What is 3D Printer Management?
As universities and organizations increase their 3D print volume, they run into a variety of roadblocks. From properly setting up the print model to the ability to print from a remote location, optimizing efficiency, decreasing print fail rates, and monitoring and allocating user print time. 3D printer software helps users achieve these objectives and more. Here’s a quick overview of the top benefits and efficiencies control software delivers.
#1 Streamlined Print Set Up
Even with training, the learning curve for 3D printing can be lengthy. This increases the percentage of failed print jobs and creates multiple time and cost inefficiencies. Simply selecting the correct printer can be confusing.
While 3D model setup training is essential, a cloud 3D printing software streamlines the process.
The assigned administrator creates internal teams, projects, and individual user controls. Then assigns parameters designed to:
Streamline and semi-automate workflows.
Properly position the project on the build plate.
Optimize the print time per project.
Optimize the entire print farm.
Decrease the number of failed print jobs.
Minimize human error while increasing QA.
Increase the likelihood of a viable end product.
Ensure there are enough materials to complete the project.
Store project files, project file versions, and print settings.
Assign designated printers to each user or group.
We say semi-automate, as new print jobs will always require at least half a minute or so of customization. Sometimes more than a few minutes, but always faster than printing without software.
#2 Remote Printing and Monitoring
Your new software eliminates the need to upload your project to an SD card and manually start the printer.
Now you can upload projects straight from CAD to your new software from any remote location.
Once uploaded, users are prompted through the workflow of setting up their print model.
The built-in STL editor allows users to modify factors such as:
Contact on the build plate
Users can also modify and analyze the required supports, infill, mesh holes, and intersections.
As the model is modified, each new file version is saved in case the user needs to reference it again in the future.
Once the model is ready to print, the project is transferred from the software to the designated printer.
Users are notified beforehand if the printer doesn’t have enough materials to complete the job.
Admins and users can view print progress in real-time and are alerted when their project is complete.
#3 Automated Administrative Controls
A 3D printer management software resolves one of the largest print farm bottlenecks—waiting for admin approval.
Administrators can assign print hours, print job priority, set printers to specific users and groups, and more.
They can even access a real-time live view of each printer.
There are a few different user access options:
Admins have full access and can create and add new groups, projects, and users.
They can assign print access via a variety of parameters.
This includes requiring their approval before 3D printing begins.
Advanced users are essentially admin assistants.
Their access is fully customizable, but far less limited than a standard user.
Individual users can access your 3D printing software after they've registered their account.
This includes ongoing users who can only print via a one-time or limited access code, for example.
All users can set up a variety of automated alerts to track the print approval and project progress.
#4 Data and Reporting
Admins can access standard and customizable reports for each user, team, 3D printer, and the entire print farm.
There is also an abundance of data that can be exported to third-party software systems.
Data and reports features include the ability to:
Monitor individual printer hours to schedule preventative maintenance.
View individual printer performance to schedule as-needed maintenance.
Monitor material inventory and estimate ongoing supply needs.
Track print hours to export for direct invoices or prepaid user billing.
View canceled projects to determine which users require more software training.
Analyze users and groups for efficiency, productivity, and innovation.
#5 Scale Your Print Farm
Cloud 3D printing empowers schools and universities to seamlessly manage and monitor hundreds of printers with thousands of users.
For organizations, this rapidly increases part and product production. For universities, this empowers students and lightens the administrative load.
3D printer management software also enables 3D printing 24/7. However, new print jobs can’t begin until the printer has been reset.
This ensures that the new print job is not damaged by projects that are still on the print bed.
Even if you only have a handful of printers, your new 3D services optimize efficiency. The benefits mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg.
Ready to Learn More About 3D Printer Software?
If your school or organization is ready to explore the benefits of creating an integrated print farm, we invite you to reach out to 3DPrinterOS today. Our customers have amassed 2 million print hours, and counting!