Embodying the next generation of intuitive and streamlined 3D printing software, 3DSPRINT by industry leader 3D Systems is bridging the gap between 3D designers and manufacturers, one optimized print job after another. After months of extensive beta testing, we’re taking a look at all that the new 3DSPRINT Connect has to offer for 3D printing businesses and individuals alike.
3D Software: The Heart of 3D Printing
When evaluating a new 3D printer, so much emphasis is placed on its visual or technological assets: hardware, building materials, speed, resolution and size are the first characteristics checked off the list, while the question of its software is left to the end. Yet if machinery and hardware are the 3D printer’s muscle, then 3D printing software is its beating heart, steadily powering, optimizing and coordinating your most important print jobs.
Unfortunately, many 3D printing software packages require extensive technological skill and product knowledge. Preparing a 3D print file involves analyzing and repairing errors, creating support structures, assigning colors, textures and materials, and even selecting an optimal print layout to maximize print speed and efficiency. 3D printing software is also critical for managing and sharing job queues when multiple 3D printers are in use, and when multiple team members are involved.
If the software in question isn’t intuitive, or if it has a steep learning curve, then a gap is created between designers and manufacturers, slowing and damaging the 3D print workflow.
Always on top of the game, industry leader 3D Systems has developed nothing short of an innovative, all-in-one client application with the new 3DSPRINT Connect.
From Print Setup to Print Queue
First and foremost, 3DSPRINT works to streamline the design-to-manufacture workflow across a range of ProJet 3D printers and 3D printing technologies, including the ProJet 1200, MJP 2500, MJP 2500 Plus, MJP 5500X, and soon, the MJP 3600 and CJP (ColorJet Printing) models as well.
The 3D printing software is divided into two distinct modes: Print Setup and Print Queue. In Print Setup, users upload their 3D model files, connect their selected 3D printers, and preview the 3D file. Right away, 3DSPRINT Connect’s powerful editing tools become apparent.
In addition to being able to execute a detailed printability analysis—catching ruinous print errors before they happen—users can perform a series of complex operations, including but not limited to:
- Subdivisions and Splits
- Hollowing bulk objects to reduce material consumption and waste
- Boolean operations
Designers can also choose fonts for a written message, apply textures, and color entire objects or just individual surfaces. For multi-material 3D printing, as with the ProJet 5500X, users can assign various degrees of elasticity to different parts of a single 3D print. Because 3DSPRINT was designed to work across a range of 3D printing technologies, from SLA to MJP, CJP and SLS, the software includes various features that are specific to each.
Next up in the Print Setup mode is to simulate the 3D print. 3DSPRINT automatically generates a build time and material estimate, while the Auto Place function places part files on the printing platform in the most optimal layout for the selected 3D printer.
At this point, users will have an optimized, printable 3D file, meaning it’s time to move into the Print Queue, which seamlessly manages all connected printers within a company’s network.
When a print job is sent to the 3D printer, 3DSPRINT’s Print Queue Agent saves all information to the hard drive, ensuring that the data can always be restored. The Print Queue is also updated every 10 minutes, and stays connected to the 3D printer even if 3DSPRINT is closed.
No More Guesswork
One of the greatest aspects of 3DSPRINT, initially released in 2014, is that it eliminates the guesswork, allowing designers and manufacturers to focus on what matters. For example, once you’ve selected which machine you will be working with, the 3D printing software automatically provides the relevant information, including the printer’s status, and the quantity and type of material.
Similarly, its cloud-based, multi-machine management means users don’t have to worry about numerous file transfers, outdated versions, or complicated time-management. Instead, teams can work together across different machines and different projects, anytime and from anywhere.
Fast, simple, and connected, 3DSPRINT 3D printing software is an ambitious product by 3D Systems, and its latest iteration, 3DSPRINT Connect, is sure to impress.
“I had a great job to prepare for the ProJet MJP 2500, the software thinks very well in terms of optimization of the times and spaces, there are of course all guidance commands and scaling manuals but I was amazed his ability to frame the forms for make the most of the space, even inserting small pieces into the cavities of the big ones.”
“3DSPrint’s intuitive interface particularly excites me, as it is really nice from the graphical point of view. For the first time a printer management software (here a whole family) allows you to have all the optimization tools to the press that, to date, it had to buy from third parties.”
The 3D Systems family of professional 3D printers has been leading the industry for decades, providing an outstanding benchmark for production-grade manufacturing in everything from aerospace to custom medical devices. Yet it’s always worth remembering the beating heart of if all: 3D printing software solutions, including 3D System’s sleek and sophisticated 3DSPRINT Connect.