Can You Get Ultimaker Cura on iPad? Explained

While using a computer has always been the primary way of slicing a 3D model and producing the G-code file that your 3D printer requires for printing, a tablet, such as the iPad, has a large-enough screen to carry out the tasks that are common before slicing a model, whether it’s scaling it or changing its orientation, and is more convenient to use than a computer in some cases.

In this guide, we will explain whether it would be possible to get your iPad to run Ultimaker Cura for the purposes of eliminating the need for using your computer for the slicing process and take you through some of the Cura alternatives that can also fulfill the task of slicing 3D models on your iPad.

Can You Get Ultimaker Cura on iPad?

Unfortunately, there’s no native Cura application available for the iPad right now, meaning that it’s not quite possible to install Cura on your iPad and run it directly from the device as you would with any other application you regularly use.

Under these circumstances, the only way to use Cura on an iPad is to connect it to a computer that already has Cura open and control the Cura instance on your computer remotely through your iPad, which will practically provide you with the same experience as if you were using Cura on your computer, but on your iPad instead.

While we will take you through the process of connecting your iPad to your Windows PC (Win 10 & 11 Pro) with the Microsoft Remote Desktop (Remote Desktop Mobile) application in specific for the purposes of this guide, an iPad-to-Linux or iPad-to-MacOS connection is also possible in a similar manner with other applications.

For this process, the first step you will need to take is to click the Start button on the taskbar and open up the Settings section.

opening the settings menu in windows 11


Next, navigate to the System tab on the left, and click on the Remote Desktop option from the list to bring up the Remote Desktop settings window.

finding remote desktop settings in windows 11


Now, enable Remote Desktop for your computer by clicking on the Remote Desktop slider, and approve the change by clicking the Confirm button on the pop-up.

enabling remote desktop on windows 11


Once that’s done, find and note the local IP of your computer by opening the Run dialog (Win key + R), inputting cmd into the box, and running the command ipconfig in the Command Prompt, where it will be listed next to the IPv4 Address label, such as in the example below.

windows finding local ip with ipconfig


Now, open Cura on your computer, and leave it active on the screen, as you will be directly seeing what’s present on your screen when you connect to your computer with the Remote Desktop application through your iPad.

Before moving forward, remember to ensure that both your iPad and your computer are connected to the same network, else your iPad won’t be able to reach your computer through its local IP address if they are connected to separate networks.

With that, we are finished with the computer side of the process, meaning that you will now need to grab your iPad and launch the Remote Desktop Mobile application, which you can find on the App Store.

microsoft remote desktop mobile app on ipad


Next, click the Plus button (in a circle) on the bottom-middle side, fill out the PC Name section with the local IP address you noted earlier, such as 192.168.1.8 in our example, and click the Save button.

microsoft remote desktop ip configuration


Now that your computer is saved – press on the entry on the list labeled with the IP address you have entered, and fill out the Username / Password inputs with the username and the password you’re using to log in on your PC.

microsoft remote desktop logging in


Provided that everything went as intended, you should now see Cura on your iPad and be able to control it through your iPad just as you would with your computer.

running cura on ipad with remote desktop


Cura Alternatives for iPad

In the case that the remote desktop solution doesn’t exactly work out for you, whether due to not having access to a computer reliably or it not being the most user-friendly way of doing things, you can use alternative applications that aren’t exactly identical to Cura but still capable of slicing your 3D models and making them ready to print.

AstroPrint (Browser-Based Solution / Free Plan Available) – Recommended

While AstroPrint is a service that comes with many features, whether it’s remote printing (integrates with OctoPrint), print monitoring, or print analytics, to make it convenient for you to manage your 3D printers, the part we’re interested in for the purposes of this article is the Cloud Slicing feature, which allows you to slice any model of your choice online with the Cura Engine.

astroprint on ipad


Just like Cura, you will need to select your 3D printer from a list in the Printer Profiles section to get things started (after creating an account and logging in), which will get parameters such as the build volume and the start G-code command automatically configured and allow you to add your custom modifications to the start G-code section if necessary, practically with no difference from how you do it in Cura.

astroprint print profiles


Once that’s done, the next step is to upload the STL files you would like to slice by pressing the Upload Files button in the Design Library section, which will save the 3D models into AstroPrint’s cloud servers, allowing you to access them from any device.

astroprint design library


With the STL files ready, the next step will be to navigate to the Build Plate section, import the STL file of your choice by pressing the Plus button on the top-left corner, make modifications such as scaling and rotating, once again very similarly to how it is in Cura, press the Print button, and save your changes through the pop-up that appears.

astroprint build plate


Finally, you will need to choose the Material Profile of your choice (or create a custom one), which again works in a similar way to how it does in Cura; configure the slicer settings the exact way you want through the Advanced Slicer Settings menu, which will practically show you Cura settings that you’re already familiar with, and press the Slice button to generate the G-code file.

astroprint slicing


Once the slicing process is over (which you can track from the Active Slices section in the top-right corner), you will need to press on the STL file you have sliced in the Design Library section to find the G-code file in the list that appears on the right side of the screen, under the Print files title, press the three dots () button, and finally, press the Download button to get the G-code file on your iPad.

astroprint get gcode file


As AstroPrint’s cloud slicer uses Cura Engine behind the scenes, offers you practically the entire extent of what Cura offers regarding configuration, comes with a bunch of extra features that can come in handy, allows you to store up to 1 GB of STL & G-code files in the cloud that you can access from any device, and is free to use for up to two 3D printers, our primary recommendation as a Cura alternative on iPad is AstroPrint without a doubt.

