3D printing has come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to get started with this exciting technology. With the increasing capabilities of smartphones and tablets, most 3D enthusiasts often wonder if they can 3D print from their mobile devices. So, can you 3D print from a phone or a tablet?
You can 3D print from a phone or a tablet. Here’s how to 3D print from a phone or tablet in 10 easy steps:
- Download a 3D printing app.
- Create an account on the app.
- Select a 3D model to print.
- Customize the 3D model.
- Choose your filament settings.
- Choose your 3D printer settings.
- Send the 3D print job to the printer.
- Monitor the 3D printing progress.
- Retrieve your 3D printed object.
- Post-process your 3D printed object.
Keep reading for detailed information on each of these steps and the guidelines to follow for the best results.
1. Download a 3D Printing App
Before 3D printing from a phone or tablet, the first thing you must do is download a 3D printing app. An app is crucial because it allows you to control all the critical aspects of the 3D printing process, from selecting a model to monitoring the progress of the print. Without one, you won’t be able to 3D print from your mobile device.
So, which app should you download? As a rule of thumb, there are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a 3D printing app. Here are a few crucial ones:
- The app must be compatible with your device. The app you choose must be compatible with the device you’re using to print. In other words, it must be an iOS or Android app if you’re using an iPhone or iPad, respectively.
- The app must be compatible with your 3D printer. The app you use must also be compatible with the 3D printer you own or plan to use. Not all apps work with all printers, so this is an essential factor to consider.
- The app must offer the features you need. When 3D printing from a phone or tablet, you’ll want to be able to control as many aspects of the process as possible. Make sure the app you choose offers all the features you need, such as selecting a model, customizing it, and monitoring the progress of your print.
Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you can start looking for an app that meets your needs. Here are some popular 3D printing apps to consider:
- MakerBot Mobile
- 3D Geeks (Thingiverse)
The following video describes some of the best apps you can use for 3D printing:
2. Create an Account on the App
After you’ve found and downloaded the right app, it’s time to create an account. In most cases, you’ll need to provide basic information, such as your name, email address, and password. Once you’ve created your account, you can login and start using the app.
Note: Some apps may not require you to create an account. However, I recommend that you do so anyway to take full advantage of all the app’s features and capabilities.
3. Select a 3D Model To Print
Now that you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, it’s time to select a 3D model to print. In most cases, you can do this by following two basic steps:
- Browse the app’s library of models or search for a specific model.
- Once you’ve found a model you like, select it to view its details.
If you want to experiment with custom 3D printing, you can create your own models using various software tools. Some 3D printing apps, such as Morphui (available on iOS only), include built-in modeling tools for creating simple models right on your device.
4. Customize the 3D Model
Once you’ve selected a model, it’s time to customize it. This is where the true power of 3D printing from a phone or tablet comes into play. To customize your app, follow these steps:
- Adjust the model’s size.
- Select your preferred color.
- Adjust other properties to create a unique design perfect for your needs.
If you want to get creative, some apps even allow you to edit the model’s geometry, such as its shape and structure. This lets you create one-of-a-kind designs that would be impossible to create with traditional manufacturing methods.
5. Choose Your Filament Settings
After you’ve customized your model, it’s time to select the filament settings. This is where you choose the type of filament and the printing settings for your model.
In most cases, you’ll need to follow these general steps:
- Select the type of filament you want to use.
- Configure other printing settings, such as infill and support.
- Once you’ve entered all the necessary information, you can save your filament settings.
Here’s a roundup of the crucial guidelines to keep in mind when choosing your filament settings:
- Choose the correct type of filament. Not all filaments are created equal. Some filaments are better suited for certain applications than others. For example, PLA filament is good for printing objects that don’t need to be very strong, such as toys or figurines. On the other hand, ABS filament is a better choice for objects that need to be solid and durable, such as brackets or casings.
- Print at the right quality. You’ll also need to select the print quality for your model. In most cases, you can choose from a range of quality settings, such as low, medium, or high. The higher the quality setting, the longer it will take to print the model.
Note: Not all apps offer the same level of control over filament settings. Therefore, ensure you select an app that allows you to customize your settings to get the results you want.
