How do I Monitor Multiple 3D Printers?
In recent times, people now have the privilege to monitor their 3D printers as the printing process is going on. It is very interesting that you can even monitor multiple 3D printers nowadays comfortably without being present in your workspace.
This is a dream come true because you can embark on different projects simultaneously and maximize your time. This article will teach how to monitor multiple printers, benefits, challenges, and programs to help you achieve this.
Reasons for Monitoring Multi-3D Printers
Monitoring multiple 3D printers has a lot of advantages which include:
- Insight into machine performance
Monitoring gives you access to gain insight into your printing performance since multiple 3D printers are being linked together. It is impossible to track the progress of your project without monitoring programs.
- Increases Productivity
Monitoring enhances your confidence in production scheduling and enables your 3D printers to yield more in less time. If you are running a big company, it'll give your employees the printers’ exact finishing times so the next build can begin as soon as the previous is completed. They can know when a print is ready right from their desk, wasting far less time.
- Machine Maintenance
Monitoring gives you an idea of what you need to replace in your 3D printers. Apart from completing your projects on time, you can quickly notice any negative changes in your 3D printers from your home or wherever you are and fix them as soon as possible.
Challenges Faced with Multiple 3D Printer Monitoring
Monitoring multiple industrial 3D printers, especially in serial additive manufacturing operations involving complex materials like metal or polycarbonate, may be difficult. Here are two typical difficulties you may encounter:
- It's challenging to keep track of the entire printing process in real-time
To minimize wasting printing material and operator time and assuring product quality, 3D printing must be monitored during the whole process. On-site monitoring of failures and project completions during 3D printing operations is required, either by operators or video cameras.
- It can be time-consuming to monitor industrial additive manufacturing
Remote video monitoring is one way to keep track of the whole 3D printing process in real-time. This technique works well for small shows, but scaling it for more extensive and more sensitive productions can be difficult. It might be difficult to transmit and evaluate the video data generated by more than six 3D serial printers.
Best Programs for Monitoring Multiple 3D Printers
Repetier-Server has been designed to operate and monitor numerous 3D printers simultaneously. There is no limit on how many printers you may utilize at once using the program.
The hardware limits the number of printers that may be run on a single Raspberry Pi. Of course, a computer with higher processing power can control many printers at once. If the machine fails, however, all prints are canceled. It may be feasible to save them with a rescue mechanism, but the harm should be reduced to a minimum.
Recommendations for Repetier-Server
Here are some Raspberry Pi tips you should take note of while using Repetier-Server:
- A cheap USB cable can cause voltage loss with tiny wires. An AWG20 USB cable is recommended.
- We strongly advise using a high endurance SD card, as regular SD cards might fail more quickly.
- A LAN cable connection is always more reliable than Wifi. Because the videos are delivered as MJPG and need significant bandwidth, this is especially true if many cameras are utilized simultaneously. The frame rate and resolution should not be too high.
How to Connect your 3D printer to Repetier-Server
- Start Repetier-Host and click Printer Settings.
- Enter your printer name at the top.
- Select Repetier-Server as Connector.
- Enter your IP Address.
- Enter your Port.
- Enter the API Key.
- Click Connect to continue.
- Now you can select your Printer.
MatterControl is MatterHackers' free and open-source software. It's supposed to include everything you'll need to create your 3D printing. This program allows you to monitor your 3D printers from numerous computers. Everything from designing and slicing your 3D print to printing and tracking it is included in the software bundle. The design suite isn't a complete CAD program; it's suitable for making rapid changes to existing print models. The slicer also has enough setup options for numerous printers and filament types. In terms of connection, their Cloud Sync allows you to save files online and track prints.
Follow these instructions to add your printer on Mattercontrol
- Access the Start Page.
- To pick and add a new printer, click the Add button. A grey bar will appear at the top of the window when you first launch the program.
- Select Connect to a Printer, and if you've previously connected to this printer, you should be able to choose it from the pop-up window's list (which will vanish after selection), and it will display in the grey bar of the application's screen.
- Select Connect in the upper left corner to complete the connecting procedure.
- In the printer selection window, your new printer should now be chosen in the printer selection window.
- To open it in the printer view, click on Empty Bed (or an existing bed if you have one).
- The printer connection wizard will appear and assist you in connecting to your printer.
BuildBee can monitor and operate a variety of 3D printers from a single interface. You may also print to several 3D printers from a single device. However, you can only use the premium version to rum multiple 3D printers.
How to Use Buildbee
Follow the following steps to connect your 3D printers.
- Set up your printers first
If you're using BuildBee Desktop, each printer you want to operate simultaneously will require its own computer. You may also use CloudDocks to connect each printer.
- Give your 3D printers a name and identify them
Give each printer a distinct and easily recognized name (printers are automatically assigned a name when configured for the first time, but you can change it afterward)
- Print on the first printer
For the first print, follow the typical steps, choosing the proper printer and loading the filament you wish to use.
- Return to the home screen
After selecting the print button, the model will be analyzed. After this, refresh your browser to return to the home screen. This will take you to BuildBee's model selection page.
- Print on a different printer
Repeat the printing procedure and select a different printer.
- Continue with as many printers as you have
Monitoring Multiple 3D Printers with Octoprint
OctoPrint is an open-source and free 3D printer controller that allows you to manage all of your prints remotely and operate your machines confidently. The OctoPi image is available online, and most people install it on a Raspberry Pi nowadays. It works right on your web browser; all you have to do is connect it to your local network. It lets you deliver many G-code files to various devices via one interface. OctoPrint also works with webcams, allowing you to observe a print job in real-time and ensure that everything is operating correctly from afar.
OctoPrint keeps track of the print job's status and the 3D printer, including the temperature of the print head (hot end) and, if the printer's bed is heated, the bed's temperature.
OctoPrint can also display the output of a connected camera to watch the print's progress and visualize G-code in real-time or asynchronously. OctoPrint offers a plugin system that allows users to add new features. Here is the summary of what Octoprint allows you to do:
- Upload G-code data from a pc to the 3D printer wirelessly.
- Control a 3D printer manually (moving the X-, Y-, and Z-axes and forcing extrusion).
- Change print parameters and monitor the print temperature.
- Configure a camera for viewing in a browser.
- Slice model with CuraEngine.
- You can use various plug-ins to customize the operations (and you can even develop them yourself).
However, it is crucial to note that while monitoring multiple 3D printers is feasible, OctoPrint does not officially support it. Indeed, since the application isn't designed to scale to various printers, the creators recommend purchasing a second Pi for each printer. Monitoring multiple 3D printers with octoprint is possible with the use of Docker.
Docker is a software development platform that allows programmers to construct containerized programs. Multiple OctoPrint versions may be installed on the same device, which is a convenient outcome. It's still not for beginners, but this configuration is well within your grasp if you're a developer or coder.
Conclusion Monitoring multiple 3D printers is possible and super easy. With the software being mentioned, you can monitor multiple 3D printers on the go. Moreover, these programs are pretty easy to use, and you can get on them as soon as possible. Using Octoprint to monitor multiple is not permissible but you can take the risk if you insist on using it or go for other alternatives stated in the article.