Using a Chrome Book with STL files?

This isn’t exactly a Lulzbot hardware related issue, but I’m hoping someone can help me, or at least point me in the right direction.

The elementary school I am working with would like to use some of their Chromebooks for the kids to design their projects. They are mainly using TinkerCad at this point, which is web-based software. They can run TinkerCad with no problems. The problem comes when they try to “Download for 3D Printing”. For some reason, the Chromebook will not let them save the STL file.

We believe this is because the school district’s tech support took all the Chromebooks when they were new and locked them down, preventing all but certain kinds of uses and access. (The intent is understandable for a school computer.) When the teacher sent a request for them to unlock access for STL files so they could use the Chromebooks with their 3D printer, they response she got back (along with an indication that tech support considered the status of this issue was “Complete”)

  • Action Taken: (U) We do not use either Tinkercad or STL file. But it appears that Tinkercad requires the STL to be imported in it in order to use the file. Here is a youtube video discussing the process. Your best bet would be to use a thumb drive to load the STL files…

These guys tend to be in the “Is it plugged in?” category of tech support. However, even given that, they seem to be playing dumb on this one, since the request clearly indicated that the Chromebook was preventing us from putting an STL file on the computer in the first place (whether downloaded or transferred via thumbdrive).

I have ZERO experience with a Chromebook. Before I push too hard on these guys, is ANYONE able to work with STL files on a Chromebook? We’ve been working on the assumption that our problem is being caused by the restrictions the school’s tech guys put on the schools Chromebooks, and not some limitation on ALL Chromebooks. It would be nice for some clarity on that before we really start butting heads.

I don’t have a chromebook, but this might help.
Can they upload to thingiverse and then have the teacher download it with a desktop or laptop machine that has permission to access these files?
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This will reduce the privacy of their design probably, but it may be a workaround.

Thanks for the quick response. What they are currently doing is just designing in TinkerCad on the Chromebooks, and then logging on to their Tinkercad account on the Laptop that is controlling the LB Mini printer, “Downloading for 3D Printing” from there, then loading the file into Cura. This can be iffy, since the laptop is very old and doesn’t run Tinkercad reliably. When that doesn’t work, they have to get on a third computer that can both run Tinkercad and allows STL files. They save the STL file there, then copy to a thumbdrive (we haven’t figured out how to get Tinkercad to save it directly to a thumb drive - it always want to go to the downloads folder on the computer), then bring the thumb drive to the laptop controlling the Mini.

The upload to Thingiverse may work better. We’ll see if the ancient laptop controlling the Mini can access that more reliably than it can Tinkercad. That would minimize the need for a third computer and resorting to Sneakernet to deliver the files to the printer (The kids looked at me blankly when I first used the term “sneakernet”. Hard for them to imagine a time when all of this stuff wasn’t connected.)

Hoping we can get things to work directly with the Chromebook, since they could use that to put the STL files on a classroom-wide Google Drive that can be seen by Cura on the Mini’s laptop. We’re trying to keep as much of the load and time off the laptop controlling the Mini - it’s already the bottle neck, so when they are cranking on this stuff, we want that laptop almost dedicated to Cura: they get everything teed up on one of the other computers come to Cura, click the “Load model” button, set options and go.

Have you considered hooking the printer up to a raspberrry pi and running AstroPrint?

https://www.astroprint.com/


–Good luck

Zoltan -

I think I’d still have the problem of how to make the STL file available. The kids mainly have access to Chromebooks. The Chromebooks won’t let me do anything with an STL file - I can’t create one from TinkerCad, either saved onto the Chromebook, or onto an external drive.

Strangely, the Chromebooks suddenly started letting the kids save their STL files from TinkerCad onto the classroom’s Google Drive. I have no idea what changed, but something certainly did. It’s nice not having to do the cumbersome work-around.

The Mini is working very reliably for them at this point, and a good number of the kids are able to design and print their stuff without intervention from me or the teacher.