Blog Post

MakerBot unveils a developer program that will make it easier to 3D-print directly from apps

Consumer 3D printer maker MakerBot will open its API to developers, making it easier to print a character from a favorite mobile game or design app.

Developers will be able to integrate their apps with MakerBot’s cloud library (where users can store designs they have created or downloaded), desktop app and line of Replicator 3D printers.

Modio, which makes design software for creating 3D printable monster toys, is the first company to partner with MakerBot. MakerBot will provide developers with support and discounted 3D printers and create a searchable marketplace for apps that make use of the API.

A character created in Modio's app. Photo courtesy of Modio.
A character created in Modio’s app. Photo courtesy of Modio.

Sending a design to a 3D printer has generally been a multi-step process that requires users to convert between file types and check to make sure that a design is actually compatible with a specific 3D printer. Developers who make use of the MakerBot API could potentially squeeze the entire process into a single “print” command.

MakerBot was founded in 2009 as an open-source company, but has since shifted to protecting its 3D printers’ design and software after its early designs were widely copied. It was purchased a year ago today by Stratasys, one of the largest 3D printer companies in the world.

MakerBot revealed its newest line of 3D printers at CES in January, and all three printers in the line incorporate the ability to print directly from a mobile device over Wi-Fi. Until the past year, it was common to have to connect a computer via USB or use a flash drive to print anything.