PrintToPeer has launched their fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. They are a startup that hopes to dramatically change how you interact with your 3D printer.
They’re doing this by inventing an accessory that attaches to your personal 3D printers. It’s a Raspberry Pi-based print manager that provides what they call a “re-imagined” interface.
The problem they’re solving is the confusing mix of software used to control different 3D printers. If you have more than one machine, it’s more than likely you have to deal with different programs to handle them. Even if you have only one machine, when you upgrade you must invariably move your software along with it.
They want to make the 3D printer management experience seamless, simple and satisfactory regardless of which machines you might be using.
The PrintToPeer device attaches to your machine and provides several benefits aside from a standardized and simplified interface:
- Dashboard of all your attached 3D printers
- Maintenance console with calibration and material changer wizards
- Material settings catalog for easy reference
- WiFi access for machines without such connection
- SMS notifications of job completion (or failure)
- Remote video monitoring of print operations – with automated failure detection/pausing planned
- Up-to-date cloud-based slicing software for popular 3D printers that can operate much faster than on your PC
We’re quite excited about this accessory. Having multiple machines in our lab and frequently stumbling our way through inconsistent software we know that this product definitely addresses problems experienced by all 3D printer owners. While some vendors (MakerBot) are beginning to include some of these features on their latest printers only, the PrintToPeer option enables you to immediately do so on many popular printers. Today PrintToPeer supports MakerBot and any Marlin firmware-based 3D printers.
While this is exciting, the team at PrintToPeer has even bigger plans. According to Co-Founder Tom Bielecki:
We think that by providing a common operating system and API for 3D printers that an entire open ecosystem of software will emerge. For example, mobile games could print one-of-a-kind trophies on your own 3D printer, or product developers could A/B test and send updates of their products to early adopters, or you can print directly from SketchUp and Thingiverse. We hope to hear more possibilities from people.
As has occurred in other domains, putting services in the cloud generates a lot of interesting new possibilities.
For now you can sign up to get a Pi fully equipped with all you need, including a camera for as little as USD$140. And that’s with a LIFETIME subscription to their cloud service.