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How to connect Raspberry Pi to Ender 3 series printers

How to connect Raspberry Pi to Ender 3 series printers

OctoPrint is an open-source 3D printer control platform that allows users to exert greater control over their prints by facilitating monitoring and remote access. The software’s fame and functionality have both grown tremendously over the years due to the dedication of the developers and the community. Now, it’s a fan-favorite upgrade for all types of 3D printers.

A Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint allows users to monitor and control prints (Source: howchoo.com)

The stock interface allows users to remotely control various facets of their 3D printer, including temperature and movement management. OctoPrint can’t be installed directly on the printer due to the limitations of the control board, but an auxiliary computer like the Raspberry Pi can connect the program to your printer. OctoPrint facilitates the transmission of G-code commands, which your printer’s firmware interprets to control the hardware.

OctoPrint is compatible with nearly every type of 3D printer, including the famous Creality Ender 3 series. This popular printer family dominates the market because of their accessible price point, good quality, and upgradability. Equipping your Ender 3 with OctoPrint allows you to remotely control the machine and utilize a host of additional OctoPrint features using plug-ins.

This guide details how to connect your Raspberry Pi running OctoPrint to an Ender 3 printer. If you’re not familiar with how to set up the Raspberry Pi, check out our other article on the topic.

Getting started

Setting up OctoPrint is a fairly straightforward process, even for those who aren’t used to working with operating systems and programming functions.

In addition to a Raspberry Pi with OctoPrint installed, we recommend getting a compatible Pi camera and screen to aid in monitoring.

Make sure your Pi has OctoPrint installed and the network settings have been updated. Then, boot and locate the IP address for your new server. This IP address is critical as it serves as the URL for accessing your OctoPrint interface.

Insert the microSD card with the OctoPi configuration files into your Raspberry Pi. Connect the Raspberry Pi to a power supply. Turn on your Ender 3 and connect the Pi to the printer’s mainboard via USB cable.

There are two main ways to identify the IP address:

Method #1

On your internet-connected device, go to octopi.local. This address should direct you to the IP address of your OctoPrint server if it’s connected to the same network. Save this page as it is the IP address of your server. The address will not change so long as your network settings remain the same.

Method #2

If the previous web-based method doesn’t work, use an HDMI cable to connect the Raspberry Pi board to a monitor or compatible screen. Type in the displayed IP address into a web browser on your internet-connected device.

If you can’t find the IP address, restart the Pi and wait for the server to initialize. If prompted, type in the username and password for your OctoPrint server (“pi” and “raspberry” by default, respectively). This username and password may also be required to log into your OctoPrint online interface. After logging in, you can update your credentials, which is always recommended for improved security.

Installing plug-ins

To complete OctoPrint setup on your Ender 3, you’ll need to install some plug-ins. Some Creality Ender 3 printers are shipped with different default firmware configurations, meaning that some require a bit of work to make compatible with OctoPrint.

Incompatible firmware will lead to problems such as inconsistent temperature readings because the printer reports the temperature twice. Because the input is in the wrong format for OctoPrint, the “Temperature” section in OctoPrint’s interface will be inaccurate or unavailable. If you run into a temperature reading of 0° or no temperature reading at all, a few plug-ins can solve this problem.

To resolve this issue, “Creality Temperature Fix” and “Creality 2x temperature reporting fix” should be installed. Installing plug-ins using OctoPrint is fairly simple.

First, open the OctoPrint online interface. In the top right corner, click the wrench icon. Navigate to “Plugin Manager” and select “Get More.” Search “Creality” and download the “Temperature Fix” plug-in first. After the installation is complete, restart the server. Repeat the process to search for the reporting fix plug-in. Install the plug-in, restart the server, and check the temperature readings.

The described plug-ins are the most commonly required for a firmware issue, but there are a variety of plug-ins that can be used with the Ender 3 series to improve monitoring and performance. Try out your new OctoPrint setup and play around with some plug-ins!

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