How your 3D Printer lab can survive the new social distancing standards

The Covid virus has impacted the way we interact in nearly all aspects of daily life, and the education system is no exception. With schools gradually getting back to regular classes, new social distancing standards will have to be implemented campus-wide. This poses some unique challenges for 3D Printer labs, which typically involve students congregating around 3D Printers, shared computers, and printer lab admins/teachers.

AstroPrint, with its unique cloud features, allows a 3D Printer lab to be a safe environment for your students & personnel. The AstroPrint platform also allows your organization to become compliant with the new hygiene/sanitation standards for schools.

THE OLD WAYand why it is no longer safe for your students & staff

  • Typically, students come into a 3D Printer lab then use a shared computer and shared SD cards to interact with the 3D Printers.
  • Using a shared computer for slicing, build plate setup, etc creates issues since many people will be touching the same computer.
  • Sharing SD cards creates the same issue. Everyone is touching the same cards and can therefore spread communicable disease.
  • Many students may be in the Printer Lab at the same time, when sharing the computer(s) and printers. In many cases, this will violate social distancing standards.
  • 3D Printers are often clustered close together in a printer lab. If many students interact with printers at the same time, they will likely be too close. Simply removing their print from the print bed could put the student at risk.
  • Also, students will be touching many parts of the 3D printers, such as the touchscreen, SD card slot, print bed, part removal tools, etc. Then, the next student that comes along will be touching the same things, potentially spreading germs.

THE NEW WAYand how AstroPrint can help protect your students and staff

  • Students use AstroPrint for Education to send their files to the printer lab. There, a lab technician manages the 3D printing process. This could be a staff member, or even a student that has been trained to work with the printers.
  • Students – Log into their AstroPrint account through a web browser on any computer (such as their own laptop), upload the design(s) they wish to print, create build plates and sliced files (if the admin has given them permission to do so), then add the file to the Group Printer Queue. After that, the student has nothing to do until the print is complete. Note: They have not physically gone into the 3D Printer lab. This could be done from their computer in their home.
  • Next – Printer Lab Technicians (and/or Admins) – Manage the Group Queue, deciding which printer the next job should be routed to. The jobs are routed to the printers wirelessly/remotely (i.e. no SD cards). Monitoring/cancelling prints can also be done remotely. The lab technician will need to physically interact with the printer to remove the printed part, and package it for pickup/delivery.
  • Each school/facility will likely have their own pickup/delivery process. Many schools have students come to pick up the part. These schools use Social Distancing protocols similar to what restaurants use for food pick up. Alternatively, the parts can be delivered via mail/post-office. This is even more sanitary, but is likely a lot of extra work that many schools will not want to do (i.e. dealing with packaging, postage, lost packages, etc.).
  • No one is sharing a computer. No one is using/sharing SD cards. Only one person needs to physically interact with the Printers and completed parts. No one needs to be in the same room as anyone else, ever.

Using AstroPrint for Business & Education, you can literally run a 100+ printer printer-farm and stay completely compliant with social distancing and sanitation standards.

Contact us today via astroprint.com/3d-printer-fleet for more information.

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AstroPrint’s Clusters App, Community 3D Printing Platform to Fight Covid-19

As the COVID-19 outbreak worsens across the world, the urgent need for medical gear is being partially fulfilled by the additive manufacturing industry. Additive is being used for everything from face shields, medical masks, and respirator valves, to much-needed ventilator parts for critically ill patients. With this kind of critical medical gear in short supply, 3D printing offers a fast way to fill in some of the gaps.

In order to provide our help in these efforts, we are creating a new online tool named: AstroPrint 3D Printing Clusters. This will allow Regional Coordinators to manage ‘clusters’ of local manufacturers (i.e. Printer Owners), and to deliver critical 3D Printed parts to the Medical Facilities that need them.

This will help Coordinators follow local production in real-time, regardless of the manufacturing technology utilized. Since this application is more about logistics, and less about 3D Printer communications, it can be used to track production on any manufacturing technology (FDM, SLA, CNC, DMLS, etc).

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AstroPrint’s 2019 3D Printing Reliability Awards

AstroPrint is announcing today the awards for best-in-class 3D Printers, based on usage from our awesome community. This past year the AstroPrint servers have been VERY busy, thanks in-part to the more than 100 new, highly passionate, 3D Printer users that joined each day!

With nearly 1 Million prints & 80 tons of filament printed in 2019, we are proud to announce the awards go to…

Best 3D Printer
Best 3D Printers 2019
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Maintenance scheduled to push new features

PLANNED DOWNTIME / SERVICE INTERRUPTION – MONDAY JAN 13TH

HEADS UP! We have maintenance in the AstroPrint Cloud scheduled for Monday Jan 13th starting on 1am (PST), 4am (EST), 10am (CET). The maintenance window will be around 1 hour. Your AstroPrint service will be disrupted during this period with several moments of complete service shutdown.

Want live updates?

We will update live during that time via our Twitter account.
@AstroPrint3D

What is going to be done?

We’re pushing major upgrades to the AstroPrint service infrastructure, as well as updating the software with security and performance patches. Most of this will not affect how you use AstroPrint in the future, these are ‘behind the scenes’ updates.

What you will notice after the update: We will be introducing new features such as a new File Manager and Fleet Management Plans.

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Cults now integrates AstroPrint for seamless 3D printing experience

Astroprint <3 Cults

AstroPrint is proud to announce a new partnership with Cult! You are from today able to export & print design straight from Cult into AstroPrint.

Created in 2014, Cults is the 1st independent 3D files marketplace platform is a fast growing platform. It was one of the first in the Printing industry and has a long history of providing top-notch design.

AstroPrint is pleased to provide this new option with the very popular Cults Marketplace. Both companies have worked together to offer a seamless experience from the 3D Design Marketplace to the actual object.

“We are excited about this new strategic partnership. Pairing the right software with the best designs in additive manufacturing industry, and we look forward to keep working with Cults in the future”

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