Currently 3D printing isn’t nearly as easy or as fun as it needs to be in order to catch on, but Formlabs is trying to change that. At CES 2014, the company released PreForm 1.0, an updated and simplified version of its beta software that’s been available for its Form 1 3D printer. Aside from getting a complete UI overhaul, PreForm 1.0 now supports OBJ files, letting users take SketchUp models and make them 3D-printer ready. They’ve also added “quick release tabs,” which make it much easier and faster for you to remove models from the printer when they’re finished.
These updates are all working toward Formlabs’ ultimate goal of making 3D printing software almost obsolete. Eventually Formlabs wants to create “1-click 3D printing,” which would make printing a 3D model as easy as printing a 2D photo. It’s a huge goal because currently 3D printing hardware and software is not necessarily easily understood by consumers, and the company is taking steps to make it easier.
Formlabs is also trying to ease the blow of paying $3,299 for its Form 1 printer by accepting Bitcoin payments at its online store. It’s certainly a nice touch even if it is a predictable one, as all kinds of companies start accepting the digital currency, but it’s another step toward the company’s larger goal of making 3D printing something consumers want to do, and more importantly, something consumers feel like they should be a part of.