When I got my first 3D printer, which a friend of mine had built in his basement, I loved it! After using it for several months, I realized that there were a couple of things which really began to get under my skin, however. For one, the fact that I had to have this bulky, ugly bunch of plastic and metal sitting on the right side of my desk, taking up more real estate than my entire computer, monitor, mouse, and keyboard combined, had me frustrated. Also, I do a lot of writing from my desk, and the slightest bit of noise — much less the motors churning on a 3D printer — can throw my brain for a loop. So often I had wished that I could take my 3D printer, put it upstairs in a quiet room, and still be able to send over files for printing.
Fast forward about two and a half years, and there are numerous machines out there which allow for remote monitoring, as well as printing over a web browser. With that said, there remain tens of thousands of machines out there in people’s homes and businesses which are not compatible with such a setup.
German RepRap, the Feldkirchen-based company known for their 3D printing solutions based on RepRap technology, has come up with a rather affordable solution to these problems many of us may face. Today they have unveiled their 3DPrintBox, a device which allows for the stand-alone 3D printing via WLAN as well as web browser-enabled printer controls.
The 3DPrintBox features three USB ports, as well as an Ethernet connector, and will allow any 3D printer which has a USB interface to easily connect to a network via Ethernet or WLAN. The printer can then be controlled on any web-enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. No direct computer connection is necessary any longer.
A webcam can also be attached to the 3DPrintBox to enable remote monitoring of those larger prints when you are not sitting directly in front of them. This equates to a lower number of failed prints, more free time for the user, and the ability to place the printer out of sight and away from those trying to concentrate as they work, like me right now!
Just like German RepRap’s other products, the development files for the 3DPrintBox will be made available to the Open Source community for them to improve upon if they see fit. This new device is being made available by German RepRap for just €149, and is available immediately on their website.
Have you tried out this new box? Let’s hear your thoughts in the 3DPrintBox forum thread on 3DPB.com.