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OctoPrint and a Pi ZeroW is all You Need to Upgrade your 3D Printer!
OctoPrint is an open source software created and maintained by Gina Häußge. It offers a web interface so users can control and monitor their 3D printers from anywhere, any time, from within their browser. It basically turns old computers, and even small ARM boards like the Raspberry Pi, into network-accessible 3D printer control panels, and can even control other hardware like smart plugs, lights, and enclosure heaters.
Hackaday blogger Tom Nardi decided to set up a second 3D printer for large projects, but he realized that he would not be able to control them from the same machine. So, rather than printing from an SD card on the second 3D printer, he went the OctoPrint route, and detailed the experience in a blog post.
First, he purchased a used PrintrBot Play, due to its automatic bed tramming, ability to fit on a shelf, and copious amounts of room in the base for extra hardware, and then bought a $10 Pi Zero W to act as the OctoPrint host.
According to Nardi, it’s very easy to set up OctoPrint, even if you have no prior experience, though he does suggest the pre-made SD OctoPi image if you want to see all of the latest OctoPrint and ancillary packages for Raspberry Pi.
Nardi is admittedly impressed with OctoPrint, due to its “vast” capabilities and convenient ability to monitor 3D print progress from a smartphone. In addition, because the Pi Zero W is so inexpensive, Nardi calls OctoPrint “an upgrade that simply can’t be beat in terms of return on investment.”
“Yes, it’s absolutely worth upgrading your printer to OctoPrint,” Nardi wrote. “It’s not a perfect experience, but it’s very close, and honestly the handful of glitches or annoyances I’ve seen are hardly worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things.”
For further information you can refer to the related Hackaday page.