If you’ve ever had a hand in 3D printing anything, the beginning of the video for AstroPrint’s Kickstarter will make you LOL — it lists the outdated features on the tech toy of our very near future. For all the “they’ll change everything” hype they get, current consumer models have mad wires, display screens that look lifted from goofy ‘80s movies and complex companion software that is intimidatingly unintuitive. Haha, right?! If you’re more like politely nodding your head since you’ve never been in the same room as a MakerBot, you’ll still be delighted by the video for a whole new reason. It proves that anyone can be a 3D printing master — especially after this Kickstarter gets shipping.
AstroPrint (which surpassed its $10,000 goal with a month still left to go) is here to make 3D printers wireless and easy to control with your phone. To get making, all you need to do is plug your printer’s USB cable into the system’s simple little plug-and-play attachment AstroBox, connect to WiFi and you’re ready to print with any digital device acting as your new, crazy-easy-to-use 3D printing interface.
Plugged in to AstroBox, the system turns any smartphone, tablet or computer into a beautiful (A+ for UI design!) and, even more importantly, effective printing interface that will cut down on failed prints with settings that get smarter over time. Use it to slice and manage any 3D printable files you have, then store them in the AstroPrint cloud. Another incentive for Kickstarter backers — you’ll get a free lifetime subscription for storage and other services with AstroPrint.com, $10/month if you don’t throw down your pledges now.
With a successful Kickstarter, AstroPrint will add camera support to provide live online viewing and auto updates via text and email, remote access so you can print from anywhere in the world and a printer and filament database that updates and grows with the new printing products coming to market.
Early bird pledges have already been snatched up, but there are still a few $100 basic packages that will deliver in September and $125 packages due in October after those run out. And, they will probably run out. Which is a good thing! Like we’ve trumpeted before, with more regular Joe + Joanna’s like you and me firing up 3D printers, the more the industry can actually learn and grow and become that future-changing thing we all keep hyping. Being able to run the device remotely on an easy, pretty-on-the-UIs app, will bring that future lightyears (and regular years) closer.
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