There are times when only hard copy will do but anyone who has tried to print from a tablet will know that it’s not always easy. The main ecosystems from Apple and Google have their own printer strategies with AirPrint and Cloud Print respectively but support is spotty at best. Several printer manufacturers have gone so far as to create their own printer app which really is a pretty poor state of affairs.
Into this gap steps Lantronix with their xPrintServer Cloud Print Edition, the first Google-certified Cloud Print server which lets Android and ChromeOS devices print wirelessly to network and USB printers. Sweet.
The unit is about the size of a smartphone and requires no additional software downloads or printer drivers. It’s simply a case of connecting the device to the network and it automatically finds the printers on the network, making them available to users. The xPrintServer Cloud Print Edition supports any device running Google’s Chrome browser, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, PC or laptop. Apparently there are over 310 million active users of Chrome, so that’s quite a few people who might want to print. Business users of Google Apps are supported too. Details of the printers supported are available from Lantronix’s website.
This new xPrintServer joins the existing Home and Office Editions which provide print services for iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
The Cloud Print Edition sells for an MSRP of US$149.95 and will ship at the end of February 2014. Pre-orders are being taken now and potential customers can sign up at lantronix.com for more information and availability. Of course, if you are at CES, you can pop round to their stand for a quick demo.
Staples announced that it has become the first major retailer in the United States to sell 3D printers. Those of you who have become interested in getting your very own 3D printer won’t have to wait too much longer to purchase one from Staples.
Staples will begin offering a limited number of The Cube 3D Printer from 3D Systems by the end of June of this year. The Staples website has the price set at $1,299.99. It comes in five different colors: magenta, blue, green, silver, and white. The announcement includes the following details about the 3D printer:
The Cube 3D Printer, ready to use right out of the box, features Wi-Fi, is compatible with Mac or Windows, and comes with 25 free 3D templates designed by professional artists, with additional templates available online.
…The Cube 3D Printer can print items up to 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5”, using material cartridges in 16 different colors including metallic silver, glow in the dark, and vibrant and neutral colors. Users can either print from a template or create a design using Cube’s own software, Cubify Invent, sold separately. Staples makes printing with the Cube easy, by offering all of the essential accessories, including recyclable ABS and compostable PLA plastic cartridge refills, replenishment Cube Sticks, which are used to stabilize the object being printed, and replacement Cube Print Pads.
Formlabs is introducing a 3D printer for the pro-consumer market. Unlike most consumer 3D printers this printer uses Stereolithography. The process uses Formlabs resin which is cured by UV laser. The laser traces out a cross-section which then hardens and each layer is built upon the lower layer. The item is printed upside down, so if you are printing the Eiffel Tower the base is printed first. Most other 3D printers use the plastic extrusion method, where plastic is melted and formed, which is less accurate. Stereolithography allows precise details to be printed. Each layer is about 25 micro thick and you can print about 1.5 centimeters per hour on average.
The Formlabs 1 software works with an STL file from any CAD package. The program allows you to rotate, scale and move parts around. You can print multiple pieces at once from different models. The Form1 printer is available for preorder for $3299, which includes the printer, the software, one liter of grey resin and a finishing kit.
Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.
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