Working with most modeling software is a difficult, time-consuming affair that is far from kid-friendly. Blokify, an iOS app scheduled for release in December, will attempt to make it easy for anyone to design a 3D model, albeit with a few limitations.
The app keeps things simple by limiting users to building with small cubes. Users drag their finger across their iPad or iPhone to create a line of blocks. They can drag up, down or side-to-side to create 3D stacks of cubes that can be outputted to a 3D printer.
It’s a lot like building with blocks or Legos, which means you can’t draw curves or other organic-feeling shapes. But it does lend itself to building castles and pixelized versions of everyday objects reminiscent of Minecraft. Everything links up nicely and there isn’t any pressure to worry about exact measurements or angles. The cubes can be customized with different textures, allowing them to mimic materials like wood or stone.
It’s already very easy for a 3D printer to draw interest among children. There’s a magic to watching a design you downloaded off the Internet immediately begin materializing in front of you within a 3D printer. But it’s even more magical when you made the design yourself. Blokify co-founder Jenny Kortina told Make Magazine that the app is already drawing interest among teachers.
“Schools are receiving 3D printers either through grants or just buying them outright, but the teachers aren’t trained in CAD,” Kortina said to Make. “Since our software is super simple, the teachers can easily learn it and pass the knowledge on to their students. We aren’t making educational software, but would love to see our product used in schools and believe it’s a perfect match.”