One year after launching the AstroPint project, a 3D printing solution, the US-based AstroPrint in San Diego offers the AstroBox Touch. AstroBox Touch is a touchscreen box that acts as a gateway between your 3D printer and the Astroprint cloud solution (desktop application / cloud / mobile application / 3D printer). The $ 10,000 project was completed in just 3 hours on the KickStarter Participatory Funding Platform.
What is AstroPrint?
AstroPrint is an all-in-one solution for managing remote 3D impressions. For this AstroPrint consists of an application that is installed on his computer and a box to plug into his 3D printer. The 3D printer and desktop software are connected by AstroPrint servers on the Internet. A mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to start preparing the print files, start printing, track progress (including video) and be notified at the end of the job. AstroPrint is also capable of running on the WiFi network (without internet connection).
You understand that, in order to function, you will need a user account so that all your devices can communicate with each other through the internet. For individuals, the account is free. Go to this page to create an account. The Pro account provides access to more advanced features.
What advantage compared to Octoprint?
- Faster slicing
- Printer preset. AstroPrint has worked with many manufacturers of 3D printers to make its solution compatible
- Remote file management. Once downloaded to the AstroPrint servers, it is possible to prepare the print files from anywhere
- No skill required. Emphasis has been placed on simplicity of use to make 3D printing accessible to beginners
- Automatic Updates.
- Plug & Play with Cura and Slic3r
- Mobile application (in preparation) for iOS and Android
As AstroPrint is positioned as a universal gateway, a large part of the work has been to make the solution compatible with the major 3D printers on the market. The list updated regularly is available here. Here is an excerpt from compatible printers. Some are not yet certified.
- Airwolf3D (all models)
- Anet (all models)
- BQ (Hephestos, Hephestos 2 and Prusa i3)
AstroPrint recommends FlashForge’s Creator Pro, Lulzbot Mini or Taz 6.
If your printer is not in the list, there is hope because Astro Print supports the main existing firmware (Marlin, Repetier, Sailfish).
Who uses the Astrobox Touch?
Until now, it was necessary to make its own gateway from a Raspberry Pi or a pcDuino. This is the function that the AstroBox Touch fulfills. The pcDuino is abandoned in passing. The main features of the AstroBox Touch are:
- Based on a Raspberry Pi 3
- Touch screen 3.5 ” (480 x 320 pixels)
- AstroPrint software preloaded on SD card
- It is possible to connect a USB camera to follow real-time printing remotely. Several models are compatible (RockSoul, Logitech C920, Logitech C615, Playstation Eye, Ausdom 720P, Trust WB-1400T). The complete list can be found here.
The AstroBox plugs into the 3D printer and connects the AstroPrint server with the 3D printing software or the smartphone.
If you do not need a touchscreen, you can still build your box yourself by downloading the image here.
The AstroPrint solution is still a project under development. The software is still in development but more than 500,000 hours of 3D printing have already been carried out by more than 23,000 users.