stand-alone printers that don’t need an app, check out our guide to the best 3D printers.

3D Systems Sense (apps & CODE)

The most fully baked mobile printer we’ve seen. It sends prints to your phone via Wi-Fi and its companion app (free).

You can’t do much with models you download or share—you can use them only on the Sense.

But the Sense is a multifuel printer that can also accept files from third-party software via USB or an SD card.

The 3D Systems Cube is cute, but the Sense offers much better prints and more advanced controls for just $50 more.

CreatBot DX printer

Obviously inspired by the MakerBot Replicator, this robot has two separate extruders so it can print with two colors at once. It’s not on store shelves yet, which means its only connectivity option is Wi-Fi.

But CreatBot says it will have an app ready when the printer ships in September—Android first, then iOS not long after. And you’ll obviously need to own one of these too: they’re preorder only, for now, priced around $1,600.

best material for 3d printed phone case

Can You 3d Print From Your Phone?

3D printing photography file & scan

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Well, not when you’re talking about your favorite website, Shapeways, and the iPhoneography phenomenon.

Shapeways is known for its brilliant 3D printing services and incredibly talented community of artists who use our in-house white, strong & flexible, or full-color sandstone 3D printers to make any design possible. This includes almost everything under the sun…literally! We recently partnered with NASA to make this awesome model of Pluto right here in White Strong & Flexible:

But we also print iPhones!

And iPads!

Yes, all things Apple also get printed at Shapeways and they look so good that BuzzFeed made a round-up of some of our best models last week. We received a lot of questions about the prints and it seemed that many people were really curious to learn more about how they’re made, so we decided to write this blog post!

The iPhoneography phenomenon is something that’s near and dear to our hearts here at Shapeways because it all started with a community member, Andy Seliverstoff. He is an amazingly talented photographer who has begun using 3D printed models in some of his very famous photos.

To see more examples of what he does with 3D printing check out his photostream.

Andy Seliverstoff was one of the first artists on Shapeways to start experimenting with iPhones as props for photography.

Here he started creating these beautiful photo series featuring children with their beloved iPhones.

You can really see the detail in these prints – especially when you get close to them:

Andy Seliverstoff quickly became a viral sensation and his photos of children and their iPhones were featured on some of the biggest websites and news outlets including BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, and even got him an appearance on Good Morning America! He’s also been interviewed by many other big-name publications, such as People Magazine.

We reached out to Andy to find out more about his work with Shapeways (he has since become a friend). Here is what he shared with us:

Q: What was your turning point when you realized that 3D printing would be part of your life?

A: “We had to make a choice: we could either buy a flatbed scanner or order a 3D scan from Shapeways.

We chose the latter option and that was my turning point. I ordered a custom 3D-printed model of me as an experiment, and it came out great! After that, I was hooked!”

personalized 3d phone cases

Can You 3d Print From Your Phone? (cre: instructables)

Best app for 3D printing design

I’ve had my printer for about 2 weeks now and I am only just starting to get the hang of it.

This app makes creating new prints so simple, even if you know no CAD skills at all. The custom settings are great, allowing me to use my machine just right. Absolutely perfect tool for anyone who wants a 3D printer or is thinking of getting one. Can’t wait to see what comes next!!!

This is an amazing app. Makes 3D printing a lot easier, and there is no learning curve.

Solid design app

This app has simplified the process of creating 3d models for me and my printers. Thank you!

Really simple to use with some great features like the ability to make your model hollow and add pocket holes (for screws!) I’ve paid for other apps that weren’t nearly as good as this one.

Great free CAD tool

For what it’s designed to do, it does very well. It’s easy enough so anyone can get started right away but also be useful for an expert designer/engineer who needs help converting files from other systems…or just wants to paint on their designs.

The UI works pretty well and it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it. They have a ton of great how-to videos available if anyone wants more information before downloading the app…but I think it’s been well designed for ease of use from the beginning, so you won’t really need them.

Great app

It is a must-have app for making 3D printed projects. Very helpful!

This App will change your life! by Saj1902 So simple yet powerful tool that makes printing complicated items a breeze without having to learn CAD/CAM programs that take years to master while this one has everything you need built-in!!! O_O

Handy app

Great app. I download it for my 3D printer and works fine, what was the best of all is free! Thank you very much for this new tool 😉

can you 3d print phone cases

Can You 3d Print From Your Phone? (cre: lifewire)

Can you use an iPad for 3D printing?

Yes! It depends on your specific needs and the quality of the printer you are aiming for. If you need a super high resolution (the smallest layer you can print is 0.05mm)

IPad isn’t the best choice here due to its’ screen pixel density (though some printers like Photon provide an option to print the highest resolutions with help of an external monitor). Note that if we talk about low-resolution prints

They can be easily done on 3rd party smaller 10″ tablets as well, but not on iPad Air 2. On the other hand, if we look at iPads as a tool for visualization and photography purposes – it’s one of the best choices currently available…

How does it work and what do you need to make it work (except an iPad)?

