Like most other things these days, digital fabrication is disconnecting from your computer and leaving it for the Cloud. The concept of it is fairly simple: connect a dongle to your 3D Printer and enable the user to control it using an online platform for printing, content creation and sharing, among others.

This is exactly what Dutch Startup Printr’s vision is, and after two years in development, they have launched their product, the Element, on Kickstarter.

The design team at Printr has set up the Element ecosystem so that it will operate off of their FormideOS, which will enable developers to create their own apps for users to buy and use with their own 3D Printers. This is very interesting, and if we understand this correctly, works with a variety of 3D file formats. For those with more skills than others, Javascript plugins or using Printr REST API can be leveraged to produce your own apps, letting ‘users print directly from your app.’ Whoever said content had to be just one static model is soooo 2014.

Compared to existing Cloud solutions for 3D Printing, Printr appears to offer a killer package but – at least yet – no hard evidence.

Platforms like this could change the game, turning printers into platforms unlike Android or iOS. That is the promise of Autodesk Spark. Amongst the 3D Printing users I connected with for comment, the most favored feature was iPhone-controlled printing, which, when combined with a camera, offered the chance to check up and end prints if they fail remotely. I started using Octoprint specifically for this purpose as well (albeit was a bit troublesome).


The whole ecosystem surrounding the Element has been developed by an experienced team; Printr boasts of an aggressive schedule to deliver Element by at least July 2015, covering a huge number to-dos including DFM and certifications by May. Amongst other goals, Printr offered up Blender and Sketchup plugins as offers if the campaign hits €275,000, which excites me greatly. The FAQ is detailed and offers some insights into Printr’s plans, promising to Open Source their software later in the year. The Element will be capable of working offline too, which might be useful in places where bandwidth is expensive or non-existent.


For those interested, Printr’s campaign ends on Friday, February 27 2015. At the moment, €75 gets you the ‘butt naked’ version (i.e. no packaging) and €85 gets you the ‘Super Early Bird’ special. Back it while you can!