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How Does a 3D Printer Work?

Discover the workings of 3D printers: from digital models to physical objects, learn how this transformative technology brings creations to life
How Does a 3D Printer Work?

Can You Operate Multiple 3D Printers Simultaneously and Understand How They Work?

The short answer is, yes, of course! That's what we do.

3D printer fleet management software is mandatory for the type of customers that we serve: university makerspaces will often have dozens of 3D printers, and it would be virtually impossible for them to run each 3D printer individually. 

Can you imagine the wasted time and resources, trying to find which printer is busy and which is available?

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's take a look at what's involved in running more than one 3D printer at a time.

First of All, Why Would You Want to Run More Than One 3D Printer at a Time and Understand 3D Printing Mechanics?

There are a few reasons. In manufacturing, it of course increases your production capacity. A 3D print farm will typically have multiple 3D printers. Just like a large corporation or hospital connects their paper printers and runs them through a unified system, any setting that has high volume 3D printing will want to connect its 3D printers for maximized efficiency.

You might also want 3D printers that can print a variety of materials or colors. Having more than one 3D printer could allow you to produce multi-material or multicolor parts without needing to change filaments.

In industry, you might want to differentiate between your prototyping 3D printers and your mass-production ones. If you're producing 3D-printed parts in bulk, you'll likely want to keep your settings consistent. One project may have its own dedicated 3D printer. But you may still want to do prototyping and experimentations using other 3D printers, and adjust settings each time.

And if you're depending on 3D printers to earn you a living, you may have multiple printers so that if one fails or needs maintenance, production can continue on the others. Nobody wants downtime.

Of course, where we see many 3D printers running together, is in educational settings. Our clients will typically have dozens of 3D printers, hundreds of users, and possibly thousands of 3D print files. The users could be of varying abilities, too. And just to add to the fun, remember that schools and universities have semesters and term projects when everything is likely to be due at the same time!

What if Your 3D Printers Are Different Kinds from Each Other? Exploring 3D Printing Technology Variations

Again, short answer: our clients run all their different types of 3D printers through 3DPrinterOS, our software for 3D printing.

Just like a landscaping company might have a fleet with many different types and styles of vehicle, we recognize that anyone running a fleet of 3D printers needs to have free access to whatever 3D printer they choose!

The longer answer is that it's more efficient to run them from a single interface. You don't want to have to learn and remember five different interfaces just because you have five different types of 3D printer. 

This is especially true if it's not you doing the 3D printing: if you're running a makerspace with dozens of students, or if you're running a 3D print farm with employees, it makes far more sense for everyone to use a unified dashboard like 3DPrinterOS. The admin staff and managers who have chosen 3DPrinterOS as a way to run their different kinds of 3D printers have found that they ROI very quickly on their investment - sometimes in a matter of days.

Can you run 3D printers together if they're in different locations?

With 3DPrinterOS, it doesn't matter where your 3D printers are located. Some of our clients have them in a central room like a makerspace or fab lab, but others have them distributed throughout campus. Some even have them on more than one campus.

Regardless of where your 3D printers are located, you can run more than one 3D printer at a time with 3DPrinterOS, and it's all visible on your dashboard.

How do you start to run more than one 3D printer at a time?

The first step is to contact us. You knew we would say that, right? No but seriously, we’d love to help you get started.

But it's a very simple process, we promise. It takes about 5 minutes to add a 3D printer to your profile. 

Once you have your 3D printers added, our clients urge their fellow makerspace instructors to set up user groups. They say it will make your life far easier in the long run. But that's another blog for another day!

Rene-Oscar Ariko
VP of Global Sales

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