The most exciting 3D print-related crowd-funding campaign to come down the pipeline this week is that of Activ8. A touchscreen, handheld device loaded with cutting edge applications and features, it connects directly to any Rep Rap based printer, allowing the user to operate, manage and monitor their device with intuitive ease and rapid speed.
The brainchild of UK engineer Justin Carpenter, Activ8 began development as the front panel for a printer he and his team were building. They quickly realised that it was powerful and versatile enough to work as its own device. It would simplify the entire process, as users would not need to physically attach their printer to a PC or laptop. They also realised, however, that they needed funding to finish the design, ensure its compatibility and support the first production run.
So, after a number of prototype runs, they turned to Kickstarter, with the launch of a £35,000 campaign yesterday.
The device itself comes with an easy-to-use customised Operating System and a cutting edge suite of applications, giving you access to a dizzying menu of tools, including the team’s own customised version of Pronterface, a Repetier Server, RepG, Slic3r, Cura, Skienforge, Octorprint, Meshlab, an integrated web browser, a virtual keyboard and a wireless, physical keyboard.
The key for Carpenter is that the Activ8 will be easy enough to use for the fresh-faced beginner but also powerful and versatile enough for the experienced maker. He says:
We have included Active 3D’s custom Pronterface, which incorporates Slic3r with a .STL and .Gcode viewer and Plater. We’ve also included applications such as Skeinforge, Cura and Meshlab, to give the most experienced enthusiasts the highest level of control over their 3D printer.
Sound like something you could use in your print lab? Then sign up on the Kickstarter page here. For a pledge of £300 you can snap up your very own Activ8 at a 50 quid discount. Once the campaign wraps up, all software for the system will be available open sourced.