How Enterprises can Reduce Costs and get 20X Output in Additive Manufacturing

We often get asked how a system like AstroPrint can save an Enterprise so much money, while dramatically increasing Additive Manufacturing output.  This article will explore one of the primary ways we can do exactly this.

Let’s start with understanding how most Enterprises buy 3D Printers:  In most organizations, an engineer requests a 3D Printer for themselves, or a department.  After lots of bureaucracy, they get this approved and the purchasing process can begin. Being a large organization, they reach out to a public company such as Stratasys or 3D Systems and enter the Enterprise sales cycle of these organizations.  They then go on to purchase a high end 3D Printer with a service contract and advanced (paid) software package to manage the printer.

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TrainLab: How a Toy Manufacturer Uses AstroPrint to Run a Business

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.

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How MetalMaker 3D is using AstroPrint to Disrupt the $200B Metal Casting Industry

Lots of innovators are using AstroPrint to power their startup businesses, but none more innovative than the good folks at MetalMaker 3D.

About MetalMaker 3D

MetalMaker 3D has created a mini Foundry system that quickly and easily produces cast-metal parts that do not have the limitations of 3D Printed metal.  MetalMaker 3D parts are dramatically cheaper, faster, and stronger that parts made from traditional metal Additive Manufacturing processes. (more…)

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Cloud development cost

Why User-Friendly 3D Printers Don’t Sell Well (Yet)

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?

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Why 3D Printer Manufacturers should NEVER make software

Have you heard of Pirate3D‘s Buccaneer 3D Printer?

It’s the Jony Ives-inspired 3D printer that never took sail.

With a sleek, aluminum body, smooth, crystal clear acrylic housing, and beautiful aesthetics, it’s all beauty and no brains.

If you aren’t in the loop, Pirate3D raised a (then) record-breaking $1.4M+ on Kickstarter for their Buccaneer 3D Printer in 2013.

It was a hit.

Largely because most consumers had never seen such a well thought out 3D printer at such an affordable price point.

At the time, the most well-known printer was Makerbot’s Replicator 2, which ran for $2,200 and Pirate3D claimed to have a better designed, faster printer (The Buccaneer) for just $347.

Truth is: it WAS a well-designed printer and we were just as excited for Pirate3D to pull this off.

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Cloud connected 3D printing

Why Cloud-Connected 3D Printers Sell More

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?

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Desktop 3D printing the next 5 years

The Next Five Years for Desktop 3D Printers

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.

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How STEAM Studio uses AstroPrint to Teach 3D Printing to Kids

In early 2016, we founded STEAM Studio in Wexford, PA, as a place to teach kids STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) concepts with hands on projects and experiments.

From the beginning, we wanted 3D Printing to be a big part of our curriculum and projects. 3D Printing gets kids excited about engineering because of the hands on nature of having to design, print and take home cool objects.

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The Ultimate 3D Printing Cheat Sheet

People love buffets.

Buffets allow the indecisive to skip and hop around without guilt or committing to just one boring dish.

A quick taste here, a sample there.

It’s a fun time.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have compiled such a buffet just for you.

It is a very special kind of buffet, in that, it contains all of the 3D Printing resources you would ever need.

A magnum opus, an ultimate (and evolving) index of everything 3D Printing — hand curated, JUST FOR YOU.

In layman’s terms: It is the Ultimate 3D Printing Cheat Sheet – one you can re-visit over and over again to find exactly what you need.
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