Printr Introduces the “Missing” Element — A Dongle Which Connects Your 3D Printer Remotely to Your PC

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Update: 2/5/2015:

Printr has launched The Element dongle on Kickstarter. The crowdfunding campaign has already sparked contributions from close to 200 individuals in the amount of €35,579. The company currently seeks a total of €100,000 in order to bring their product to the mass market.

Since the Kickstarter went live the company has had several updates. First off, they partnered with distributors Trideus, for The Benelux, and Hawk3Dproto for UK customers. In addition they are currently in the process of negotiating with other distributors who would mange distribution in the US, Mexico, Germany, Canada and Switzerland.

“Printr is thrilled to announce that 3D printing enthusiasts will be able to pick up their Element from Trideus and Hawk 3D Proto. They are the official distributors of The Element for The Benelux and UK respectively, stated Cecile van der Waal, Co-founder of Printr.

The list of manufacturers who will integrate the FormideOS or sell printers exclusively with The Element included is also growing. This list now includes Nectar3D, Felix, Builder, and Pirx. The company has also told us that they are working with additional 3D printer manufactuers in order to secure partnerships with the as well.

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d4The true power of 3D printing is not realized by all the little trinkets you can download and then fabricate in your home, office or garage. Yes, the hundreds of thousands of designs you can download on repositories like Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory are amazing, but the true utility of a 3D printer is the customization it allows one to achieve. Break a buckle for that handmade purse? Need a wrench to tighten a stripped down screw? How about a lid for a discontinued piece of Tupperware? Well, theoretically if you have the tools available to you, you can customize these parts and have them in your hands within hours. The problem? Not everyone is trained to use the sophisticated design and CAD software packages out there, not to mention figure out how to slice a model for printing.

Back in October, we covered a company based in the Netherlands called Printr. At the time, they were getting ready to launch a cloud based 3D printing platform called Formide, which took all the complicated tasks involved with 3D printing and simplified them via the FormideOS. Basically it enabled even those without any design or tech background to utilize the full capabilities of 3D printing.d1

Today, the company has informed 3DPrint.com that they have even larger plans, bringing the FormideOS up to the next level.  They will soon be launching a dongle, called the Element, which takes an ordinary 3D printer and makes it extraordinarily easy to use.

“When my friends and I first started out with 3D printing, we had to spend hours and hours trying to master all the different programs that are needed to print a simple key chain,” explained Douwe Bart Mulder, CEO of Printr. “Even when we did figure it all out, the slicer kept crashing, we had to constantly watch the printer and eventually, we ran out of(useful/relevant/practical) things to print.”

The element is able to function even when there is no internet connection available, connecting your computer to your 3D printer via a WiFi connection only. What it basically does, is make a connection between the user’s dashboard, which is the FormideOS, and the particular 3D printer they have the Element connected to. In doing so, the user will now have access to a laundry list of features which were not available to them previously. These include, but are not limited to:

  • WiFi enabled 3D printingd2
  • Cloud enabled slicing
  • Automatic 3D file repair
  • Ability to have multiple users per printer
  • Over-the-air updates
  • Simple, intuitive 3D modeling
  • Control and monitoring of the printer remotely
  • Plug and play setup
  • Perfect slicing profiles made possible by an extensive material and 3D printer database

The Element can be used with practically any non-proprietary 3D printer which has a USB port, and the company claims to be reaching out to some of the larger printer manufacturers on the market to make the FormideOS, as well as the Element, available on their machines as well.  In fact, a recent partnership has been agreed upon by Printr with Dutch 3D printer manufacturer FELIXrobotics BV. Their next generation 3D printers will integrate the FormideOS within.

“The combination of our 3D printers & FormideOS will make it sifnificantly easier for our customers to start 3D printing,” stated Guillaume Feliksdal, CEO of FELIXrobotics BV. “This enables us to reach a broader audience and will be a big leap towards the mainstream consumers. FormideOS is an ingenuous solution that will bring 3D printing to the next level.”

Additionally, the company is in talks with Nectar about a similar agreement. More news on this is forthcoming. Printr plans to launch the Element on Kickstarter around the 26th of January, so if this product peaks your interest, stay tuned, and feel free to help them out by contributing to their Thunderclap.  Let us know your thoughts on this interesting new device in the Element forum thread on 3DPB.com.

d3

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