Contrary to popular belief, Chromebooks can be used to effectively 3D print models of your choice. As long as you have slicing software on your Chromebook you will be able to carry out this process without any confusing complications.
While there is a wider variety of slicing software available for regular laptops that use more popular operating systems such as Windows, the few pieces of software that are compatible with Chromebooks are very high quality meaning this is not an issue.
The Basics Of 3D Printing
If you are new to the world of 3D printing it may be helpful to understand the steps followed in 3D printing. While these steps may vary between models, these are the basic steps followed for most models.
Step One: Create an STL file of the model or object you want to 3D print.
Step Two: Download the STL file and load it into the slicer software on your Chromebook. The slicer software allows you to make any necessary adjustments to the machine’s parameters and settings and also gives an estimate for how long it will take to print your model.
Step Three: After the STL file has been “sliced” in the slicer software the file needs to be uploaded to your 3D printer. This can be done using a USB, an ethernet connection, an SD card, or with some models you can send the file via Wi-Fi.
Step Four: After the file has been sent to the printer 3D printing should commence.
Step Five: When the model has been completed, gently remove it from the build plate on your machine and move onto the post-processing stage. The post-processing stage is when the model is usually sanded to remove any imperfections before priming and painting to complete the finished look.
Now that you understand the basics of 3D printing, let’s get onto the 3D printers that are compatible with Chromebooks.
What 3D Printers Are Compatible With A Chromebook
It is less about what printers are compatible with Chromebooks and more about what slicing software you have installed as these are the means that your files are prepared and also what is used to communicate with your 3D printer.
In the next section, we outline two amazing slicing softwares that are compatible with Chromebook and that will give you the ability to work with a huge array of 3D printers. The following list of three printers ranges in price and sophistication.
Each printer can be operated alongside a Chromebook if you are operating through the Cura slicer software or the web-based AstroPrint software.
The perfect printer for home use and especially for beginners. This printer has the lowest price point on this list, with a starting price point of $1,250.00.
This 3D printer has been designed to work out of the box, meaning there is no complicated assembly process. This machine can produce models using a range of materials.
A reliable, fast printer that is suitable for at-home use, professional use, and also suitable for use in an education setting.
The price for a Makerbot Replicator 2 usually starts at $2,099.00, depending on the seller. This is an updated model and the manufacturer has made this machine 30% faster and easier to use than its predecessor.
This printer is for more advanced 3D printing and has been designed to be used by professionals in engineering, architecture, and medical fields. The typical price point for this 3D printer is $3,499.00 making it a more expensive choice in this list.
This machine is extremely durable as it is high-temperature resistant and corrosion-resistant. Even though it may seem expensive you are getting a long-lasting product by investing in this printer.
Two Amazing Slicing Softwares For Chromebooks
As we spoke about in the previous section, the slicing software you use is of the utmost importance when 3D printing.
There are two main software that works best on Chromebook and also open up the number of printers you can purchase and use. Both of these software’s are explained below.
Ultimaker Cura Slicer
Ultimaker Cura Slicer is the undisputed number one software in the world of 3D printing. Its compatibility with different types of 3D Printers and operating systems make it a favorite as well as its widespread availability.
This software supports files in a range of formats, from STL to the more atypical 3MF. It is user-friendly for people of all levels of experience. The installation process can be lengthy but it is worth it to have such fantastic software, capable of linking your Chromebook to a range of 3D printers.
This high-quality web-based software is extremely popular amongst Chromebook users. It is a suite of products that give you the tools to manage your 3D printer remotely as well as edit your designs with the build plate STL viewer app.
There is also a way to connect the software to your printer over a wireless connection, making the 3D printing process even simpler. All of the basic features are free and there is no lengthy installation with this web-based software.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A 3D Printer?
A 3D printer is a machine that has the ability to print 3D models, unlike traditional printers which print directly onto sheets of paper.
Can You Use A 3D Printer With A Chromebook?
Yes, by downloading slicer software, such as Cura, you can slice files which can then be put onto a memory stick and transferred to your 3D printer.
If you would rather not use space on your Chromebook by downloading software you can also use browser-based services such as AstroPrint or OctoPrint. The browser-based software allows you to slice STL files online and feed them to your 3D printer.
What Is The Difference Between A Laptop And A Chromebook?
There is one main difference between laptops and Chromebooks which is the operating systems that they use. Laptops use popular operating systems such as Windows, whereas Chromebooks run on web-based Chrome OS.
This operating program is essentially a skinned version of the internet browser Google Chrome with some added functionalities.