There are currently a wide number of 3D printer management programs out there to control a variety of 3D printers and handle 3D printable files. These range from manufacturer-specific and open source pieces of software all the way to universal 3D printer networking services. BrewEngine, however, is the first company I’ve encountered that rewards users for printing with their software.
Currently in beta testing, BrewPrint is meant to be an easy-to-use 3D printer management program that can handle 3D printers from “your smartphone, tablet, or computer no matter if you prefer Android or Apple.” At the same time as you manage print jobs, viewing your models in various colors and detecting print jams, BrewPrint rewards users with the company’s own currency, BrewCoins. As people print with BrewEngine’s software, they earn BrewCoins to spend at the company’s filament shop, which sells ABS, PLA, and HIPS filament. In addition to the BrewShop, BrewEngine is in the process of developing a model library, where users would have access to a catalog of objects that can be printed with the company’s management software.
As the founders of BrewEngine are also immersed in the world of mobile gaming, developing Android games like Roaring Skies and Outfoxed!, it’s easy to see how the concept of rewarding 3D printer users (players?) for working with BrewPrint came about. And, as they develop their 3D printables library, we may witness the formation of a 3D printing ecosystem. If/when BrewEngine begins selling 3D models, as MakerBot has, BrewCoins may be used to purchase branded models, perhaps directly linked to games made by BrewEngine.
A number of companies have been seeking to bridge the virtual world of gaming with the physical world of 3D printing, but BrewEngine may have found a platform for sealing the gaming/printing ecosystem. If they sell popular games with sought after characters, then, as long as home 3D printing gains widespread popularity, gamers may use BrewEngine products for their printing, gaming, and model purchasing needs. BrewEngine is definitely offering a unique platform, but we’ll have to wait and see if it gains traction.