Android Apps for 3D Printing
3D printing has become an important part of the 3D Universe, providing both industries and regular customers with the opportunity to bring incredible virtual objects to life. Usually, 3D printers are operated via a computer or laptop with attached USBs and an installed hardware, which make using these peripherals actually easy, especially if you possess some basic knowledge about this domain. However, with all the mobile phones available out there and all the Android applications manufactured for them every minute, controlling 3D printers using these apps has now become possible. Here are some of the best Android applications for 3D printers to opt for.
1. GCode Simulator & Printer
Developed by Mathias Dietz and lastly updated on the 4th of December 2013, GCode Simulator & Printer is the most functional Android application for 3D printers, with plenty of features incorporated within, meant to allow you to control these peripherals via your mobile phone. In the first place, GCode Simulator & Printer allows you to visualize GCodes and stimulate 3D printing in real time. If the printing process is too slow, a good option is activating the fast forward option, which will automatically fasten it.
GCode Simulator & Printer shows every layer displayed in other color to allow you to see how a layer overlaps with the one below it. This Android application shows you both side and front view for a better orientation before printing the virtual object. In addition to these features, GCode Simulator & Printer can analyze not only the GCode file itself, but also information like print object dimension, speed distribution or acceleration (Overall or By Layer), number of layers, layer details (fan, time, speed, temperature) and the others. You will have to copy the GCode file to the Android app in order to make it work, but you can do this via some third-party applications like Dropbox.
Your Android device needs an USB port in order to make GCode Simulator & Printer work, as you will have to connect the 3D printers to it first of all. This mobile phone application is extremely good if you want to control these peripherals easier than before, because you will not have to use the computer or laptop, which will make this process even better.
2. MakerDroid 3D Printing ALPHA
Occupying the second place after GCode Simulator & Printer app, MakerDroid 3D Printing ALPHA represents a good Android application for controlling 3D printers, but it is still limited in terms of features, which might not make very good for your needs. You can draw your own designs on the surface and make them 2D drawings, then transform them to 3D ones, save them to your MakerDroid folder stored in your Android device once this app is installed and introducing the SD card to the computer or laptop in order to print the 3D drawings.
Unlike Mathias Dietz’s application, MakerDroid 3D Printing ALPHA will only allow you to create the best GCode for a potential printing, but be aware that some bugs might occur due to the alpha version of this application available on the market. This app is good if you only want to design your drawings and adjust their details, such as temperature, time or speed. For a better 3D printing experience however, GCode Simulator & Printer is a better option for you and your needs. Information in this article is provided by Artonery, who did a great experiment by using a 3D printer to print copier xerox spare parts with the above mentioned apps. Keeping in mind that another big company is using 3D printers to print out jet parts, or the fact that scientist are printing cells and organs, the future of 3D printing is looking bright.