Control & Make Your 3D Printer Smarter: Replicape Controller Board on Kickstarter Now for $79

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Elias Bakken

A new Kickstarter campaign has just launched, and it’s all about giving you control of your 3D printer. As the industry is booming, escalating, and projected to do nothing but thrive further, and go up, up, up, having some control is definitely a good thing.

Have you found yourself wishing you had an organized setup as well as a smarter 3D printer? No matter what, you’ll want to check out what Replicape can do for you–and your existing technology–for around only $89 on Kickstarter now.

Known as the “smart, silent and user friendly controller board for 3D-printers,” Replicape allows you, essentially to add on a board or ‘cape.’ The Kickstarter campaign has just been launched in hopes of raising kr82,000 (close to USD $10,000) in the next month to oversee a higher volume of the controllers being manufactured–also allowing the team to offer a substantially lower price.

The key to this new technology is that it combines real-time operation of stepper motor movements with a high level browser based operation in a single package. It allows you to control silent operation of your 3D printer or any similar CNC machine.

“With the new revision of this board which offers silent operation of 5 axes, in addition to some nifty solutions for out of the box bed levelling as the main improvements, the stage is set for 3D-printer manufacturers and hobby enthusiasts to step into the era of smart 3D-printers,” founder Elias Bakken told 3DPrint.com.

From Norway, Bakken is a maker himself, and uses the 3D printer “for everything.” Like many other users, however, he has experienced frustration at the desktop due to lack of centralized control. He and his team constructed the Replicape for users involved in actually building their own 3D printers and CNC machines.

The first version of Replicape, the Rev A, has been out for testing by selected customers for feedback, and is now being presented to the public with a new PCB manufacturer behind the scenes, allowing for the lower price, which will be at $99 (nearly less than half of the original price) after the Kickstarter campaign is over. The new version comes in a new color, with better documentation, and is quieter, as well.b01504d59116cedc9a4db6de790987d4_original (1)

“Replicape has state of the art stepper motor drivers (TCM2100) and a great four layer layout makes the board run smooth as silk,” says the team on their Kickstarter page.

Their Manga Screen, featured in a previous Kickstarter campaign, functions as the centerpiece to the controller, acting as a 4.3″ capacitive touch display offering integration and allowing full preview of 3D prints.

“It’s like having a Nokia 3210 and buying an iPhone–your printer becomes smart,” Bakken told 3DPrint.com. “You move from having a ‘dumb’ printer tethered to your computer to having a network-enabled device which is placement agnostic and can be controlled from any browser in your home or office. No software installation needed.”

The Replicape includes:replicape rev b

  • Software controlled settings
  • End stop connectors doubling in function
  • Single 12 to 24 V PSU
  • Four fan ports
  • Cold end monitoring
  • Inductive sensor support
  • Two servo outputs

Relying on Octoprint, Replicape is able to control the printer directly. This also means that every unit in your home or workshop has access to and can check the printer’s status. The hardware can be modified, and the software is open source. See here for more information.

The latest version of Replicape has been sent out to over 100 customers for testing and feedback, and has allowed for it to become available to the public in its refined form.

“This has allowed the development of the software to become mature,” states the team. “The list of companies that have ordered this is impressive. Obviously we can not reveal who they are, but a lot of the names would astonish you!”

You can purchase the Replicape on Kickstarter for around $79 USD and up, ascending in price as you add on items like the BeagleBone Black, Kamikaze flasher on a microSD, or make orders in larger quantities. With one of these controllers, you can reign in your 3D printer, make it smarter, and be better prepared for the streamlined future of technology.

Are you a backer of this project?  Let us know in the Replicate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[Update: within the first 20 minutes, the campaign already has 22 backers, and quickly rising, raising well over $2,200 USD already!]

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