iPad as 3D Modeling Interface

Brilliant, let’s not get bogged down in trying to model 3D objects with the limited CPU of the iPad, but use it as a control interface for software running on a networked computer.  Beautiful Modeler by Interactive Fabrication even uses the iPad’s accelerometer to control the rotation of the object, very cool. 

Beautiful Modeler and the Beautiful Controller were created using openFrameworks. The finished mesh can be exported as an STL file (thanks to ofxSTL), meaning the sculpted form can be fabricated immediately. In the video above, the positive mesh has been post-processed to create a negative form for fabrication with a plaster-based 3D printer.

Interactive Fabrication showcases projects exploring Interactive Fabrication: interfaces and devices that take real-time input to fabricate physical form.  They are Karl D.D. Willis, Cheng Xu & Kuan-Ju Wu collaborating with: Golan Levin, Mark D Gross, Juncong Lin, Jun Mitani & Takeo Igarashi.


  1. jeff bare

    completely into this. I’d love to take the notebook out of the process and be manipulating the model directly on the ipad, wonder if processing power is just limiting this.

  2. Jake Drews

    I would think that the iPad would be powerful enough to do simple 3D operations. Like a version of sketchup on the iPad – that would give me reason to buy an ipad for sure.

  3. Shapeways Blog

    Fabricate Yourself by Karl D.D. Willis of Interactive FabricationFabricate Yourself is the latest project by Interactive Fabrication for the 2011 the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference uses the Microsoft Kinect as a 3D scanner to the

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