6. Choose Your 3D Printer Settings
In addition to choosing your filament settings, you’ll also need to select your 3D printer settings. This is where you select the type of 3D printer you want to use and configure its various settings.
To configure your 3D printer settings, follow these steps:
- Select the type of 3D printer you’re using.
- Configure the print quality.
- Enter the dimensions of the object you want to print.
- Set other printing options, such as layer height and print speed.
- You may also need to enter your own user settings, such as your preferred temperature and calibration settings.
- Save your 3D printer settings for future use.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind when configuring your printer settings:
- Print at the right size. You’ll need to enter the object’s dimensions you want to print. This will ensure that the object is printed at the correct size.
- Choose the right print quality. You can usually choose from different print qualities, depending on your needs and printer capabilities. Select the print quality that gives you the best results.
- Calibrate your 3D printer. If you’re not getting good prints, or if your prints are coming out slightly skewed, you may need to calibrate your 3D printer. This will ensure that the printer is printing at the correct dimensions and that the layers are correctly aligned.
- Adjust the layer height. The layer height is the thickness of each layer in your print. You can usually adjust this setting depending on your needs and printer capabilities. Try different layer heights to see which gives you the best results.
- Adjust the print speed. You can also adjust the print speed to control how quickly the printer prints each layer. Try different speeds to see which gives you the best results.
- Save your settings for future use. Once you’ve configured your printer settings, save them so you can use them again in the future. This will save you time and ensure that your prints are always of the highest quality.
Note: If you are just starting 3D printing and don’t have a printer yet, I recommend getting this Creality Ender 3 3D Printer from Amazon.com. It’s a great, easy-to-use, and versatile printer. It’s also open-source, which means that you can find a lot of helpful mods and upgrades for it online.
7. Send the 3D Print Job to the Printer
After configuring your filament and 3D printer settings, it’s time to send the print job to the printer. This is usually done via a wireless connection, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In some cases, you may need to connect the printer to your computer via a USB cable.
Once the printer is connected, you can start printing your model. Keep in mind that the process may take some time, so be patient and let the printer do its thing.
8. Monitor the 3D Printing Progress
While the printer is working, you can monitor the progress of the print job. This will give you an idea of how long the print will take and when it’s finished.
In some cases, you may be able to pause or cancel the print job if something goes wrong. However, this functionality varies with the app you’re using and the type of printer you have.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when monitoring your print job:
- Check the progress regularly. It’s a good idea to check on the progress of your print job every few minutes. This will help you catch any problems early on and ensure that the job progresses as expected.
- Be patient. 3D printing can take a long time, so be patient and let the printer do its thing. Don’t try to cancel or pause the job unless you absolutely have to.
- Check for errors. If something goes wrong with the print, you may see an error message on your phone or tablet. Check the printer for any physical problems, such as jams or clogs.
9. Retrieve Your 3D Printed Object
When the print is finished, you’ll need to retrieve the object from the printer. To remove the object, follow these steps:
- Remove the printed object. The object should be located on the print bed. Carefully remove it and set it aside.
- Clean the print bed. If there is filament or other debris on the print bed, clean it off using a brush or cloth.
Caution: Be careful when removing the object, as it may be hot. It’s good to use gloves or tongs to avoid burning yourself.
10. Post-Process Your 3D Printed Object
Once the object is removed from the printer, you may need to do some post-processing. This includes removing any remaining filament from the object and cleaning up any imperfections.
Here are a few tips for post-processing your 3D printed object:
- Remove the filament. The filament may be stuck to the object, especially if it’s a small object. Use a pair of pliers or tweezers to remove the filament from the object.
- Sand and polish the object. If there are any rough edges or blemishes on the object, you can sand them down using fine-grit sandpaper. You can also polish the object using a buffing tool.
- Clean the object. Use a brush or cloth to clean any debris or filament from the object.
- Store the object safely. If you’re not going to use the object right away, be sure to store it in a safe place. 3D printed objects are delicate and can be easily damaged, especially if they’re not properly protected.
3D printing is a fascinating technology that has a variety of applications. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, there’s a 3D printing app for you. All you need to do is find the right app and get started.
Remember, 3D printing can take some time, so be patient and let the printer do its thing. Don’t forget to post-process your object once it’s been printed. With a little bit of effort, you can create amazing 3D printed objects that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.