Product Development · Mobile App Design

Has anybody developed or come across 3D design feature on a mobile app for custom designs?

Sujit Hemadri Nobody

August 27th, 2015

Imagining to build a mobile app for custom design based commerce. May be furniture, sports wear(shoes), apparels etc. 

Carl Bailey Motivated and Entrepreneurial Mechanical Engineer

August 28th, 2015

Autodesk has a whole bunch of mobile apps for 3D design:

They aren't necessarily easy to use for the average user of a commerce app, though. What are you trying to do?

Carl Bailey Motivated and Entrepreneurial Mechanical Engineer

August 28th, 2015

Customization is expensive from a manufacturing standpoint. The way these things usually work is that you create 3D models of all the parts you're interested in physically making and you make them all fit together in a common way, then you can set up a configurable assembly that you can piece together for a user.

Sujit Hemadri Nobody

August 28th, 2015

Hi Chandrashekar, thanks for that reply. This is just initial thoughts. I am considering a business model where I can allow users to design the products and bring in people who can convert these designs into products on a sharing economy marketplace model. Yeah the design interface would vary considerably depending on the product in consideration. Thanks & Regards, Sujit Hemadri 8884157309

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

September 2nd, 2015

Hello David,

Mobile phones are quite powerful. As a matter of fact, many of them are not running to its max spec due to the heat the CPU generates, but not because the device can't give more calculus power.

Regarding the internet connection, Canada has an expensive line of ISPs (landline as well as mobile), what I mean is, for the rest of the planet, data consumption isn't a problem at all, as it is here in Canada.


Amol R

August 28th, 2015

I had done some research on this.

The design needs to be detailed and practical from manufacturing standpoint. Which is why most designers use tools like Auto CAD etc that carry not just look and feel but specific features (like dimensions, color, etc) that are useful in production process.

You could put out existing designs with some customisation options that users can pick from. Again customisation need to be something that your manufacturer is comfortable with.

Having users design something that can not be manufactured wouldn't send a good message.

Check out They are trying to do custom design in offline way.

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

September 1st, 2015

Actually Google tried this.  They bought SketchUp in 2006  to add 3D content to their "real world maps".   And while they may have made some use of the underlying 3D engine software, SketchUp never really met Google's expectations (some speculated that they wanted to use it for creating virtual worlds for Glass )

And 6 years later SketchUp was sold to Trimble Navigation and can now be used independently of Google Earth

but as with most 3D - its not the easiest in the world to use and it doesn't generate machineable components without post-processing.

Go look at apps like Autodesks's MoldFlow.   After you have designed your part in Inventor (autodesk 360) , you still need to use MoldFlow to design the mold that your part will get made in.  And to do that well is yet another science and art

Sujit Hemadri Nobody

August 29th, 2015

Hey Karl, Thanks for those insights and raising the red flags. It is still at an idea stage. Let's see if we can do it. Will get back to you if there is a positive outcome on this.

Carl Bailey Motivated and Entrepreneurial Mechanical Engineer

August 28th, 2015

By design, do you really mean Design in the sense of "create any shape, size, color, etc, of sole that you want for a shoe"? Or do you mean Configure in terms of "pick a pre-designed sole, midsection, and laces for your custom shoe"?

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

August 28th, 2015

There is no such thing as the "sharing economy".   Either you have a real business or you are doing piece work (Uber is a "piece work" economy )

AutoCAD has some tools for doing this, a new startup is specifically focused in doing 3D design in the cloud, called

But if you are talking about a manufacturable component, there needs to be quite a bit of precision in the design.   Sure you can 3D print some of it - but 3D printing needs quite a bit of post processing and is limited in the materials you can use.

Autodesk and some other companies have done "plug and play"  design tools for interior design and some companies have done "assemble the legos" style design

but to be able to allow someone to design say the details of a table leg and a table is quite hard.  Because you have to have a very precise result for manufacturability and you also need to have strength in the right places etc.

And how this would work in a "sharing economy" really doesn't make a lot of sense.  Because what you are talking about is that someone would take the time to assemble "build to order" level of specifications that then would get bid out to a marketplace of craftspeople for implementation

Think of the challenges involved

  • you need a large enough cross section of craftspeople to be able to build a variety of things after all weaving a custom basket vs, making a custom love seat vs a custom dining room table vs. a custom fly fishing rod all requires different skilled craftspeople
  • you need a large enough population of customers to keep this cross section of craftspeople paying attention to your market
  • you need flexible enough design tools (something neither OnShape nor Adesk - which have some of the smartest 3D designers I've worked with in my career - have managed to do ) that your customers can design a meaningful design
  • you need to be able to insure the quality of the piecework so your customers have a good experience - all the while avoiding the hiring of your craftspeople and the associated overhead

Essentially you are talking about the Amazon Sales Partner model, but where instead of the Sales Partners offering a service and customers choosing whether or not to buy, you are adding the complexity of the design process between them.

Good luck... you will need it

Carl Bailey Motivated and Entrepreneurial Mechanical Engineer

August 28th, 2015

If you're thinking of configuring something, maybe look into Autodesk Configurator 360. I've never used it and it looks a bit limited, but it might be a starting point and it runs on iPad:

I can't think of anything else off the top of my head aside from using configuration managers inside of professional 3D CAD software.