I’m using an Anet A8 3D printer with Marlin/Smoothieware firmware installed. Here is the full list of things that I needed for this project:

-Anet A8 Printer (Amazon, Gearbest); -PVA (water-soluble) filament for 3D printers – 1kg spool costs around $20 on Amazon, Gearbest, etc.; -Raspberry Pi 2 Model B with Raspbian Wheezy installed. You can use any newer version of RPi or even RPi3 if they are supported by your favorite host software. Check out my previous articles on how to prepare your Pi for 3D printing in 10 minutes with OctoPrint or in 30 minutes with Cura that will be available soon on this site. Check out the video below to see that whole process; -External 5V 2A power supply for RPi (2.5A would be even better);

-USB OTG cable which you can get it for ~$1 on Amazon, Gearbest, etc.;

-FFC USB cable (~$2 on Amazon or locally);

-PVA Glue (common Elmer’s white glue). I used only 0.5 grams of it so your costs are close to $0 if you have some at home already;

-Smartphone/Tablet monitor with HDMI input, or even better combined with built-in speakers (like in Google Pixel C);

-A computer running macOS, Windows or Linux; -One USB A to Micro B cable. Make sure it is long enough to put RPI far away from your working place. I used ~1 meter (~3ft) USB 3.0 high-quality one that costs only $2 on Amazon, Gearbest, etc

If you are planning to use a Bluetooth mouse/keyboard instead of the wireless ones connected via USB OTG cable

– make sure they are supported by Raspberry Pi! You won’t find any info online about this…

First of all, let’s connect everything according to our wiring diagram:

I “assembled” everything together with some hot glue so it looks like that: Let’s look at the update functions of my Marlin 3D printer firmware. I have 2 buttons assigned to “Prepare” and “Cleanup” commands. Preparing prints means sending initial gcode commands which are responsible for calibration, heating, endstops etc. Cleaning up prints means finishing all print processes without homing the Z axis (which will only make a mess) and waiting for all heaters/motors to cool down. All this logic is implemented in “/* Call prepare/cleanup functions on button press */” section of the configuration .h file which you can find under Configuration_adv.h tab in the Marlin directory on Github or inside the Marlin 1.1 folder on SteamCMD.

how to make a 3d printed phone case

Can You 3d Print From Your Phone? (cre: techradar)

Best phone for 3D scanning

There are two ways to create models that mimic physical objects. The first is known as photogrammetry, which lets you create a model of an object by taking hundreds or even thousands of photos from different angles and perspectives, then creating a 3D image based on those photos. When the resulting images are compiled together, they appear to show something made out of thin air. This technique has been used by engineers to create three dimensional renditions of ancient Egyptian artifacts for years now , but it’s not practical for everyday use because it requires far too many pictures.

Apple iPhone X

iPhone X comes with an all-new TrueDepth camera system on the front with advanced face detection capabilities that work in conjunction with the new Super Retina display to enable new features such as Face ID and animoji.

This article is about the 2nd way to create 3D models, which relies on lasers.

The problem with lasers is that they require bulky equipment, which might seem like a deal-breaker for anyone looking for an easy way to scan everyday objects in their own home.

Fortunately, this technology has become so small that it can fit inside smartphones, giving people everywhere the chance to turn any object into digital form without breaking the bank. There are plenty of apps designed specifically for this purpose on iOS and Android devices at every price point, but if you’re looking for one of the best professional apps available today then ReconstructMe is your best bet.

Before I delve into the details of this application, I feel obligated to explain what lasers can do and why they work for this sort of thing.

The term 3D-laser scanning is thrown around a lot in reference to these sorts of apps, but there’s actually something rather interesting going on behind the scenes:

As you might know, lasers aren’t actually visible unless they’re reflected off of another object.

This is because they tend to lose energy rapidly; thus, by the time that laser light bounces back into your eye, it may not even be strong enough to detect without special equipment.

Since laser scanners rely on sending beams out and taking readings on how long it takes for them to return (with some advanced imaging software), this means that objects deep within or behind other objects will not be detected, creating a mesh that only represents the outer surfaces of an object.

This is why these sorts of apps are not yet capable of capturing the insides of objects, but there’s nothing stopping developers from taking these capabilities further in future updates so long as they have quality lasers to work with.

Laser scanners aren’t perfect by any means, but you should still get results that are far more accurate than using your smartphone’s camera alone. Plus, it takes practically no time at all to shoot multiple levels of detail when recording with this type of device (the longest part is waiting for the app to process data between scans), making it possible to capture entire rooms in minutes or even seconds if you’re good enough.

Unfortunately, all of this stuff costs money, and Laser Scanner is one of the most expensive apps on this list despite being very much capable of producing accurate results (the pro version is even more powerful).

It’s easily the best 3D laser scanner app on iOS at the moment, but it’s also not suitable for capturing objects that are moving or can’t sit perfectly still for at least five seconds (it works great for objects like cars, though). If you have a fast enough Internet connection where bandwidth isn’t a concern then you might want to try out ReconstructMe instead.

ReconstructMe has been around on Android for a long time now, with a relatively short stint as a Kickstarter project before disappearing back into obscurity for several years.

Now, the developers behind this app have released a public beta for iOS devices, and it’s by far one of the most impressive laser scanning apps I’ve ever seen for any platform.


Can you 3d print from your phone? Yes, you can 3D print from your phone. There are many different applications that allow you to do this when combined with a compatible printer. From printing out 2D or 3D models of objects on your screen in full color to creating personalized action figures for kids – there’s an app for it! We hope our blog post helped answer some questions about the technology behind 3d printers and how they work so well together with smartphones. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out anytime.

Further Reading: 

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