TrainLab, a startup toy manufacturer, designs and makes their own toy parts using desktop 3D printers. Like other entrepreneurs, they found a niche where 3D printing made sense and started a business around it.
They started making train track adapters and connectors for kids, selling them on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy and on their own online store.
In this post, Scot Refsland, founder of Trainlab, tells us about how they leverage AstroPrint software to maximize their 3D printer fleet productivity and scale their business.
Last month, Max-K (Emot3D), a start-up manufacturer based in Mexico, presented its new 3D printer at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The printer comes with Google Assistant and it’s powered by AstroPrint software. Thanks to both integrations, the 3D printer can be controlled from any device and print with a few clicks. In addition, you can control multiple printers from one device and execute voice commands specific to the 3D printer such as bed leveling.
We asked Jose Luis Ku, founder of the company, about his experience making a smart 3D printer:
Last weekend, we walked around the NY MakerFaire and had the pleasure to see the first AstroPrint powered 3D printer that appears in public. Yay!
Our friends at IMADE3D showed a prototype of their new JellyBox printer running AstroPrint software. This colorful printer allows students to learn about 3D printing by building their own printer. Unlike most DIY 3D printers, this one is actually easy and fun to build.
One of the challenges after students build the printer is to get them excited about printing things. Until now, engineering grade software and horrible user interfaces haven’t helped with this. People can get discouraged by non-intuitive UIs, lack of networking capabilities and the time-consuming process of going from CAD file to physical object.
This is where AstroPrint comes to help💪. Students can now print files right from the touchscreen, controlling and monitoring remotely and much more. Basically, they now fall in love when they build the printer, and when they use it 😍😍
We’ll be announcing more partnerships over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
If phone and computer manufacturers can make software upgrades over-the-air, why 3D printer manufacturers can’t?
From AstroPrint OEM dashboard you can now control all software aspects of your 3D printer line, getting three main benefits from it:
1. Better Quality Prints
For most 3D printers today, users have to tinker until they find the proper slicer settings. Or, they have to download recommended slicer settings to make their own printer profiles. AstroPrint has solved this issue, allowing manufacturers control their slicer settings in a centralized way.
Many 3D printer manufacturers are preinstalling AstroPrint software in their printers. Just like Lenovo preinstalls Windows in computers, or Samsung preinstalls Android in phones.
Our goal at AstroPrint is to help manufacturers make smart 3D printers, replacing their antiquated software. But each printer is different and as a manufacturer, you want software tailored for your printers. This is why we are giving you more and more flexibility to customize Astrobox software to meet the specific needs of your Hardware:
The Mod-t, a beautiful, cloud-connected and easy-to-use 3D printer for only $299. NewMatter recently announced it will shut down operations. What went wrong?
Some 3D printer manufacturers are making their own user-friendly software innovations to make printers more approachable. However, they don’t sell enough units. But why? Don’t people like easy-to-use 3D printers with a sleek design?
It is clear by now that cables and SD cards are not the future of 3D printing. As more users demand their printers to be wireless, 3D printer manufacturers are increasingly making wifi-connectivity a priority for their printer line. However, many of them are simply connecting a desktop 3D printer to a local network and that, is not the future.
A step further is to connect printers to a cloud platform. We live in the era of the internet of things, where every device gets connected to the cloud. However, most 3D printer manufacturers don’t really understand what the cloud does for a 3D printer. What are the advantages of cloud versus local network for 3D printers? Do 3D printers gain value when they are cloud-connected?
The next few years are going to be exciting. Desktop 3D printers are going to be in everyone’s home and 3D printer manufacturers will sell units like candies at a kindergarten school. Right?
While I’m extremely positive about the future of Desktop 3D printers, the industry needs to first jump the “chasm” that separates the hobbyists and the early majority. Within the next 5 years, manufacturers that don’t make significant changes in their current strategy will miss on the next wave of customers.
What’s stopping desktop 3D printers from mass adoption?
So far, manufacturers have mostly focused on hardware, while software has been left behind. For this reason, we have seen a lot of hardware improvements. Printers are now faster and more reliable. They are also cheap, the Monoprice Mini is a good example of a printer that anyone can afford. Some printers are now beautiful to look at. Our friends at Kodama are putting together an affordable printer that almost looks like an iPhone. I can picture the new Obsidian looking great in anyone’s living room.
If Hardware has improved so much, then why we continue to sell to the hobbyists and not mainstream? The reason is: software has fallen behind.