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How Can I Remotely Control My 3D Printer?

How Can I Remotely Control My 3D Printer?

Staying all day in front of a 3D printer to manually monitor a long printing process can get boring. Besides, there are a couple of other productive things you could lay your hands on during all that time of waiting and punching instructions into the printer. This is why an opportunity to manage a 3D printer remotely is a real deal. It saves you stress and lets you maximize time through effective multitasking.

But how exactly would you be able to physically control your 3D printer, and at how much distance away will remote controlling stay successful?

At What Distance Can You Remotely Control Your 3D Printer?

Sometimes, remote controlling may mean the ability to monitor a system across a specified distance range beyond which control will no longer be possible due to weak signals. But when you think of remote control for 3D printers, think of no limit or boundaries. Most remote controls for 3D printers let you monitor your device from any place and at any time.

What's more? Many applications for remote monitoring come with cameras that let you observe how your printer works in real-time, even though you are not there.

What are the Benefits of Remotely Controlling Your 3D Printer?

If you've come so far, you may already have an idea of the forefront benefits of remotely controlling your 3D printer. But anyone can make do with a little more conviction, so we will highlight those benefits here:

1.    Print on the Go

With a remote control handy, you can 3D print from anywhere, any day, and anytime. Have you ever experienced an emergency need for a 3D printed material? How were you able to go about it? You probably had to abandon all you were doing to set up your printer and monitor the 3D process. That may have disrupted you, and you probably were not able to complete other tasks for that day.

With a 3D printer remote controller, you can consider these struggles as good as forgotten and set up your printer to work even when you are in the bathroom or out to have lunch with friends.

2.    Monitor the Printing Process from Afar

Remote Controls for 3D printers will let you give instructions to your printer on how exactly printing should be done. For example, you can set up a whole new printing process different from the last one you did without having to be close to your printer.

You can also pause or continue the printing process anytime, switch colors, or make other tweaks. In addition, a camera monitoring feature would let you observe how printing is going just so you are sure what you want is what your printer is delivering.

3.    Save Time

A remote 3D printing process is the ultimate time saver. Set up your printer and let it continue the work while you are busy doing other important things. If you have always wondered how to achieve more in such little time, remote control for your 3D printer might be the answer you need.

How Can I Remotely Control my 3D Printer?

Remote controlling your 3D printer can happen in different ways and with different kinds of technology. In this article, we will explore two popular methods for managing your 3D printer remotely.

  1. Use a Remote Desktop
  2. Use a 3D printer remote controlling application or software

Remote Desktop

A remote desktop is an operating system that will allow you to run a system remotely using another system. For example, you can use a remote desktop to control your work computer from your home computer.

You can also use a remote desktop to control your 3D printer, as we are concerned with. A couple of remote desktops would let you do this, but the most popular is the Google Chrome Remote Desktop.

Other types of remote desktops you can use to control your 3D printer are:

  • TeamViewer Remote Control
  • Splashtop
  • RealVNC
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop

All of them are simple to use and possess the same basic features. Only a few developer differences may apply, and these are what may inform your preference for one remote desktop over the other.

Using Google Chrome Remote Desktop for 3D Printing

We will illustrate how to use a remote desktop for 3D printing using the Google Chrome Remote Desktop since it is free. You will get started with printing using the remote controller in two simple steps.

Step 1: Install the Google Chrome Remote Desktop App on your 3D Printer

Using the system that directly controls your 3D printer, install Google chrome remote desktop and follow the prompts.

The software will require you to set up your password and grant permissions for remote controlling. With this, your printer is set to be remotely controlled by any other computer device from anywhere.

Step 2: Connect your Host Computer to Your 3D Printer

This time around, you don’t need to install Google chrome remote desktop on the system that directly controls your 3D printer. Since you are interested in controlling on the go, your host computer does not have to be a desktop or laptop. It could be an android phone, iPad, or any other device whose interface you’ll find conducive for controlling your 3D printer.

To do this, log into chrome using the same Gmail account you used to step up the remote desktop on your printer, and you will find the printer ready to be connected to. The printer will always be available to be connected so long as it is powered on.

Click on the printer, input the same password you used to set up the remote desktop, and you'll find your printer's user interface displaying from your host computer.

The software comes with a panel that lets you control display settings and set up commands you can readily use. With all these set, you are ready to start managing your 3D printer from the host device.

One thing to note when remote controlling a device using a computer is to make sure the computer will not hibernate after being inactive for a while. Hibernating can make connections between the computer and the 3D printer to be lost, and this can make printing stop midway. You just want to make sure your system stays on even if you will not be pressing it all through the printing process.

3D Printer Remote Controlling Applications and Software

Technology has innovated several other means for remotely controlling your 3D printer through independently developed applications. Remote controlling applications are an excellent suit for you if your printer has wireless connection capabilities. This way, you can just connect the printer to the application, which you'll use to control it from anywhere.

Did you know some 3D printers come with standard applications for remote control? If your printer has this, you are good to go, but if otherwise, you can get a third-party software that will let you do the same. You may also discover that you need more functions than what your printer's remote controller can do, so you may as well install a third-party remote controller.

Popular third party software for monitoring your 3D printer from any device are:

  •  Repetier Host
  • OctoPi
  • AstroBox
  • Creality Camera

Just like the remote desktops, these applications work similarly with only a couple of differences in their features or usage costs. You may want to research each of them before deciding which you would want to use to monitor your 3D printer.

Hooking Up a Camera or Webcam to Your 3D Printer

To effectively monitor your printer from anywhere, you may want to hook it up with a camera or webcam just so you can watch it right as it works. Besides, you may just want to have a recording of your 3D printer working for documenting or marketing sake.

The good thing is most of these remote controlling software come with companion cameras for video monitoring. Or even when they don't come with cameras, they possess plugins for connecting your camera to their software.

We recommend that you get a camera that provides quality and wide coverage, although sometimes, the camera of a laptop may work just fine. Install the camera at an angle that allows you a good view of all the printer's activities as you don't want to miss out on essential details.

Here are a few ways to hook up your camera to your 3D printer:

  • Use Creality camera, which also has a companion application for remote controlling
  • Use the camera that comes along with the Octoprint remote controlling package
  • Get a camera with a USB connection and connect it to AstroBox remote controller
  • Get a USB camera and connect it to Repetier Server for remote control.

Conclusion

Controlling your 3D printer remotely presents you with a lot of benefits. However, deciding how best to do this might be a hard one. We hope that this article provides you with the basic idea of how remote controlling your printer works and exposes you to the options available to you. With the information provided in this article, you will be able to carry out further market research to decide which application or software would be the best fit for your remote printing needs

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