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MakerBot releases Android app for controlling 3D printers

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makerbot android app
Watch it from another room

MakerBot has released an Android app, so you can control your 3D printer from your mobile device.

But don't think you can start printing a mansion from the office and find it ready when you get home. Unfortunately, the mobile device and 3D printer have to be on the same Wi-Fi network, which limits its use somewhat.

However, MakerBot is planning 3G and 4G support, so you can print from anywhere in the world. It says it will add the feature "in the near future".

So what can you do with the app? You can start printing from your phone and monitor how it's going using the printer's built-in camera. Which is handy if you're working on something else and don't want to leave the room.

You can also cancel or pause prints, and change the filament, all without leaving your chair.

MakerBot has updated its Thingiverse app too. By using it in tandem with MakerBot Mobile, you can print directly from Thingiverse. (For the uninitiated, Thingiverse is the online community where people upload their designs and share what's new.)

Read more: Red Bull Racing: 3D printing is the future of F1

3D printing promised to be the next big thing in gadgets, letting us all make our own objects. But so far, high prices and overcomplicated machines have kept it a niche pursuit. We've seen a few more affordable machines lately. Hopefully they will help it achieve mainstream success.

The Royal Mail also trialled a 3D printing service at its central London delivery office.

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