Repetier-Server on a Raspberry Pi controlling my 3D printer

A few weeks ago, I mentioned using Cura from my Raspberry Pi to 3D print.

Yesterday, I had some time on my hands so I thought I’d try a different 3D printer controller for the Raspberry Pi – Repetier-Server. It either comes with OS build for your Pi’s SD or you can build it yourself on an existing Raspian installation.

I also loaded some WebCam software for my Raspberry Pi, so that I could see the printer while it is printing in the garage. There are a number of open source projects to stream a USB camera from your Raspberry Pi

The setup has been working great. I connect to the Repetier-Server on the Pi from the Repetier-Host software running on my PC. The PC does all the slicing… and sends the models to the Server and also shows the real-time status of the job in progress. I get the added benefit that I can also stop jobs and monitor progress from my phone (as long as I am connected to the same LAN). I have not done the port forwarding so I could monitor jobs in progress from the Internet, but that’s possible.

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There is a new Raspberry Pi 3 in the house

770a5614-2Just in time for Pi day, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is announced as the top-of-the-line Raspberry Pi . They’ve boosted both processing speed and network capabilities, while keeping the price the same as the older model.

The new board shares many of the same specs as its predecessor (that came out over two years ago), but brings the processor speed up to 1.4GHz — about a 15% increase.

They’ve also added support for dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi — effectively almost tripling the Wi-Fi throughput of the base Pi 3 and the have improved the wired performance as well.

Wireless performance

Tx bandwidth (Mb/s)

Rx bandwidth (Mb/s)

Raspberry Pi 3B 35.7 35.6
Raspberry Pi 3B+ (2.4GHz band) 46.7 46.3
Raspberry Pi 3B+ (5GHz band) 102 102

 

Wired performance

Tx bandwidth (Mb/s)

Rx bandwidth (Mb/s)

Raspberry Pi 3B 94.1 95.5
Raspberry Pi 3B+ 315 315

They also stated “We will shortly launch a PoE HAT which can generate the 5V necessary to power the Raspberry Pi from the 48V PoE supply.” That should add some flexibility for those interested in PoE.

I think I have 3 Raspberry Pi’s around the house doing various functions. Now I’ll have to find another reason to buy one.

3D printing with Cura on the Raspberry Pi

Since I had a bit of time on my hands, I spent some time this weekend switching over the software I was using for 3D printing. Since I first got my 3D printer 5 or 6 years ago, I’ve been using Repetier under MS-Windows. This is a very flexible solution but its Raspberry Pi implementation is only as a server that you would access over the web which is nice, but you can’t see the model progress while printing. I’ll need to experiment with this more though.

There is a Cura implementation that ran on top of Octopi. This print controller will allow me to transfer information directly to the printer, initiate printing and monitor it remotely over the web. Here is the main interface:

interface

One added bonus of making the change to Cura and Octopi is that I can monitor the printing process remotely using a USB camera (that I had lying around) — this capability was just built in. Here is what that looks like:

camera

The first 2 prints I tried came off flawlessly, though I do have a small X axis offset issue to center the print that I’ve yet to resolve.

If you have a spare Raspberry Pi lying around it is definitely worth looking into. I also want to try using Slic3r on the Pi as an alternative 3D slicer.