How to Use Raspberry Pi for 3d Printing
Isn't it funny how scientists and inventors give very regular names to their inventions? Who would have thought that a mini-computer will be named after your favorite fruit? Raspberry Pi is neither a fruit nor a pie, but a mini-sized computer.
The small, credit card-sized device is capable of carrying out every function you would expect a desktop computer to do. Among many functions, one function of the Raspberry Pi which we shall explore specifically in 3D printing is the ability of the device to interact with the outside world.
In this article, we will focus mainly on how to use Raspberry Pi for 3D printing.
Raspberry Pi For 3D printing
Although the 3D printer has a control board (also known as motherboard) which is the brain of the printer, a Raspberry Pi can be used as an extra board to run software such as Octoprint. Unlike the control board of the printer, the Raspberry Pi can perform many other functions.
OctoPrint is a free, open-source program that lets you use a Raspberry Pi computer to control and monitor your 3D printer remotely. You may load fresh prints from a distance, control your extruder temperature, turn your printer on and off, check the progress of your prints, view your prints with a live video feed, and more.
Setting up an Octoprint-Raspberry Pi combination for 3D printing is quick and easy.
Let's get started.
The materials needed to use Raspberry Pi for 3D printing are separated into two categories: Hardware and Software components.
Hardware: Octoprint recommends the following models of Raspberry Pi to use for 3D printing: Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+ or 4B. If you're using an older model, you'll have a higher chance of print artifacts and lengthier loading times, particularly if you plan to use additional plug-ins or a webcam.
A USB cable to link the board to the printer, a Micro-SD card (at least 4 GB), and a 5 V power source or buck regulator to power the Pi are required in addition to your Pi of choice. The regulator is optional and will very certainly necessitate soldering, but it will allow the Pi to be powered by the printer's power source.
Software: Naturally, you'll need the OctoPi firmware as well as an etcher to create the boot disk. Putty is an optional add-on for customizing the Pi via SSH. (On Windows, you can use a command prompt, and on Mac, you can use Terminal.)
The following steps will help you print using Raspberry pi. Let’s begin.
- Ensure your printer works with Octoprint. Octoprint works with many popular 3D printers, some of which are; 3DR Reprap, 3DRAG, ADIMLab Gantry, Anet A6(Stock firmware), Anet A8(stock firmware), Anet E10 (stock firmware) Raspi3 on USB, AnyCubic 13 Mega, AnyCubic Mega Zero 2.0, AnyCubic Kossel Linear Plus (Delta), AnyCubic Chiron, Bibo 2, Bukobot, Creality 1OS-Pro, Creality 1OS-Pro fw 1.70.0 BL, Creality Ender 2, Creality Ender 3, Creality Ender 5, Dagoma Discovery 200, Felix 2.0/3.0, FlashForge Creator Pro and many more.
- The next step is to install the OctoPrint software. The OctoPi disk image, which is essentially a full duplicate of a running OctoPrint installation, is the simplest way to set up OctoPrint on your Raspberry Pi. The OctoPi SD card image can be found on the OctoPrint downloads page.
- Burn (or "flash") the image onto your Pi's Micro SD card after downloading it. Using a Micro SD card reader, connect the SD card to your computer. Then, get Raspberry Pi Imager and install it.
- Click Choose OS in Raspberry Pi Imager, then select Use Custom to find the OctoPrint disk image you downloaded. After that, select your SD card and click Write. It takes roughly 5 minutes for the flashing to complete.
You can also compile OctoPrint from source if you choose. This is important if you want to use the Pi for something else at the same time (which is generally not recommended for performance reasons).
- Moving on, connect OctoPrint to Wifi. You’ll need to change a text file on the SD card to connect your Raspberry Pi to wifi. Following the flashing process, Etcher may eject your SD card. Disconnect it from your computer and rejoin it if it did.
