So far, all of the 3D printers that have been reviewed on this blog require you to design or download a 3D object on your computer, and print it from an SD card. But thanks to OctoPrint software and cheap ARM Linux developments boards, it has become possible to add a Linux computer with webcam to remotely start and control the 3D printer for a few dozens dollars. Karl has even released an OctoPrint image for Orange Pi Lite board.
Voladd 3D printer already embeds a Linux board, namely the BeagleBone Black running Debian, which allows the 3D printer to be easy to use since no software installation is required. You can start printing by selecting an object in a web browser or an app in your smartphone, and they’ve also taken steps to eliminate/reduce maintenance tasks, such as the inclusion of a filament cartridge.
- Internal computer – BeagleBone Black based on TI AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor
- Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and NFC; MQTT protocol supported
- Print area – 175 x 125 x 150 mm (xyz)
- Printing plate – Surface treated, removable, and adjustable with 3 rollers; optional glass platform
- Print head – 0.2 (coming next year), 0.4 or 0.6 mm
- Noise attenuated fans
- Misc – On/off button, switch dial for cartridge, LEDs for connectivity status, general status, server interaction and head heating.
- Power Supply – 100-240V @ 50/60 Hz
- Dimensions – 29 x 40 x 29 cm (xyz)
- Weight – 4.5 kg
- Certifications – CE, EAC
Voladd 3D printer will ship with a Cartridge with 420 grams of white filament, the printing base, , a quick start guide and warranty. Voladd Cartridges, made of biodegradable, recyclable, and plant-based PLA bioplastic, come in 7 possible colors (20 colors planned for next year), and it appears you can’t just buy filament from anywhere for a refill. So if I understand correctly, you’ll be tied to the company for both the cloud service and filament. But if it really works as advertised: no assembly, no manual calibration, no jamming, no cleaning, etc…,just select an object to print online, it could be a good option for people that just want something that works…
The company also explains the 3D printer will save you money in the long run, it’s good for the environment (no factory, no transportation, biodegradable materials..), secure (AES/TLS), sharable with friends, and Voladd Cloud also include support for the creation of simple objects like personalized signs.
They’ve also provided a tablet comparing Voladd to more typical and harder to use 3D printers.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.