3DQue is working on a powerful new feature they call “Direct2Print”.
If you’re not familiar with 3DQue, they are a Vancouver-based company that specializes in 3D print farm software. They began several years ago with an innovative method (“VAAPR”) of automatically releasing prints from the plate of FFF desktop 3D printers, and created software to drive continuous 3D printing operations with it.
From there they made their way into farm management, as many of their customers used the VAAPR system to build arrays of 3D printers that could automatically unload themselves. However, to keep them working they also needed software to dispatch new jobs from an input queue. That’s where the company got its name, “3DQue”.
Their farm management software, AutoFarm3D, has now gone through multiple releases, and the company has quite a few farm customers. Some of them have large installations using the software.
In the latest release of AutoFarm3D, they described a very intriguing feature:
“What if your 3D printers could spring into action the moment a customer places an order on your online store? This update is a big step towards Direct2Print™ order management. Direct2Print integrates with Etsy and Shopify so customer orders are imported, put directly into the queue, and printed automatically!”
As of now Direct2Print is in beta mode, and it looks like there is a waitlist to gain access. However, you join the waitlist at no charge, but it’s not clear when you’d be able to use Direct2Print.
Direct2Print is a revolutionary idea because it chops out a massive amount of work associated with running a 3D print farm. Many 3D print farms are busy providing parts on demand for customers, and a good percentage are for Etsy and Shopify installations.
The typical scenario is a designer opens an Etsy shop to market an unusual 3D printed design, and they find huge success. Their order go beyond what they can produce with their single 3D printer, so they obtain a few more and then need software to run it. That’s where 3DQue’s AutoFarm3D comes in.
Operating the farm is only one part of the workflow: there is also the interface to the online store to consider. Normally this work is done manually, but Direct2Print should provide a massive amount of automation to vastly simplify operations for this type of 3D printing.
3DQue explains more:
“With Direct2Print, your orders are received, managed, and printed automatically, and tracked in real time. Direct2Print will integrate with Etsy and Shopify, so customer orders get imported, put directly into the queue, and printed automatically. All you need to do is keep your printers loaded with filament and collect your parts when they’re done.”
Imagine how this would work:
- A designer launches a creation on Etsy
- The designer sets up an automated VAAPR-powered print farm using AutoFarm3D
- Customers order from Etsy
- Orders are automatically queued up for printing
- Orders are printed and automatically binned when done
The designers needs only to the print farm and pick up the prints!
There is, of course, the packaging and labeling step, but perhaps 3DQue is working on that also?