With any emerging technology, simplified and universal operating systems and software are not always going to be guaranteed. Most people who are trying to make their mark in a new industry are going to be reluctant to make their products compatible with their competition simply because they don’t want to look like they are playing catch up.
With 3D printing, the lack of universal standards was even more pronounced because most advances in desktop 3D printing didn’t happen in the R&D departments of major corporations but rather in hackspaces and the garages of many a maker. It is hard to coordinate anything when you’re building something brand new. The result of that segmentation is operating systems and workflow processes that vary wildly from 3D printer to 3D printer. And, to put it bluntly, sometimes mechanical engineers shouldn’t be the ones developing software. Unless the goal is to give their products a steeper learning curve, of course.
In order to make 3D printing more accessible to everyone, an entire industry of third party operating systems and workflows has sprung up that can simplify, optimize, and debug your 3D printer’s software. One of the leading companies creating 3D printer operating systems is AstroPrint. But with a market containing literally hundreds of models of 3D printers, getting all of them to work on one platform is quite the uphill battle.
To that end, AstroPrint has just released their latest update for their cloud-based 3D printer operating system that will expand the number of printer models that are supportable. AstroPrint can now connect your MakerBot 2X and below, WanHao, FlashForge, or any 3D printer that runs using the native SailFish OS.
Last year AstroPrint launched their wildly successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to develop their OS and the AstroBox that would connect a 3D printer to any active Wi-Fi signal. The campaign met their goal of $10,000 in only a single day and eventually raised more than four times that original goal. The first AstroBox peripherals were shipped out late summer 2014, and they are now available for purchase directly from AstroPrint.
Using the AstroBox, 3D printer owners can operate their printers from any web-enabled device using the AstroPrintOS. Prints can be monitored, stopped, started, or even sliced from anywhere with Wi-Fi access. It will work on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even wirelessly from your home computer over your Wi-Fi connection.
The AstroPrint v.6 software update also optimizes the cloud to network connectivity, improves password protection, and provides an upgrade to the upgrading process for any 3D printer natively using SailFish OS or its predecessor Marlin. V.6 can be upgraded on both the standard AstroBox or the RPi (DIY version) AstroBox.
In addition to the newly supported printers, the AstroPrint UI also received an upgrade. The AstroDashboard was switched over to an app style layout so developers can more easily integrate their software into the AstroPrint OS. AstroPrint also plans to add new apps as they are developed.
So you have a 3D printer that uses SailFish? Will this update convince you to purchase an AstroBox? Let us know about it over on the AstroPrint v.6 Software Update forum thread at 3DPB.com.