May 2, 2014

3D printing is still immature. There are a lot 'easy to use' and low cost 3D printers on the market, but you still have to use various software just to deliver the file to the printer. Earlier this month, we reported that Canada based PrintToPeer, a startup currently part of Vancouver accelerator GrowLab, is building software that does the automation for 3D printers. Today PrintToPeer has launched their Indiegogo campaign for their product.

"Printing an object is really awkward; you currently need three different pieces of software, with hundreds of settings in each," PrintToPeer says. "Each printer, object, and material has different settings that need to be entered manually, and your laptop has to stay with the printer for the entire 18 hour print unless you physically transferred files via SD card."

Founded by James Thorne, Tom Bielecki and Kaz Walker, this young team of software developers explains that PrintToPeer is a common operation system for all 3D printers. Instead of processing the files on your computer, your files will be repaired and sliced on the web and sent straight to your 3D printer.

The secret is to manage the whole process through an API, Bielecki says.

To use PrintToPeer's service, you need to have a Raspberry Pi which connects your printers to the Internet, so PrintToPeer can give you cloud slicing and an API.

Instead of dealing with all the complexities of various printers' software and workflows, PrintToPeer gives you a web dashboard and workflow for your 3D printer and you can watch your print on the web interface from anywhere, all you need is a camera module attached to your Raspberry Pi.

PrintToPeer hosts Slic3r, Cura, and Makerbot slicers on servers so you no longer need to slice your files on your home computer. You can also access your slicer profiles from anywhere and share them with others.

PrintToPeer says it will keep entire Raspberry Pi codebase open source. It will also provide a simple RESTful or WebSocket based API so a PrintToPeer user can 3D print right from their apps. You can sign up at to get early access to the PrintToPeer API.

"Designers want to design, not deal with files. The PrintToPeer interface allows designers to get back to doing what they do best." Bryan Allen of Smith|Allen Studio commented. "Fire and Forget: sending a design to a printer then moving on to the next iteration. In my view a software platform like this is a critical component to mass adoption."

PrintToPeer now support cloud slicing, queueing, and printing. PrintToPeer also announced that 3D Hubs will be integrating its API. 3D Hubs' network of 3D Printers allows anyone to 3D print around the corner. With this partnership, the process of accepting print jobs will be streamlined. This integration will take place this summer.

Bielecki says the company's software can handle more than 80 percent of the 3D printers on the market, and he hopes soon it would cover all 3D printers.

PrintToPeer is raising is raising $15,000 funding on Indiegogo. Early backers can get a lifetime subscription to the service for $30. head over to their website for checking out more options.

"Our indiegogo isn't really for money," Bielecki explains. "Rather, it's to attract core groups of evangelists. That will get developers interested, and that will bring in the OEMs."

Posted in 3D Printing Services

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Cassidy S wrote at 5/5/2014 3:58:45 PM:

I've used the Alpha version and it worked on my Makibox 3d printer There is some work to do to make it perfect, which is why this campaign is so important. It's quite impressive and has a lot of potential. I was able to do the setup including adding a wireless wi-fi adapter to my raspberry pi and have it working on my printer in about an hour. That can only be speed up from here. It was really weird being able to control my printer wirelessly through a web browser. 

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