August 27, 2020
With engineering teams increasingly working remotely or from disparate locations, managing and monitoring 3D print jobs can be a challenge, taking time away from primary design responsibilities or becoming so burdensome that it eliminates 3D printing from the toolkit.
MakerBot is seeking to address the complexities of managing 3D print jobs with a new cloud-based version of its 3D printing platform designed to provide a seamless workflow for teams working remotely or from off-site locations. The new MakerBot CloudPrint enables individual engineers or far flung teams to utilize 3D printers, including the METHOD industrial versions, collaboratively, working from a browser to prepare, queue, print, monitor, and manage 3D print jobs.
The more distributed nature of engineering teams, accelerated by the remote working conditions brought on by COVID-19, calls for an easier way to scale 3D printer accessibility as well as providing a boost to productivity as 3D printing is integrated into design, prototyping, and production workflows.
“Businesses are becoming more dispersed and remote-based, which is further exacerbated by the COVID pandemic,” says Jason Chan, director of product management at MakerBot. “CloudPrint allows engineers and designers to continue to collaborate remotely by leveraging the connectivity of the cloud. While not everyone may have physical access to a printer, CloudPrint provides these users access to the company’s printers.”
With CloudPrint, users can slice and prepare their 3D prints directly from a browser and take advantage of the scale and resources of the web to tackle difficult geometries and configurations. Built-in queuing and monitoring capabilities let users add, monitor, and control access to connected MakerBot printers from anywhere and leverage a dashboard for centralized tracking and to monitor print progress. There are also live camera feeds that provide the latest status updates on print jobs, officials said.
Workspace capabilities allows users to set up printers to be shared amongst a team, and different levels of privileges can be established to allow for different configurations and usage dynamics.
For engineers and product designers using the METHOD industrial line of printers, CloudPrint supports enterprise-grade security capabilities, including the need for users to authenticate their printers to their CloudPrint account through firmware. Additionally, there are advanced settings that allow full control over print settings, including an advanced print preview feature that has a 2D layer preview display, which showcases details for each layer of the print. This makes it easier to fine tune performance and optimize print characteristics.
For more on how remote teams can leverage MakerBot CloudPrint for more accessible 3D printing, check out this video.