At the beginning of the summer, Land relayed news of a universal open operating system for 3D printers, called 3DPrinterOS, from 3D Control Systems. Since then, the cloud-based interface for managing multiple 3D printers has finally launched, giving users the ability to download 3DPrinterOS and use it with their own machines.
3D Control Systems was founded by former Dell lead engineer, John Dogru, and a 3D cloud printing PhD candidate, Anton Vedeshin, who have teamed up with a number engineers to develop a universal system for managing 3D printers through the cloud. And, thanks in part to funding from Vulcan Capital, the company has gotten its cloud-based networking solution for 3D printers, 3DPrinterOS, off the ground.
Though I’ve packed my printer up for a big move, I downloaded the 3DPrinterOS and the interface looks quite easy to navigate. The website allows you to register multiple printers connected to the same network in order to manage multiple print jobs. Users can also share their printers with specific users by sending them permission via email, with the printers’ administrator capable of selecting whether the shared user can print or just queue a task on a given machine. And, because 3DPrinterOS is tied to secure file sharing service Secured3D, 3D files are streamed from file owner to printer, without anyone else able to download files that they don’t own. With the ability to access the webcam on your computer (only when a printer is connected, for security purposes), users can monitor their prints through the system as well.
3DCS Founder and CEO, Dogru, explained the value of their universal 3D printing OS, “The only thing holding back the 3DP revolution we all know is coming is the lack of industry cohesion. The individual products and services currently being developed are almost meaningless if they’re not capable of interacting with one another. We see software as the entry point into that new frontier of 3DP innovation, and what we’ve tried to do with 3DPrinterOS is pry things open as much as possible.” He continues, discussing the software’s development, “We’ve committed ourselves to putting out regular updates and new drivers for the operating system, and we’re already refining our ideas with the help of user input via our beta testing process. But we’ve also collaborated with outside manufactures and developers, because our intention has always been to create a new standard for industry design and engineering. 3DPrinterOS is going to be friendly to users, and friendly to creation, as well.”
The cloud-based software already supports a handful of popular machines, like the Makerbot 2 and 2X, the Ultimaker 1 and 2, and the Duplicator 3 and 4. Many more machines are also supported, but are undergoing alpha testing, so, even if you have a RepRap with Marlin firmware, you can request the alpha release for your specific electronics. In the future, the system will support, according to 3DCS, “hundreds of devices” and users will be able to slice and manage a number of machines and a variety of workflows in one place.
Co-Founder Anton Vedeshin, elaborated on the software’s possibilities, “This technology is groundbreaking, not simply for the 3D printing industry as a self-contained bubble, but for the way society, on a fundamental level, thinks about innovation. When you begin to think about the potential impact of do-it-yourself distributed manufacturing as an alternative model to heavy industry, you realize that universal compatibility in the world of 3D printing could start a societal shift that changes the way the entire global economy functions.”
From my brief glance at the simple looking site, I think that the cloud-based software has a good deal of potential. Though a number of other cloud networking solutions for 3D printers have been announced this year, this was the first that I felt like I might be able to use immediately with no hassle and no fees.