In Finder (MacOS) or Explorer (Windows), look for your SD card. Then, in Notepad, Sublime Text, or another text editor, open the file octopi-wpa-supplicant.txt. For editing the file, avoid using Microsoft Word, Wordpad, or any other "rich text" formatting tool. Then, eject the SD card from the computer safely.
- Next, insert the memory card into the Pi. In the Pi's SD card slot, put your SD card. If you need to use a Wi-Fi adapter, make sure it's linked to a USB port on the Pi.
- Power the Pi. Connect the power cable to the Pi and turn it on.
- Log in to the Pi through SSH. Run ssh email@example.com (or substitute "octopi.local" with the IP address supplied to the Raspberry Pi by your router) from CMD (Windows) or Terminal (macOS).
- When it returns "Are you sure you want to keep connecting (yes/no)?" Type yes and enter.
- Enter the default password for the Pi, and hit enter. You should now be able to access the Raspberry Pi.
- Change your password and username. For security's sake, it is advised that you change your password.
- Connect the Pi to your Printer. You can now link the Raspberry Pi to the printer! OctoPrint will be able to control and send commands to your printer as a result of this. To do so, connect a USB cord from the Pi to the USB port on your printer. The USB port is usually near the SD card slot on your printer. The USB port available might be a Micro USB port or a Mini USB port (the mushroom-shaped one).
- Connect one of the Pi's USB ports to the printer's USB port with the appropriate cable.
- Check to see if the cable you're using is data-compatible (some cheaper cables only support charging).
- Connect a camera to the Pi. One of the most fascinating functions of OctoPrint is being able to monitor and record prints in real-time. Let's start by connecting a Raspberry Pi camera. This is, of course, optional, but it is strongly suggested.
- To begin, unplug and turn off your Raspberry Pi. While your Pi is powered, do not attempt to attach the camera.
- Connect the camera to your Raspberry Pi and restart it.
- Set up the interface/login via a browser. You should be able to access OctoPrint through your local network once the Pi has booted up. In any browser, type "http://octopi.local" (or the IP address allocated to the Pi by your router). Ascertain that your PC is on the same network as the Pi.
The OctoPrint interface and a setup wizard should appear. Follow through and remember to create an OctoPrint username and password. It's important to note that this isn't the same as the username and password you used to set up your Raspberry Pi.
Open the Connection panel on the left to connect to your printer. Hit "Connect" with the parameters set to "AUTO." If that doesn't work, try setting the serial port and baud rate manually.
Congratulations! Now your Raspberry Pi 3D printer controller is ready for use.
You enjoy certain benefits when you use a Raspberry Pi for 3D printing. See some of them below:
- It becomes much easier to monitor your 3D printer's progress, transfer files, and even make a time-lapse of a print with the addition of a Raspberry Pi.
- Depending on your needs, there are numerous plug-ins that can add additional functionality. Overall, this is an improvement to your 3D printing equipment that is well worth it.
- Although there are alternative hardware and software possibilities, the Octoprint and Raspberry Pi combination is the most popular. This is advantageous because if you have any problem, there is a good chance that someone else has encountered and resolved the same problem.
Some 3D printing projects that you can do with Raspberry Pi include;
Walkie talkie, telescope, 3D scanner, sky cam, retro gaming station, robot, security camera, Google glass, pip-boy, quadcopter, pirate radio, wearable camera, smart clock, server farm, robot tank, developer's case, microscope, an internet-of-things printer and so much more.
Raspberry Pi and 3D printed projects complement each other much like raspberries and cream. And the possibilities of the combination are vast, as you have seen.
OctoPrint is the most widely used software for printer control and monitoring. However, there are other options. As an alternative, you can use AstroPrint, MatterControl, Repetier, Creality Box, Printrun, and a lot more.
There's so much that you can do with the Raspberry Pi. This article explains how you use the Raspberry Pi as an extra board in 3D printing to carry out functions like controlling and monitoring your 3D printer remotely and also to create several projects. Oftentimes, the Raspberry Pi is used together with the software Octoprint for the best 3D results.