With the advent of the J750 3D printer, it would seem (despite rather weak Q1 results) that industry titan Stratasys is on an upswing, on a roll, refreshed—and with a monumental new machine that has had our attention since its release and ongoing displays of new capabilities already flowing from users. The J750 offers numerous features that will ultimately make life easier for users, who in turn will churn out even greater innovations for the betterment of the world thanks to a new rush of speed, power, and expanded range of materials and colors.
While 3D printing has taken off in the mainstream, drawing in new users and enthusiasts as well as professionals from numerous realms, a period of refinement seems to have begun. As competition in the marketplace grows broad—and even somewhat fierce—users mastering the technology are now more demanding, discerning, and expectant of excellence; after all, if we can create machines that allow objects to appear right before our eyes, then certainly we should be able to snap our fingers and have every process streamlined, limitations removed, inconveniences eliminated. It would seem that we are working toward that, and now, Stratasys is unveiling their new GrabCAD Print app which adds to the ease of 3D printing in terms of preparation, scheduling, and monitoring. This should also add to their current and very relevant forward momentum.
The new app will be available in beta testing this summer, and the company intends to offer more releases as the year goes on.
“These products will support our long-term strategy to develop a comprehensive solutions-based business,” said CEO David Reis in a recent statement.
GrabCAD Print is a followup to the 2014 Stratasys purchase of the GrabCAD cloud-based platform originally created as a place for engineers to share models from a free CAD library. GrabCAD has an enormous and very active community of over 3 million which was boosted with the advent of Workbench, and then Toolbox—all one year before the acquisition, allowing for engineering and design teams to share files and collaborate, and use third-party CAD applications from the platform.
Covering the software realm as well as offering users a better opportunity for efficiency is part of the strategy for creating a convenient and simple process for designers–and it’s one that it sounds as if the Stratasys team found to be purely common sense in creating.
“We’ve articulated a solution strategy in the last couple years really around not just a piece of hardware but creating an experience that’s easy, solves a problem, and gets the job done,” said Paul Giaconia, Vice President of Software Products and Strategy at Stratasys, in a recent interview.
GrabCAD allows users to save time and take control of workflow more easily as it completely eliminates some steps. Exporting designs to an .stl file is no longer necessary, nor is having to modify it further. Compatible with all Stratasys printers, the app is able to ‘read’ all of the following CAD formats:
With this amount of communication between GrabCAD Print and the CAD files, users should no longer find themselves in the disappointing predicament of later finding that what they’ve printed looks nothing like the design files—which can be a problem resulting from translation to .stl files where color and texture are ultimately not precise enough.
“If I need a prototype, it really should be as simple as file-print from my CAD system,” Giaconia said, explaining that integrating quality software with the J750 allows for a better link between digital and physical.
The app is also meant to create less time running back and forth checking on a print, and considering how many hours you may be waiting on some prints, eliminating that process is very beneficial. With GrabCAD Print, it’s as easy as checking your app—instead of the printer—wherever you are. With better connectivity options, users are also able to get data on usage, assessing how much they are actually operating the printer as well as budgeting for materials.
The app should evolve further as Stratasys plans to work with CAD solutions more and continue simplifying workflow, as well as creating more content authoring tools. In addressing these challenges which have been weighing on users, there should be more time for actual innovation—with success—and less time spent worrying about peripheral technology issues, along with getting files ready and then continuing to fret over them once they’ve gone to the printer. How do you think this app will benefit users? Discuss in the Stratasys GrabCAD Print App forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source: ZDNet]
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