3D printing has brought the world some pretty awesome products, but Modio could be one of the coolest we’ve seen. Modio is an iOS app that lets you design your own “monster robot” from scratch, using a selection of different modules and colors. Once you’ve finished your amazing design, you can send it to a 3D printer and your toy comes to life, right before your eyes.
There are multiple different modules available for each body part. The Modio app offers several different heads, torsos, legs, arms, hands, and weapons to choose from. Each module connects to the other with a cool lightning effect and a snap. If you decide you don’t like that particular combination, you can flick it away until it disappears forever. Once you’re satisfied with your creation’s body, Modio lets you adjust the color, texture, and position of each limb. If you’re not really the creative type or you need inspiration, you can work with preexisting designs, too.
You can view your creation from any angle and touch each body part to adjust the angle. A preexisting ninja design (shown above) can be formed to strike a deadly blow with a powerful kick, crouched down as it prepares to spring out of the shadows, or just about any other position you can imagine. The piece move in a fairly realistic way, that is to say, the way you’d imagine a human could move and then some.
When you’re finally ready to print your monster, all you have to do is tap on the icon in the bottom left-hand corner where the printer settings are. Once you’ve connected to the 3D printer, the app shows you the size and weight of the toy. Then, tap on the settings icon to resize your design. You can make the toy any size you want: It can be a giant monster or a tiny bug-like pest.
The Modio app is compatible with nearly any 3D printer currently on the market, but it is optimized to work with MakerBot printers. Each part prints separately and then you can snap them all together the way you did in your design. The parts should move when you turn them, too, just like you saw onscreen while you were designing the toy.
The sheer amount of variations you can choose from ensures that your monster will look like no other. Forget mass produced toys, Modio makes it personal.
Modio’s founder and CEO, Hilmar Gunnarsson, told Digital Trends that the idea for the app came out of his desire to make fun physical toys that will engage his children in more creative pursuits. It was also an excuse to make something cool with 3D printing.
“I’ve been fascinated with 3D printing. I think it’s a technology with huge potential,” Gunnarsson said. “At the same time, I have three kids and they are playing more video games and doing less creative things like drawing. I wanted to create an app that was very simple to use but also very creative.”
And so Modio was born. The app has received a very positive response from everyone who has used it, including Gunnarsson’s kids. He says that inspiring kids to actually design and create their own toys changes the way they value the toy.
“As soon as people make their own things, they form a different attachment to them than something just bought in a store,” he explained.
Every toy made on Modio with a 3D printer is the unique expression of its creator’s mind, as such, the child (or adult) learns to cherish the object. Gunnarsson hopes that Modio inspires the next generation of kids to create their own apps, gadgets, and art.
“I hope Modio can open kids’ eyes to the fact that we can make amazing things and shape our own worlds,” he said, adding that “3D printing gives us interesting choices and options. Everyone likes making things…if they are given the tools to be creative.”
Perhaps the best thing about Modio, though, is that printing one creation probably ends up only costing a few dollars. Gunnarsson explained that Modio is geared toward 3D printers that use spools of plastic, which only cost between $30 to $50 per kilo. Since all the components used to make figures in the Modio app are hollow, the amount of material used to print one average sized toy is very small. In other words, Modio creations will cost a whole lot less than those mass produced plastic toys you’ve been buying at Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us.
Gunnarsson’s future plans for Modio mostly involve expanding the amount of content available for creators. The first step will be to add more pieces and building kits to the mix, which will be available as in-app purchases in the future. He also hopes to bring the app to more platforms like Android. Still, his main goal is to inspire kids to create, encourage the 3D printing industry’s growth, and “make creations come to life.”
You can download the app on the iOS App store here to get started on your design.