Speaking of getting lots of printers in a room, here’s how Ultimaker tackled the challenging problem of rigging up a huge cluster of printers for an upcoming pop-up store display in NYC this holiday season: the staff needed an easy way to start the machines, so they built a tool to control all of them from a phone! As the novelty of the single printer wears off and the excitement of rigging up a factory’s worth of the machines enters the scene, there will be lots and lots of projects like these in the future.
I started using the term “botfarm” back in early 2010 when initially an intern for MakerBot because of my experience with “render farms” from motion graphics and animation projects. The networking engineering challenges to link the efforts of these desktop printer units together and automate how they participate collectively reminds me of the challenges of chaining desktop PCs — and projects like this excellent one from Ultimaker will be popping up more and more regularly for those working with DIY 3D printer, mills, and pick-and-place machines — I suspect we are going to see cooler and cooler projects out there in the world breaking out of the single-machine-single-computer arrangement that has dominated since the start of the RepRap movement in 2007. And I think there is a lot to learn from past discoveries from homebrew render farm practices from the past decade!
For joining a monthlong holiday 3D printing pop up in New York, Ultimaker prepared an automated wall. In the video below Joris van Tubergen controlled the multiple Ultimaker 3D printers using a WiFi module in a smartphone. Pretty awesome!
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!