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5 3D Printing Challenges when Running a 3D Print Farm

Learn how to overcome your 3d printing challenges when running a 3d print farm.
5 3D Printing Challenges when Running a 3D Print Farm

5 3D printing challenges faced when running multiple 3D printers – and how to overcome them with 3DPrinterOS

Running more than one 3D printer at a time comes with a unique set of challenges. From running multiple operating systems, to managing print queues and controlling access…let’s take a look at how people use 3DPrinterOS to overcome these very common challenges.

Multiple operating systems 

This is a big challenge we hear about fairly regularly. We especially hear it from our clients who run multiple 3D printers, and use different a platform for each 3D printer.

A robust makerspace, or an extensive 3D print farm, rarely comprises a single brand of 3D printer.

Based on the needs you'll find Bambu Lab, Creality, Flashforge, Formlabs, MakerBot, and more.

You may even find custom-made 3D printers that the makerspace or 3D print farm has created due to a specific need. Maybe they want a specific build plate size, or custom printheads.

And typically, each of those brands or non-brands of 3D printer is going to have its own operating system.

This can be extremely frustrating. Even for advanced users, switching between operating systems is a bit like jumping into a car and never knowing till you’re in if it’s going to be left- or right-hand drive today.

And it's one of the reasons our clients love 3DPrinterOS. They have found that they can drastically reduce the admin hours required to run their makerspace or 3D print farm, by unifying their software and running them all on a single interface.

Differing levels of user ability

Another challenge is when you have different levels of user ability. This is very typical in a makerspace. You may have students arriving who have never so much as held a hammer, and other students who have attended every shop class they could track down.

This is why the technologists in charge of makerspaces tell us they use groups within 3DPrinterOS to enable or restrict access to the 3D printers, depending on the individual user's ability.

Sometimes they use a Canvas quiz, which integrates with 3DPrinterOS and has to be completed as an initial training. Sometimes training includes workshops run by peers. We've also heard of some top makerspaces that reserve a set of 3D printers for their most advanced students. These students are typically working on groundbreaking projects that have the potential to impact lives.

Keeping intellectual property and data secure

In makerspaces, 3D print farms, manufacturing, and healthcare, intellectual property and privacy concerns play a role. This is why it's so useful to have a system like 3DPrinterOS where every iteration is tracked, and you have a complete line of sight into who is printing what and on which machine.

Scaling 3D printing operations

This is how universities like Duke and MIT run their 3D printer programs, and it's also how private schools are starting to do theirs. You can read their stories here. Many of our clients have told us that without 3D printer OS, it would be physically impossible to run their makerspace at the scale they currently are doing.

And scale is the main point of 3DPrinterOS. It integrates with Tinkercad; it allows for multi-user collaboration and teams; it organizes your 3D print queues; it systematizes your 3D printing tasks. And all of it with a single interface for all your 3D printers. 

Setup is simple too, with it taking about 5 minutes to bring a new 3D printer online. From then on, it's a question of selecting your printer from the drop-down. With features like fail detection and remote printing, it's easy to print from anywhere at any time. 

Fluctuating demand and 3D print queues

Again, universities have a lot of fluctuation in demand. At the end of the semester, or when projects are due, there's a much higher demand on the makerspace staff then at other times of the year. They've told us it was chaos before they started using 3DPrinterOS. 

Of course, we're going to like our product, but we've heard so much good about it from the people with boots on the ground in the maker spaces, that we highly recommend you consider it if you have more than three 3D printers. 

Book a demo and see an action for yourself today!

Rene-Oscar Ariko
VP of Global Sales

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