An iPhone app from a local designer helps users turn their ideas for 3D objects into reality — little plastic figures that can show up on their doorsteps a few days later.
The app, Mecube, lets users users swipe, zoom, and extend colored blocks to build different designs: The results can be anything from blocky figurines, Minecraft-inspired monsters, to detailed replicas of real-world places and objects.
If you like what you’ve created, Mecube allows you to export the design to a Mecube Shapeways store where you can have it printed and shipped, usually for about ten dollars or less depending on complexity, material, and detail.
Others can also buy your creations if it catches their eye.
Janos Stone, the app’s creator, said he is looking into allowing users to build a profit into their objects, but the Shapeways’ API currently does not support that usage.
“In the mean time, Mecube has decided that if we see a user generated product having some success, will would contact the designer and split the profits,’’ Stone told me in an email.
Stone has a background in sculpture and 3D design, and has been interested in 3D printing for years.
“But the work, proper, began about 3.5 years ago,’’ Stone wrote. “As I had zero background in programming or app development the build took a while.’’
As to the future, Stone said he sees a lot of potential in education and connecting games with the real world.
“I am always working to improve Mecube and looking to expand it into a game that connects users to 3DP,’’ he wrote. “I see Mecube being fantastic for STEAM education and hope to find a partner soon to work with me to develop educational tools from the Mecube transformation engine. In addition, I have other projects that revolve around packing huge amounts of data into the form of a titanium 3D printed object.’’
In the meantime, he shared some of his favorite Mecube user creations: