May 23, 2016 | By Alec

As Windows users will have doubtlessly noticed, Microsoft has been steadily expanding their support features for desktop 3D printing over the last few years. Native plug-and-play support for a number of popular 3D printers has already been available since Windows 8.1, and those features have been steadily expanding since then, in part through the 3D Builder software. Network 3D printing support, such as sending print jobs from remote locations, was really the only thing that was missing. But that issue has now been fixed too, through a new Windows 10 IoT Core app called “Network 3D Printer”, which can be installed on a Raspberry Pi 3.

In a nutshell, this app adds a new level of network support for a handful of the most commonly used desktop 3D printers, and certainly makes Windows platforms even more attractive for 3D printing purposes. Among others, “Network 3D Printer” will enable users to access their 3D printer through wired or Wi-Fi-based networks; perfect for remote monitoring and 3D printing, and for sharing 3D printer access between multiple computers. The initial release currently provides network (both Wi-Fi and wired) and Windows 3D print platform support for the following 3D printers: the Lulzbot Taz 6, the Makergear M2, the Printrbot Play, Plus and Simple, the Prusa i3 and i3 Mk2, the Ultimaker Original and Original+, the Ultimaker 2 and 2+ and the Ultimaker 2 Extended and Extended+.

If your desktop 3D printer can be found among that list, you’ll find that its quite simple to set up network support. Simply download the Windows 10 IoT Core app, and install it on a Raspberry Pi 3. Simply by plugging it into your 3D printer, you can easily set up a convenient 3D printing network. “Raspberry Pi enthusiasts can use this solution starting today to network enable their 3D printers and we invite device manufacturers to evaluate the experience that this enables and the benefits of being able to easily Wi-Fi enable their devices and connect them to Windows,” Windows revealed. For more info on setting up the network, check out this tutorial for Windows 10 IoT Core powered devices.

Once the network is running through the app, it will broadcast its presence to your Windows 10 device. As you can see in the clip below, it’s extremely easy to connect to it. From there, you can easily start sending print commands through typical 3D printing apps like Microsoft 3D Builder. Of course, more 3D printers can also be added to the network, with Microsoft saying that adding support is as easy as creating a profile for the device.

What’s more, more support features and 3D printer models will be added to the app in the near future. And with a majority of users relying on Windows devices for 3D printing, this extra level of connectivity can only be a good thing and will doubtlessly help people out. It certainly also showcases Microsoft’s interest in the 3D printing medium. If your 3D printer isn’t part of this new Windows ecosystem yet, they invite you to contact them here and hopefully they will be able to add support options in the near future. Remote 3D printing, it seems, is about to get a whole lot easier.

 

 

Posted in 3D Software

 

 

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