May 10, 2017 | By Benedict

San Diego-based tech company AstroPrint has introduced the AstroBox Touch, a wireless, cloud-connected touchscreen for 3D printers. A Kickstarter for the 3D printer screen surpassed its $10,000 goal in just three hours.

Crowdfunding is becoming the norm for young companies releasing new products. Overall, it’s great, but the 3D printing landscape can sometimes feel a little saturated with will-they, won’t they products whose quality is hard to gauge.

It’s therefore pretty exciting when a 3D printing Kickstarter surpasses its campaign goal in just a few hours—of course, hype is no guarantee of quality, but overwhelming interest and confidence in a new product at least suggests it has successfully identified a gap in the market.

Take the AstroBox Touch, for example. The app-loaded 3D printer accessory recently hit its $10,000 goal just three hours into its campaign, and has since raised another $20,000. Amazingly, it still has 29 days left to raise even more.

There are reasons why many backers have flocked to the AstroBox Touch. For starters, it’s not AstroPrint’s first campaign: back in 2014, the company ran a successful Kickstarter for the eponymous AstroPrint wireless 3D printing software. That effort scooped over $40,000, with almost 500 makers wanting a piece of the smartphone-controlled 3D printing action. AstroPrint clearly delivered, and customers have returned for more.

The company’s latest 3D printing product could be even more exciting than its wireless software package. According to AstroPrint, the AstroBox Touch is a powerful Raspberry Pi-powered touchscreen that provides access to the AstroPrint app marketplace while also synchronizing 3D printers with desktop software, mobile apps, and web portals.

Amongst other abilities, the AstroBox Touch is able to visually inspect your print bed, get notifications about the status of your prints, start and stop prints from anywhere around the world, print from repositories like Thingiverse with a few clicks without having to download anything, and slice and print designs directly from your smartphone.

The Touch is also said to be compatible with around 80% of desktop 3D printers on the market.

“Since our last Kickstarter, our users have 3D printed over half a million hours on our platform—that’s almost 60 years of 3D printing,” commented Drew Taylor, co-founder and CEO of AstroPrint. “This campaign for the AstroBox Touch is the result of over 3+ years of direct feedback from this amazing community.”

AstroPrint says its new 3D printing touchscreen will be extremely friendly towards developers and content creators, who will be able to distribute applications via the AstroPrint platform. AstroPrint’s own developers are sinking their teeth into new apps too: to expand the library even more, the company is releasing a suite of cross-platform Desktop Applications, Mobile Applications for both Android & iOS platforms, and a Developer API (in beta).

“The Touch is a device that gives unparalleled distribution power to third party application developers and content creators,” said Daniel Arroyo, co-founder and CTO of AstroPrint. “Since Touch owners will have limitless options to extend its capabilities by tapping into the creativity of developers and content creators, each Touch will be a fully customized reflection of its owner.”

All copies of the super early bird AstroBox Touch ($100) have been snapped up, but backers can still secure the 3D printer touchscreen for a special price of $125. A DIY kit with a larger screen and extra features is available for $225.

AstroBox Touch features:

  • 3.5" touchscreen (480 x 320 pixels)
  • Runs AstroBox Touch Software
  • Infinitely extensible with custom apps from AstroPrint app marketplace
  • Easy and intuitive UI
  • Plug and play
  • Wirelessly control of 3D printer
  • Connected to the AstroPrint ecosystem (including Android & iPhone apps)
  • Developer friendly
  • Powered by Raspberry Pi
  • Compatible with all printers running standard Marlin, Repetier, & Sailfish firmware



Posted in 3D Printer Accessories



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