AstroPrint, both a service and a device, lets users control their 3D printers from a tablet or other wireless device and connect to their account on AstroPrint.com. From there, a cloud platform lets users take on a variety of tasks like slicing designs, organizing .stl files and gcodes.
And now, AstroPrint is also letting users create time-lapse videos of the objects being printed and sharing them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or printing them directly via 3D printing service i.materialise.
The device — known as AstroBox — is loaded with an 8GB SD card and customized AstroPrint Pi Software and can be connected to a 3D printer via a USB cable. The system then creates a WiFi network which can be accessed via wireless devices such as a smartphones, tablets, PCs or laptops.
AstroPrint is compatible with the majority of the 3D printers on the market, and it’s aimed at making the process of 3D printing simple, fast, and organized.
Drew Taylor, the founder and CEO of AstroPrint, says the thing that makes the software superior and different from other 3D printing slicing, temp and position-control software like Repetier host is the system itself.
“We store files in our cloud service. These files can be accessed from any web-enabled device. This lets you print on other people’s printers or in different locations on different printers. Also, we save all the users gcode files in relation to the stl it was sliced from,” Taylor says. “This gives users a ‘tree’ where they can see all the slices they have made from a particular stl. Repetier doesn’t really save files for you unless you request it, and then gets lost in a general folder with all your other gcodes.”
AstroPrint users are currently performing more than 400 hours of 3D printing through the service every day, and that translates to a total of more than 25,000 printing hours total over the course of the last three months.
According to Taylor, the company has been hard at work building new features and now it’s time to roll those features out. He says users can now share their print time-lapse videos as AstroPrint is capable of compiling a series of print process photos into a video which can be downloaded or automatically shared on popular social networks Facebook and Twitter. In addition, the .stl files can be made private, public or shared only to people via a link.
In yet another new feature, projects can also be 3D printed through i.materialise via a new partnership which gives users the ability to customize 3D prints with a variety of new materials. The new partnership with i.materialise allows AstroPrint users to customize their 3D designs and output them from any one of 18 different 3D printing materials.
These materials range from wood to silver, and AstroPrint says a real time calculator reveals how much it would cost to print a particular design. The agreement means users can access the i.materialise 3D printing service through a link under each .stl file displayed in the AstroPrint file manager application, and a dropdown menu will offer an “Order 3D Print” option which connects directly to i.materialise and displays the selected design.
Have you ever used AstroPrint to control your 3D printer? Let us know in the AstroPrint forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out a time-lapse video from AstroPrint below.