Radhika Dhuru September 10, 2015
Sofia, a 12-year-old in San Diego, had conflicting feelings about 3D printers. On the one hand, they were fascinating – on the other, the software seemed discouragingly complicated. 3D Printing looked like it was about to lose a potential fan. Meanwhile, the Washington State University in the US had 3D printers available for its students to use. But with lots of students printing for class projects, that resulted in queues of alternating frustration and disappointment, when people had to wait for their turn and then find that not all their designs printed as intended. 3D Printing looked like it was about to lose even more fans. But then two different apps helped both Sofia and the university overcome their troubles and keep the 3D printing community growing. How? Meet AstroPrint and Skyforge, two of the biggest champions of inclusiveness in the 3D printing world! And here’s how they’re taking 3DPrintCloud tools to their users, enabling Sofia to fix her designs and make them printable with a single application.

AstroPrint: Helping People Board the 3D Printing Ship

3DPrintCloud, launched this summer, is Materialise’s file-fixing wizard. Users can upload a model, riddled with errors, and download a fixed file converted to .stl and ready to be 3D-printed. Why spend ages fixing subtle problems when Materialise’s 25 years of experience can pre-empt most of them? A lot of 3D printing software is designed by engineers for engineers. But 3D Printing is no longer the exclusive domain of geeks, and AstroPrint and Skyforge are here to make 3D Printing an encouraging experience for as many people as possible. AstroPrint is a platform for 3D printing apps, putting all the tools you need for 3D Printing into one user-friendly interface. The idea is to make 3D Printing easy and functional for their users, including search tools for 3D models, cloud-based CAD tools, and other utilities. The platform aims to become a “one-stop shop” that could help more 3D Printing enthusiasts get better results. It’s also how Sofia got to join the 3D printing community at a remarkably young age.

Skyforge: Helping the 3D Printing Ship Sail Better

But what if you’re not a newbie, and actually need a way to adapt 3D Printing to your organization so that everyone can use the same resource – a group of 3D printers – to the best possible capacity? Then you might be looking for Skyforge, a software platform enabling enterprises to adopt additive manufacturing at scale. Whether you’re a library with thousands of patrons, a university department with 500 students, or a company with engineers at multiple locations, you’re likely to share the same problem at the outset of your 3D printer ownership: how do you manage printer queues and optimize the workflow for your users? That’s what Skyforge helps you do, at whatever scale your institution needs. When we launched 3DPrintCloud as an app, we also announced that it was up for grabs as an API to be integrated into your products and interfaces. AstroPrint and Skyforge have now become the first to integrate the 3DPrintCloud API into their respective platforms, giving their users the opportunity to fix potential printing disappointments before they happen. That’s what makes 3DPrintCloud the perfect value-addition to both their services: the ability to help people print the idea in their minds, without the hassle of complicated software or the frustration of a failed build over a tiny design flaw.

Materialise has 25 years of experience in helping people 3D print and realize their ideas, and the 3DPrintCloud offers this expertise to you. If you have a 3D printing platform or service whose users would benefit from design-troubleshooting, you’ve come to the right place – tell us how you would like to integrate the 3DPrintCloud API!