Have anyone tried to use an Android tablet to do the design and to

Have anyone tried to use an Android tablet to do the design and to slice and run the 3D printer? Is there host software that can run on Android 4+? I guess online CAD software can be run on Android, but what about Pronterface or Cura or…?

No point in running slicing operations on an Android tablet. While the processors are getting pretty fast for embedded, it would still be dog slow on slicing operations. However, python is usable through SL4A, and while I haven’t tested it out yet, I’m sure anything with an OTG port would be usable. Some of these tablets can have ubuntu thrown on them natively (as in, no VNC loopback) and those that do, definitely could run the whole stack of software required for a 3D printer.

I personally use a netbook. Got it for $135 on craigslist, and it’s been the best little 3D printer companion I could have ever thought of.

Cura’s slicing, at least, runs on python. Python running on Android, it seems technically doable (maybe some dependencies aren’t existing yet for android but as slicing is mostly a computation task, there shouldn’t be any need for platform specific libs).
The performance (linked to the limited cpu and ram of current tablets) will probably be poor but, with a bit of hacking probably, that should work.

@Olivier_Jolly , there is no native wx/tkinter library for python on Android. So cura (skeinforge) won’t work (at least under android native). Seeing as printrun/pronterface has a console mode though, it’s possible that it would work.

http://hackaday.com/2012/09/13/3d-printer-control-for-the-raspi/ is an awesome solution.

What is needed is a web service that does the slicing.

@ThantiK yes, that’s why I mentioned the slicing part only. The hacking I was referring to would be the addition (if not already there) of a CLI like for printrun/pronterface.

A full stack to print on the go could be :

  • online/light CAD running under android
  • command line slicing under android
  • cura’s webui or the hackaday custom solution to get gcode injected into the printer

@Tony_Hine_Nifty_Acce if it doesn’t exist already (quick googling showed nothing), I’ll be willing to give a try at building one (or rather interfacing existing solutions)

@Triffid_Hunter has done some work on a webslicer: http://triffid-hunter.no-ip.info/webskein/webskein2.html

I love the idea of this project - I have an Ainol Elf 1 tablet, and would be more than happy to test - It would be good to connect the tab to the printer via USB - not all have Bluetooth.
Just to be able to push the generated Gcode from the tablet to the printer would be ace! - A £50 touchscreen tablet on the front of a 3d printer? Does away with the awful LCD panels. Great! - More space for printer feedback, and in glorious colour too!

For real-time cnc-machine control you want linuxcnc (http://www.linuxcnc.org). There’s some recent work towards running linuxcnc headless on a small computer (RPi or BeagleBone) while the non-realtime UI can be on another computer (e.g. Android)

To top it off, we can also use the built in webcam on the tablet for network (internet) feedback then we can start a print and go to work, watch how it’s going on, stop or adjust or whatever remotely. Now THAT would be cool! Cause a 7" tablet can be bought for about $100 from Pandawill, where with a RasPi you need an LCD (TV), webcam, wireless dongle,USB hub, power, etc and the costs will get over the price of a tablet fast. Plus a tablet has more computational power than a RasPi.

@Elliott_Polk wants to hack the #makibox to work with Android and @Damon_Kohler can teach you how to do Python on Android. But it makes way more sense to do it in Java as a native Android App imho

@Anders_Wallin : The machine control part is already included in printer, you just need some device that controls it, to send gcodes to printer

It’s possible to do, but there is no current “native app” that can do it.

@Nils_Hitze is correct. We will be working on creating a tablet app but it will include other features as well. For slicing, I will be creating a web service built on Slic3r that a user can upload an STL and slice there. I’m also looking into integrating a few other projects like CoffeeSCad/OpenJSCad for realtime web manipulation before slicing.

These are all on the list, just having to finish up a few things in our store first.

I am looking to purchase a tablet on Pandawill.com, around the $100 price point. Thinking at performance for such an app, I am considering shedding out a few more bucks to get this one: http://www.pandawill.com/freelander-p788e-7-inch-tablet-pc-tegra2-android-40-1gb-ram-16gb-dual-camera-bluetooth-black-p70110.html instead of this one: http://www.pandawill.com/freelander-pd20-great-version-gps-tablet-pc-7-inch-android-40-1gb-ram-8gb-1080p-the-second-white-version-p65944.html?req_id=0363ffa825X1038Y0000787dT50def43c
The main difference is the dual core thing and the graphics processor, as both have 1GB RAM. The storage space can be extended to both up to 32GB (standard nowadays) and both have USB OTG and HOST so the printer can be directly plugged into the tablet’s USB port (by the use of this cable: http://www.pandawill.com/microb-usb-host-otg-cable-for-samsung-galaxy-sii-i9100-p54549.html .
Anyone can make a suggestion? Or another 7" tablet that does not go over say $150 in price? Thanks.

@Gabriel_Petrut Just be wary of the Tegra 2’s. They are terrible when I comes to speed. It sounds all glorious and what not, but the lag from the single-channel memory bus is noticeable. I recommend going a little bit further and just getting the Nexus 7. You get better performance from the Tegra 3 and it’s all around a better device (#imnsho);

@Elliott_Polk Thanks! I’ll keep it in mind, however, I can’t get more funds available until the end of next year probably. Lots of projects under way and I gulped a huge shipping price on my soon (hopefully) to get in my hands 3D printer. So I’ll wait a bit with the tablet, no rush. Any advice on what is the best $100 tablet (7")?

Not entirely. Most of the $100 are risky. If you go in with low to no expectations, the one you linked to should be good. Just stay away from the MIPS based ones. :slight_smile:


I agree - MIPS machines are a pain :confused: