Octoprimt is a free 3d Printing software with a web interface that allows remote controlling of a 3D printer connected to a web server. However, it has many more features and plug-ins you can use. Depending on your circumstances, Octoprint can become a real game-changer.
So is Octoprint worth it?
Octoprint gives you the ability to monitor ongoing prints remotely. Creating time-lapse videos, send G-codes, detecting failed parts, and uploading programs are other features of Octoprint. In most cases, Using Octoprint is worth the effort.
Even though the software is open-source and free, It needs a computer or mini-computer, a camera, and some accessories to work. So you may need to buy some stuff. On the other hand, Octoprint has cool features and free plug-ins that may save you some time, filament, and money more than you’d think.
What does it need and how much does it cost?
Octoprint can work on different operating systems and use various cameras. The camera is not necessary if you want to send files to the printer. However, a typical setup for a user consists of the items in the table below:
|Raspberry Pi 3 B+||1||79|
|Raspberry Pi camera||1||23|
|Raspberry Pi camera cable||1||5|
|Raspberry Pi power supply||1||10|
|MicroSD card, 32GB||1||7|
|MicroSD card reader||1||13|
|Mini UBB to USB cable||1||6|
Note: Prices are from various Amazon sellers. Here the total cost is $143 though it can differ depending on where and when you buy them.
You can also use your computer instead of Raspberry Pi. However, separating the computer from the 3D printer is one of the best benefits of Octoprint. So the print won’t fail due to the misfunction of the computer.
Octoprint can also use other cameras; however, the Raspberry Pi camera is easy to use and compatible with the Raspberry Pi. It also has acceptable video quality. Although, you can use high-quality cameras like Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 (As you all know, it’s expensive!).
You need to write an OctoPi image, a raspberrian program, to your MicroSD card. It’s under 1GB though the card should have free space for G-codes too. G-code commands are simple text commands, but each program can have thousands of them, so it’s safe to have more space.
If you use small, simple geometries, then a 4GB MicroSD card may be enough. However, printing commands for complex surfaces consist of many code lines, and thus you may require more space.
Benefits of using Octoprint
(image by robmiles.com)
Stop failed 3D prints from anywhere
Spaghetti Detective, an Octoprint plug-in to monitor and stop failed prints, is probably the software’s best trait. Spaghetti refers to a failed print that is still wasting filaments, thus shaping them like spaghetti!
Using the camera and powerful image processing libraries of Python, this plug-in can easily detect spaghetti filaments and warn you or stop the print automatically.
This way, you can stop worrying about your ongoing print and manage it through the internet, whenever you are.
Spaghetti Detective can also work with phone devices and provide secure remote access without opening your home network to anonymous people on the internet.
This feature alone can save you a lot of time and money and make Octoprint worth it.
Suppose you are on a bus designing a 3D model on a Tablet. After the designing process, you can slice the model, configure the printer settings, send it to the printer in your home, and start printing. With the help of cloud slicing plug-ins, it’s easily done.
Cloud slicing helps you slice 3D models without using an installed software on your computer. This feature can use both Cura and Sli3r engine settings.
As we mentioned before, the software installed on the Raspberry Pi can use Raspberry Pi’s wireless capabilities and get commands from a server.
This way, you don’t need to pull out the SD card and insert it again each time you want to print new objects.
This job can be done using a local network so that your connection safety is assured. (No one can access your valuable data!)
G-Code Viewer Tab
If you don’t want to invest in a webcam, you can still use Octoprint and monitor the printing process through the G-code viewer tab on the software. It’s also a visual educational resource of how the machine works.
This feature shows the current G-code command, layer number, and the nozzle’s exact position, live. This way, you will get some unique information that even a webcam cannot provide.
Octolapse is another cool plug-in of Octoprint which allows you to create timelapse videos of the printing process.
With a camera connected to the Raspberry Pi and Octoprint, you can produce perfect timelapse videos of your 3D printing process.
As you use it and get experienced with it, you will produce better results. You can calibrate the snapshot interval and frame rate to get simple yet beautiful results. Also, there are more options to use for passionate enthusiasts.
Octoprint stores the videos on the Raspberry, and you can also download them online.
A Timelapse video is a great way to show off the 3D printing art! You can then upload the produced videos on your social or business accounts.
Multiple 3D Printer Control, OctoFarm
Monitoring multiple printers can become handy if you work with more than one machine. You can use this feature with just one Raspberry Pi and some webcams.
The feature is available through OctoFarm, another open-source and free plug-in, developed to monitor multiple 3D printers on a Raspberry Pi.
Many developers put their time to improve various aspects of the software. So, every year, developers incorporate new plug-ins that enhance the functionality of the software.
The true power of Octoprint comes from its enthusiastic developers and various plug-ins, so this point should not be underestimated.
What is the best alternative to Octoprint?
AstroPrint is a cloud-based software with the functionality of Octoprint. However, it’s more beginner-friendly and provides straightforward control to the printer through a simple interface.
You can also use Astroprint on a Raspberry Pi through the Astroprint company sells its AstroBox for $200.
However, Astorprint provides simplicity with the cost of limited functionalities. Professional users can do more with Octoprint compared to what they can do with the help of Astroprint.
The only advantages of Astroprint over Octoprint is its simplicity to operate on the interface and multiple device control. However, there are no apparent differences between the two softwares. If you want to choose one, go with Octoprint, it will be worth it after learning to work with the software and its plug-ins.
There are other similar softwares with more specific applications, but none are as popular as Octoprint. They have smaller communities and forums to visit when you encounter a problem.
Octoprint is one of the most popular 3D printer controlling software with many cool features on the side. You can use it to control and monitor your print, create timelapse videos, and automatically shut down the machine in case of failure or probable hazards.
On top of what you read above, using Octoprint can also make your printer work faster and safer. Cheers.