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Microsoft Plus Raspberry Pi Equals Network 3D Printer

network 3d printer

The New Network 3D Printer app from Microsoft can upgrade your 3D printer with wireless connectivity using a Raspberry Pi.

Have you ever needed to start a 3D printing job, but you’re nowhere near the printer? What if the printer is right in front of you, but not hooked up to the computer? Making technology communicate with each other can be a hugely frustrating experience, and that includes 3D printers.

This new app from Microsoft hopes to simplify the process, by allowing 3D printers to receive print jobs wirelessly using a Raspberry Pi. Open source devotees have long been able to do the same using Octoprint, but this is a significant attempt by the Redmond Giant to align 3D printing with the Internet of Things.

The new Windows 10 IoT Core app — aptly named “Network 3D Printer” — can connect Windows 10 computers to 3D printers wirelessly. It can also be connected to multiple Windows 10 computers on the same network.

The program already supports over a dozen popular desktop 3D printers, including Lulzbot Taz 6, Makergear M2, Prusa i3 and i3 Mk2, and the complete range from Ultimaker and Printrbot. Microsoft is also soliciting suggestions to add more in the future.

Network 3D Printer on Raspberry Pi and More

To make it happen, all the user needs is a liliputer board like Raspberry Pi loaded with Windows 10 IoT Core.

Next, the board is connected to a 3D printer with a USB cable. Once the “Network 3D Printer” program is opened, users can locate and add their 3D printer.

Ta-dah! The printer will now behave exactly as if it were hooked up to the computer. It’s that simple.

The small Raspberry Pi should save a lot of makers a lot of hassle just by making it easy to manage and maintain a 3D printer wirelessly, and provide access to multiple users.

And if your machine isn’t listed as one of those cleared for use with the Network 3D Printer app, don’t fret. As we mentioned, Microsoft is taking suggestions for printers that should be added to the support list, and you can write them directly here: ask3dprint@microsoft.com.

network 3d printer