BeAMing Up to the Cloud

New operating system will allow students to 3D print from anywhere

A student uses a 3D printer

New operating system will allow students to 3D print from anywhere

BeAM — UNC’s makerspace network — has rolled out 3DPrinterOS, a remote printer operating system that will allow makers to print from anywhere on campus.

The College of Arts and Sciences caught up with Kristen O’Connor, technical supervisor of BeAM’s Carmichael Residence Hall location, to learn more about this system and other updates, including a fee-by-weight system that is estimated to be implemented by spring 2023.

“With 3DPrinterOS, makers can print remotely through the web and no longer have to be physically present in our makerspaces to start a 3D print,” said O’Connor. “Previously, all prints were started using a USB drive inserted directly into the printers, and now we will no longer support USB printing. Makers will, however, still need to come pick up prints in-person at the correct location.”

O’Connor also remarked on the new fee system that will be implemented by spring 2023, where there will be a small fee per gram of filament used. This system aims to cut down filament waste. However, through a gift from Eastman Chemical, all users will have a free allotment of filament.

3DPrinterOS is made possible through generous funding from CFE Lenovo.

“It’s been fun watching more experienced staff and makers use this system because it is so different from how 3D printing has traditionally been done at BeAM,” continued O’Connor. “In many ways, it’s much easier to use, so I’m excited to see more people using it during the fall semester.”

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