Local app easily turns your 3D ideas into a (blocky) reality


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.

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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:

“Smaller Thingie”