How to Set Up a Remote 3D Print Server with your Raspberry Pi

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Cfresh ✭✭
First Anniversary Photogenic
edited September 2021 in Maker

Have a 3-D printer at home but want to get more prints done throughout the day, even while you're out? Then this is the project for you. With your Pi, you can start and even monitor prints from anywhere.

This project runs off of a custom OS for the Pi called Octoprint OS. OctoPrint OS is an operating system specifically made for the remote 3-D printing server that runs on the Pi. Once set up, you can monitor temperatures, motion settings, terminal log, and even connect a webcam to monitor the print from anywhere. You can print from your laptop or even from your phone with the OctoApp Integration!

What you will need

  • Raspberry Pi (3 or 4 works best)
  • Raspberry Pi Power Supply (3A and 5V Min)
  • Micro or Mini USB Cable
  • Ethernet cable and access
  • Webcam for monitoring (optional)
  • 16Gb Micro SD
  • Case for Pi (optional but recommended)
  • Computer with Micro SD access

Imaging the SD Card

  • In this project, a different OS is used than our other projects. While other projects just used Raspberry Pi OS, this project uses OctoPrint OS, a special image on the Raspberry Pi Imager that can be downloaded here.
  • Once you have the Raspberry Pi Imager downloaded, launch it and select Choose OS. Scroll down to Other Specific Purpose OS.
  • Next, select OctoPi and then select the top option (not the mirror)
  • Next, you will insert the MicroSD Card into your PC (Or SD card Adapter for MicroSD), click "chose storage" and select your card from the list. Once your card is selected, you can move on.
  • Once you have the OS and storage selected, click on write, and the program will start to image the card.

Connecting The Pi

  • Once the OS has been successfully written to the card, remove the MicroSD card from your PC and insert it into the Pi's Micro-SD card port.
  • Now for the server to work, it must be connected to ethernet. You can do that by connecting to this port. You can connect this to a wall ethernet port, router, or any other device that outputs ethernet. It is possible to set up OctoPrint over WiFi as well, though ethernet will allow for a more consistent connection.
  • Now, for your Pi to connect to the printer you will need to locate your printer's data port. This could be a micro-USB port or, in this case below, a mini-USB port. Once you find this port and connect it to your Pi's USB port, your Pi will be able to communicate with your printer.
  • Finally, the optional steps. It's recommended to have a case for the Pi. You can print one from Thingiverse or buy one here.
  • You can also connect a Logitech webcam with USB to the Pi and position it in a way to monitor your prints. Using a webcam allows you to watch your print remotely, using OctoPrint live!

Setting Up OctoPrint

  • To set up your OctoPrint, you will need to use a computer that is connected to the same network as your Pi and navigate to https://octopi.local where you will be greeted with the screen below. Below is the setup for OctoPrint. Click next to get started.
  • Next, you will be on the access control page. Here, you will set up who can log in to your printer remotely if you are sharing it. You can set a generic username and password and then share that with others who want to access your computer.
  • Once you finish that, you will be greeted with the Anonymous Usage Tracking page. Use this pick whether or not you want to send usage data to the developers to help correct bugs.
  • Click next again, and you will be greeted with the Online Connectivity Check page. This will regularly check to ensure that your Pi is still connected to the internet. It is recommended to leave this enabled at the default 15 minutes.
  • Now for the Plugin Blacklist page. This page is used to block possibly malicious plugins on the Pi. This is a good thing to keep activated, as it will allow you to add some plugins to your Pi without risking malware.
  • And finally, the Printer Profile. You will need to get the information on your printer for this one. Make sure you know your build plate size and volume along with the temperatures you keep your prints at.
  • Now just hit finish, position your webcam you plugged in, and your server is running. You can monitor your print progress, temperatures and even upload files to the SD card from your remote server. You'll need to be on the same network for now, but once you add a plugin to the printer, you can view it anywhere. Click on the wrench at the top of the screen to launch the settings and select Plugin Manager. From there, click Get More...
  • You will see a screen to install new plugins. Type in OctoEverywhere to bring up the plugin and click install.

  • Once you follow those steps, you'll be able to start and monitor prints from anywhere on the globe. So have fun starting your remote 3-D print experience!

More from the Micro Center Community:

Looking for more information about Raspberry Pi? We’ve got a Hobby Board section of the community, as well as Hobby Board guides like The Definitive Micro Computer Buying GuideRaspberry Pi Basics, and How to set up a VPN on Raspberry Pi. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to post a new discussion and the Community will be happy to help!

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