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Pocket printer host

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:42 pm
by dan3008
This is going to sound really daft.
I've started work on my new 3d printer, but as a side project I want to make a small standalone printer host. Something thats easy to operate, and a bit of fun to boot.

so, first a bit of research. Preexisting solutions wouldn't work for me, For example, octoprint, and astrobox, both require another device to work with there web interface. so off I went scouring the web for a stand alone print server. Nothing... so off I went on an adventure

This is what I came accross - Minty Pi


Now, as you'll see, its intended for a gaming device. but imagine how sweet (sorry, bad pun :/) it would be to have a small (altoid tin) device that can control your 3d printer and when you're done, just drop it in your pocket (maybe even play a game on the way home?)

So, with that in mind, I've started on the software side of it. And after much deliberation I've ordered the parts

and here's where I'm going with this:
- Im thinking Emulation station (Like on the original Mintypi) as a front end. This would allow for even the small number of buttons used, to control a 3d printer. For printing, the main action needed will be to select a file, and it'll be printed (or maybe previewed)
- Basic Gcode Sender required preferably something that can display sensor data like on octoprint ( ... or ... which look like a promising start.
- Ideally I'd like some onbox slicing. I'm looking at slic3r or cura to get that working

Any thourghts, feelings, feedback or ideas are more than welcome. even if you just think i'm being a daft fool

Re: Pocket printer host

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:56 pm
by chumm
So what I'm missing is, the point of using Octoprint is that you can send the whole file to the Pi and it streams the gcode to the printer over USB, the wifi connection is used to upload the full file and control the web-based interface. Besides being wireless for convenience, this also frees up your PC from having to stream the gcode for an 8 hour print, which prevents any problems from a PC crash/restart/whatever.

How would this device send gcode? Are you incorporating some sort of wifi into the printer board/firmware? Streaming gcode over wifi seems like a bad idea, particularly for a mobile, battery-powered device.

If you're not going to stream the gcode that way, and instead use something like a Pi zero on the printer to hold the file and stream it, why not just use your phone to interface with octoprint? There's a TouchUI plugin meant to make the interface easier to use with mobile phones.

Re: Pocket printer host

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:17 pm
by dan3008
Ok, I think i got slightly lost in my rambleing on the first post, and forgot to mention a few important things :/ oops :oops:

First thing, The original (pictured and in the video) uses a usb sound card, instead, I am going to have an external USB port to connect to the printer. So it would communicate over that with the printer.

second, the device will have a 12v-5v converter on the power\charge port, so it'll be easy to connect it to a printers power supply if battery is an issue.

The main reason I dont want to use octoprint is that I take my printer to a number of demonstrations, so I dont want to set up octoprint as a wifi hotspot and connect to it that way, and I really dont want to lug a laptop as well as the printer. The problem is, the last time I used octo print at a demo, some smart sod watching hacked my password (my fault, should have made it harder to guess) and made it print a penis while I was talking... Ive never been so embarrassed in my life. But aside from that, I dont have a smart phone... tbh, I'd still have my old nokia3310 if i could. so yeh...

The only other option I can come up with, is to use the pi touch screen, and a pi zero or pi 3, and run octoprint, with the touchui plugin, and make it access its own webpage...

plus, really, I just fancy the challenge, and the fun...

Re: Pocket printer host

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:14 pm
by Tsunamijuan
I apologize if i am missing the point here but for some reason i am not able to follow your post to well.

But if I follow the baseline of what your looking for. Your looking to do is have a small device both be the printer host and display and control interface.

If so why not run Pronterface on your Pi, in desktop mode. I am not sure since I don't own a touch screen for my Pi's but its highly likely to work correctly still as long as the touch service is properly enabled. This will likely not run well on a Pi zero, cause of the additional cpu power needed to draw everything on the screen, but it should work as a proof of concept. (the interface will be very slow and laggy to input response).

I will drop this here as its might get you on the right track so you can save some time. Developing something. You should also with a small amount of work make it so that when you start the Pi up, that it automatically boots and goes into graphical mode and starts up Pronterface in full screen. ... pbery-Pi2/

What is missing from that link is setting up a raspberry pi for touch screen. But that is easily found on the main raspberry pi site.

Re: Pocket printer host

Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:15 pm
by dan3008
I hadnt considered proterface, That might actually work really well. Thanks for that

Yeh, I think even I'm struggling to follow my post well lol. Its mainly because I post after my daughter has gone to bed...
Tsunamijuan wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:14 pm
But if I follow the baseline of what your looking for. Your looking to do is have a small device both be the printer host and display and control interface.
Got it in one. And a LOT better put than what I was trying to say :)