Nothing can be more frustrating than purchasing a 3D printer only to find yourself dumbfounded by the hardware and software knowledge required to run it that you might not possess. As we’ve mentioned so many times before, one of the major obstacles to widespread adoption of 3D printing is the fact that the software and hardware can be difficult to set up and use. Even some of the most tech-savvy individuals can find themselves in a web of confusion while trying to print their first item. That’s if they can manage to get their printer calibrated and running properly to begin with.
Shanghai, China-based Anvil Technology wants to change all of this, by launching a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a complete 3D printing software/hardware ecosystem called the Creation Center. The Creation Center is a simplistic 3D printer like nothing you have ever seen before, combined with a 3D modelling software based on a building block concept.
The Creation Station 3D printer is shaped like a cube and is completely enclosed. Unlike many newer printers on the market, there is no LCD screen and no complicated settings required to begin using the hardware. In fact, the Creation Station has just a single button on it which has two uses: turning the printer on, and turning the printer off. Besides the simplistic nature of its design, the printer also comes packed with many very useful features which make 3D printing a breeze. This includes an auto-loading filament process so that the annoyance of threading filament into the extruder becomes a thing of the past. Additionally there is an alarm on the filament compartment which warns a user when the filament is getting low. Below you will find some of the other general specifications for the Creation Station:
- Printer Size: 285 x 306 x 306 mm
- Build Envelope: 175 x 160 x 160 mm
- Printer Weight: 4lbs
- Layer Resolution: 20-200 micron
- Nozzle Diameter: 0.3mm
- Material Compatibility: ABS, PLA, wood-based PLA
The machine doesn’t exactly follow the traditional design framework of the printers we have become used to seeing; however, the software strays even further from the norm. In an attempt to cater toward those new to 3D printing, the team at Anvil has come up with a proprietary software to run the printer and assist users in constructing their own 3D printable models.
The Creation Station software, called 3Dit, can best be described as part 3D modelling, part Lego-like-building software. Users are able to easily construct printable models in almost a game-like fashion. First they select the ‘brick’ of their choice from a library of different shapes and sizes. From there, they can quickly and easily drag and drop pieces, re-sizing, reshaping, and rotating them to their heart’s desire. When it’s time to print a particular creation, all the printer’s parameters are preset within the software and all the user has to do is click ‘print.’ The Creation Station’s 3Dit software combines with the hardware to produce what the company feels is one of the more simplistic approaches to 3D printing yet.
The company is looking to raise a total of $100,000 by April 6 to begin mass production of these machines and complete the development of their 3Dit software. In order to do so they are offering several rewards to their backers including the the printer and software themselves. The first 300 early bird backers will be able to purchase the Creation Station printer along with the 3Dit software for just $349. After the initial 300 are pre-sold, the price will jump up to a still-affordable $449. If all goes as planned the very first printer packages will begin shipping in October.
Let us know if you’ve backed this project and what your thoughts are on the machine and the software. Discuss in the Creation Station forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out a video of the 3Dit software in action: