3dappsSometimes it’s surprising how mobile devices can become pretty good alternatives to high-level tools. Of course, sometimes there is no substitute for a good PC, either due to performance issues or practical considerations. However, it seems that there are tools which are successfully making the leap between platforms.

In this article I’ll talk about 3D design, a field which has seen increasing development of tools of this type, from simple free ones to more advanced and costly ones.

TrueSculpt Virtual Sculpture

TrueSculpt Virtual Sculpture is an app which allows you to sculpt 3D models. It’s very similar to ZBrush for PC, although much more limited. You begin with a perfect sphere, which you can sculpt by using various tools (“Inflate”, “Draw”, “Grab”, “Smooth”, “Flatten”, “Pinch”, “Noise”, “Colorize and Pick Color”).

Spacedraw

Spacedraw is quite an interesting app. Beyond its complex, and—dare we say it—unattractive appearance, with its rather retro look, is a very powerful 3D modelling tool. The learning curve is quite steep, even if you already have 3D design knowledge. Saying that, based on the results we’ve seen, it looks like it’s worth the effort.

Spacedraw

Spacedraw

There are areas on the screen for the most basic controls, like moving and rotating the camera, zooming in, and moving the cursor. In the following video you can see an example of how to use it and the results it offers. You can also watch this playlist which contains various tutorials.

SubDivFormer

This simple application allows you to make 3D models in a basic yet effective way. The tools it contains are the ones you would expect from any modelling software.

SubDivFormer

SubDivFormer

If you need to make a basic 3D model and don’t want to get bogged down in features, this just might be the application for you.

Tinkerplay

If all you want to do is have a play around with some predefined 3D models so you can print them on your 3D printer, check out Tinkerplay.

Tinkerplay

Tinkerplay

123D Sculpt+

Another app from the Autodesk family. This application includes some pre-constructed 3D models which you can modify and complete. It offers plenty of sculpting tools, meaning you can turn a blank canvas into a well-defined and detailed sculpture. There are also other designs like a spaceship, a frog or a dragon.

123D Sculpt+

123D Sculpt+

Graphite – STL/Gcode Viewer

This application allows you to view 3D models on your device in STL or GCODE format. Its virtual space also allows you to move, scale and rotate models to prepare them for printing.

Graphite

Graphite

GCodeInfo / GCodeSimulator / GCodePrintr

These three applications from the GCode family are an unstoppable combo which will appeal to any 3D printer owner.

The first, GCodeInfo, gives you preview information on GCODE files. This analysis tells you how long printing will take, estimated costs, required filament length, print speed, optimisation options, etc.

The second app is a 3D printing simulator. Open a GCODE file and the application will simulate, step by step, all of the movements of a 3D printer. As this process can be quite long, you can change the speed of the simulation or accelerate it to a given point.

GCodeSimulator

GCodeSimulator

The third, GCodePrint, allows you to connect your Android device to your 3D printer via a USB-OTG cable, giving you direct control over printing. You can control print settings and visualise printing in real time, layer by later. You can also view information such as estimated time, speed, amount of filament used, and so on. If your printer has a Bluetooth module you can also connect wirelessly. What’s more, if all that weren’t enough, it has a web server for remote monitoring via a stream using the camera on your Android device. From what I’ve seen, this should work with both the Prusa i3 Hephestos and the Witbox, but if you decide to try it out make sure you follow all of the instructions correctly.

I hope you enjoyed this list of applications, and encourage you to try them out with your 3D printer, if you have one. Don’t forget to comment and let us know what your favourite 3D design apps are!

Carlos Ávila is an information systems administrator with 10 years of experience in the field. Passionate about science and technology, he maintains his own blog which he uses to share his knowledge about the subject. He also collaborates with BQ, writing articles related to smartphones, tablets, networks and technology.