Markforged 3D Printers Offer Automatic Legacy Hardware Improvements
Markforged follows a software-first approach to additive manufacturing which offers a series of benefits over thinking of 3D printing as a purely hardware endeavor. With a software-first approach, product improvement doesn’t stop when the hardware leaves the factory, even for legacy equipment. Hardware is intentionally built to be flexible and adaptable to new software and standardized so it can exist on a common platform with room to grow. Coupled with the Cloud-Based* Eiger slicing and management software, this software-first approach opens up several exciting possibilities.
Markforged releases regular machine software updates over-the-air to all equipment and to the Eiger software in the same way your computer’s operating system or your phone receives regular updates. Machine updates prompt the user to download and install them when ready, with Eiger software being updated automatically on the cloud*. You can review the highlights of each update in the published Release Notes, but luckily, you don’t need to read some boring programmer notes to get a huge benefit! Many of the improvements are automatically applied when the part is sliced and provide better quality results and faster cycle times using the exact same user workflow. Your users and your hardware will naturally get faster and more efficient over time! New options will display a checkbox or option in the user interface with tooltips to explain what it does and how it can benefit the user.
Here are a few examples of improvements that were released as software updates in just the year of 2020 that expanded the performance of hardware that had already left the factory, in some cases years ago:
Another benefit of a software-first approach is the ability to gather aggregate user data and quickly share enhancements across all devices in the form of better algorithms. Feedback from users and even scan data from the machines themselves are fed into an artificial intelligence engine called Blacksmith that learns from that feedback to constantly enhance accuracy and quality. Input from every user feeds into improved quality and performance of every user and machine on the platform.
With standardized equipment and regular manufacturer updates, the need for experimentation is virtually eliminated. Developers at Markforged are hard at work tweaking settings and making improvements that can be sent directly to your machine as soon as they are done. New features suggested by the community continue to keep improving the machines and we can all learn together. With Markforged printers, you can expect your hardware investment to grow in value to your organization over time, which is a very unique and exciting feature for hardware!
*Note: Partially or fully offline solutions are available where needed, such as military applications. In these scenarios the updates are less frequent but the environment can be more secure.
About the author
While Marcus has been a SOLIDWORKS Applications Expert with MLC CAD Systems for over a decade, his knowledge extends into all 3 product lines MLC offers. More than once, he has held the prestigious title of the world’s most certified SOLIDWORKS AE. He actively supports the user group community and is known for his improv comedy tips and tricks session. Connect with Marcus on Twitter to discuss your project.