Aug. 7, 2014

Most of the 3D printers require a SD card for printing and need to be physically attached to a pc to load the GCode. UK based Justin Carpenter, an engineer specialising in the design and production of 3D printers has come up with Activ8, a standalone touch screen device that is designed to operate any RepRap based 3D printer.

After several rounds of prototyping, Carpenter and his team have created a sleek and durable design for their touch screen device. The Activ8 comes preloaded with a custom Operating system and a suite of applications. "We've designed the Activ8 with our own intuitive custom OS, anyone can use it and have their favourite designs printing in seconds." Carpenter says.

These tools include:

Active 3D Pronterface - Our own custom version of Pronterface which incorporates Slic3r, with a .STL and .Gcode 3D viewer and plater.

  • Repetier-Server - A multi-printer, multi-connection printer server that handles the communication with 3d printers.
  • RepG - Drives MakerBot Replicator, Thing-O-Matic, CupCake CNC, RepRap machines and generic CNC machines.
  • Slic3r, Cura and Skeinforge - All three of these programs convert a 3D model into G code instructions for a 3D printer. Most printers are designed to work optimally with one of these programs, so we've included all of them.
  • Octorprint - An application that allows you to operate your 3D printer wirelessly.
  • Meshlab - Allows for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes.
  • Web browser - An integrated Web Browser that can be used to access and download all your favourite 3D designs straight from the internet.

In addition, Activ8 includes also a virtual keyboard and a wireless keyboard alternative. "What we came up with was a small, lightweight, dedicated computer that we could use to operate our machines, whilst also being powerful enough to edit and manipulate our 3D designs on the fly." Carpenter adds.

For more experienced 3D printer users, the Activ8 comes preloaded with a suite of powerful applications designed to bring it on par with a dedicated PC. "We have included Active 3D's custom Pronterface which incorporates Slic3r with a .STL and .Gcode viewer, and Plater." Carpenter explains. "We've also included applications such as Skeinforge, Cura and Meshlab, to give the most experienced enthusiasts the highest level of control over their 3D printer."

The Activ8 is being launched on the crowd funding website Kickstarter, where the team hopes to raise £35,000 in just 30 days. Pledges as small as £1 can really help bring this project to life. For £300 you will get the Active8 with inbuilt WiFi at a £50 discount, and you will also have the choice of a special orange version.

On completion of the Kickstarter, the team plans to release all the software for free. " Open source is a big part of our design philosophy and we can't wait to see what new exciting directions members of the community can take it in." notes the team.

For more info, watch their campaign video below or visit the Kickstarter webpage.

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

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Dtuerk wrote at 8/8/2014 8:59:12 PM:

I just bought a tablet to do what this thing does for $200CA. Hell of allot cheaper than this thing! Plus its not just a Raspberry PI in a box.

Dtuerk wrote at 8/7/2014 2:05:54 PM:

Seems like way too much money for something that can only send g-code to my printer

fernlo wrote at 8/7/2014 12:25:15 PM:

Why would one want to buy this when one can get Dell or Lenovo or Toshiba Windows 8 tablets for US$250? The software, after all is free and the OS license is included in the purchase price of the tablet. Also the tablets have capacitive touch displays as opposed to outdated resistive touch on this unit.

slo 3D creators wrote at 8/7/2014 11:05:37 AM:

What does this offer me over a Acer Iconia W4, USB 2 powered hub, and Logitech BT Keyboard, which I am using right now as the front end to my Kossel Clear and MakerGear M2 using Cura, ProInterface, and Simplify 3D?

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