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Part 10: Maintaining & Supporting 3D Printing

Does investing in new technology increase the pressure on your IT Administrator?
It used to be that administrating and managing your school or university’s printer fleet was a complex, time consuming and costly task. From installing the application, adding devices and users, through to the ongoing management. Print management changed all that and the same print management solution can be used on new technology you bring into the classroom – like 3D printers – if you find the right print management solution.
Use this simple guide to help you find your perfect 3D print management solution which will aid in your long-term maintenance and support of 3D printing in your school.
Managing secure access
Ensuring that access to 3D printers is secure accomplishes two things: Ensures that only students who need access for school projects are using the 3D printers and protecting these students’ projects. Look for a print management solution that offers secure access through identity authentication via ID badges, PIN, username/password or a combination of these. With secure access management, your students’ projects are safely locked in the 3D printer device until the user authenticates at the device. This also gives you greater flexibility on where you locate your 3D printers because you don’t have to manually police them.
Research shows that nearly 90 percent of schools with printers restrict student access due to an inability to manage costs. A pay-for-print feature enables you to charge users or departments for their 3D printing. If students or departments are charged for printing they will take greater responsibility regarding the cost of their 3D printing projects, ensuring to minimize costs. Pay-for-print services also enables you to recover some or all the upfront 3D printing costs. 
From an administrative perspective, pay-for-print services should be supported with easy tools to manage student/faculty accounts, let them top of their account with additional funds on their own and enable you to manage refunds when necessary.
If you are not going to pass the cost of printing onto students and users, then managing costs is even more vital. It is essential to invest in a print management solution that offers you in-depth usage reporting. Look for an administrator dashboard and user interface that has easy access to reporting tools. The reports should provide a comprehensive fact-based overview, allowing you to easily manage your 2D and 3D print environment saving you time and effort. Reports should be automatically scheduled or on demand, customizable and allow you to get to the granular level for each print job on each printer.
2D & 3D print management
Managing your print fleet from multiple interfaces adds unnecessary complexity. Look for a print management solution that enables you to manage your entire print fleet from one interface. This will save you time and prevent your IT administrator from having to learn how to navigate multiple interfaces.
User friendly IT interface
A fully featured print management solution is paramount but so is the IT Administrator’s user experience. Look for a solution that enables your IT administrator to easily install and add users and devices. A simple, intuitive management interface saves valuable time, releasing your team from administrative tasks to focus on activities that enhance the educational experience.

Learn more about 3D Printing in Education
Introducing 3D Printing into the Classroom is a series of articles designed to help educators and IT administrators in education understand 3D printing. This series covers topics including how 3D printing can enhance the learning experience, the associated costs and the considerations for creating and managing a 3D printing ecosystem. In Part 11, we discuss “Expanding Your 3D Environment”.
Part 9: Building a Curriculum around 3D printing
Part 8: Desiging for 3D printing
Part 7: Successfully introducing 3D printing into your school
Part 6: Finding your perfect 3D solution
Part 5: Creating the right physical environment for 3D printing in Education
Part 4: Building a business case for a 3D printer
Part 3: How much does 3D printing cost?
Part 2: How do you know if you need a 3D printer for your classroom?
Part 1: What is 3D printing and what are the benefits for education?

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