PikaSlice (Native iOS Application / Paid)

PikaSlice is a native iOS app that allows you to slice 3D models directly on your iPad, and while it doesn’t use the Cura Engine like AstroPrint does, meaning that the results may not exactly be the same and the configuration process won’t be as simple at first use, it can come in quite handy in cases where you have no access to the internet and need access to a slicer on your iPad.

On the other hand, the primary drawback of PikaSlice is that it’s actually not free to use, even though getting the application from the App Store is free, as you will require a paid subscription to be able to actually generate the G-code files and save them to your iPad.

pikaslice on ipad


Similar to Cura, it’s possible to find and activate pre-made printer profiles that make the configuration process convenient by navigating to the Machine/Material section at the bottom-right corner and clicking the Add button (it can be necessary to press the Import button once for all the profiles to load), which is one of the first steps you will need to take when using PikaSlice.

pikaslice printer profiles


While on the same screen, you can also access the slicer settings once you press the Material tab, where you can adjust parameters such as temperature, print speed, and supports, albeit with a pretty limited selection compared to what you would get in Cura.

pikaslice material menu


To import an STL file in PikaSlice, you need to press the Open button on the top-left corner and choose the Mesh option, which will bring up the iPad file explorer and allow you to select the STL file of your choice.

pikaslice import stl file


Finally, to slice your 3D model and export it as a G-code file, you will need to switch over to the Export tab and press the Export to G-code button, but as we have mentioned, this will require you to have a paid monthly or yearly subscription to PikaSlice.

pikaslice export gcode


All things considered, while we can definitely see some scenarios where having a native slicer application available on an iPad can become handy, PikaSlice, whether due to its limited feature set or its paid subscription (one-time payment would be much better), wouldn’t be our first choice as a Cura alternative on iPad under normal circumstances.

Kiri:Moto (Browser-Based Solution / Free)

Kiri:Moto is a browser-based 3D slicer that you can run on your iPad without any installation or signing up process, and while it also doesn’t use the Cura Engine, meaning that it may not produce the same results as AstroPrint or Cura itself, it’s a fantastic option to get up and running as quickly as possible in scenarios where you need access to a slicer in a pinch.

kirimoto slicer preview


Similar to Cura, it’s possible to find pre-made 3D printer profiles in Kiri:Moto once you click the Device button on the top-right corner, where you can also customize the printer-related settings, whether it’s the build plate dimensions, the nozzle size, or the Start G-code section (which is labeled as Header in Kiri:Moto), and even create your own custom 3D printer profile just as you can in Cura by using one of the pre-made profiles as the base by clicking the Customize button.

kirimoto device menu


When it comes to configuring slicer settings, you can find all of the configurable parameters by clicking the options on the conveniently placed right-side menu, whether it’s Layers, Base, Infill, and more, and while this selection is limited compared to what you will find in Cura, we found it to be sufficient for a web-based slicer you can instantly access from any device completely free of charge.

kirimoto slicer settings


Importing STL files onto the workspace is also a pretty straightforward process in Kiri:Moto, which you can accomplish by choosing the Import option that you can find after clicking the Files button on the left menubar, as this will take you to your computer’s file explorer, practically the same way as Cura, and allow you to choose the file you would like to work with.

kirimoto importing stl file


Finally, to conclude the slicing process and save your G-code file to your iPad, you will need to choose the Export option that you can find after clicking the Start button, once again on the left menubar, which will present you with a pop-up that shows you information regarding the amount of filament used and the time that will be required to complete the print, along with a button that allows you to save the exported G-code file.

kirimoto exporting sliced gcode


Putting everything we have discussed so far into consideration, we think that Kiri:Moto does a great job at what it’s designed for, which is to be a lightweight browser-based slicer software that you can access without the need for installation on any device you’re using, whether it’s your iPad, your desktop computer, your laptop, or your Android phone, and while it certainly doesn’t have as many features as Cura, the features it offers are more than enough for what it is.

Conclusion

While the only way to use Cura on an iPad, at least for the time being, is to use remote desktop software that allows you to connect to your computer from your iPad, this method definitely cannot provide the same experience as a native Cura application on the iPad would.

Fortunately, it’s also possible to find some applications that allow you to do your slicing directly on your iPad, and while they won’t exactly be the same as Cura, some of them do use the Cura Engine behind the scenes, which will practically ensure that the models you have sliced across your computer and your iPad will be consistent.