What is Octoprint?
Octoprint works on tiny computers like the raspberry P. It is easy to use and rich in features which makes it very personalizable. Through this mini operating system, we can add all sorts of plugins to have complete control of our printer. You can control it through a web page or directly on your smartphone. Thanks to the numerous apps that exist.
The list of supplies required to run octoprint is extremely short. In fact, we have to get a Raspberry PI, a micro SD of at least 8GB, a 2A smartphone power supply, and a webcam or a raspberry camera(advised). We can easily find everything on Amazon or Aliexpress at a maximum price ranging from 50 $ to 80 $. The webcam is optional, but the most useful plugins of Octoprint relays on the camera feature, so you might just get it right away!
I am happy to know that you have made the decision to buy a Raspberry for your printer! I will guarantee you that this is going to be one of the best decisions you have ever made! Honestly adding so many functions and usability to my printer is far the best upgrade ever.
Let us dive immediately into how to install and configure Octoprint on a Rasberry.
We will need to download some free software to do various operations:
- Etcher: This will transfer all the files on the flash drive.
- Putty: This will do all the remote data management part when we have Octoprint working.
- Notepad ++: This Will help to edit all the codes we need to configure. (Very important to use a proper code editor, because TextEdit or Wordpad will just ruin the indentation and the code will not work!)
Octoprint Raspberry PI install
The first step is to install OCTOPRINT operating system on your Raspberry, go to the octoprint website and download the latest version free and legal.
We unpack the file obtained in a folder and prepare the SD memory by putting it in the computer and formating it. Next, you will only need to open Etcher and use it to flash Octoprint. The process is fairly easy, choose the .img file that you have unzipped and after that, you have to select the flash drive and click flash! That is it.
Octoprint wi-fi configuration
Once you flashed everything on the SD card, you need to configure the wi-fi settings. Open the contents of the flashed SD and search for the file octopi-WPA-supplicant.txt. Open it with Notepad++, or a proper code editor and look inside the file for this piece of code:
## WPA/WPA2 secured
Under this comment is the configuration data for the network, most probably your router will use this security type as it’s pretty standard nowadays. You will see 4 rows under which you will have to uncomment by deleting the # sign. Once you have done this, replace the values in the network settings with your wi-fi ones. After that, we are done, extract the memory card, and insert it into the Raspberry, connect it to the power supply, wait a few seconds and move to the computer.
The first step we need to do at the computer is to identify which IP address our Raspberry is on. You can find this using the router configuration page, which certainly comes to our aid in this situation. Go to your router configuration page and search for the connected devices, the name of the device should be OCTOPI or something like that. Each router has its own personal page. If you are having a hard time using yours and finding the IP address, try downloading the AngryIP app on android that lists all the connected devices to your wi-fi.
Octoprint system Configurations
Once you have found the IP address, usually 192.168.xxx.xxx, open Putty and enter it in the space provided. Without doing anything else, you need to open the connection and wait for the answer(If there are any warnings dismiss them). If there are some warnings, dismiss them. Once the Raspberry command line will open it will ask us for the login(default value is pi) and the password(which is raspberry all lower caps). Now we type sudo raspi-config and hit enter.
When running this command we enter the configuration menu where we are going to change various settings fundamental for the proper functioning of our device. Let us start by changing the default password as it is not safe. Pass to “Change User Password” select it and click OK. We will be asked to enter a new password twice. Don’t worry if it seems like you are not writing anything. It is actually just a matter of privacy, but if you did it right, you are going to be redirected back to the previous screen.
You can also change the name of the device in Advanced Options. We can give a name to our Octopi in the “Hostname”.
Having done the previous step, you just have to save and exit. Once the raspberry has restarted, we go to the web browser and type the IP address we had previously found 192.168.xxx.xxx.You will have a page very similar to the one below. As username we put octopi or the name we have chosen in the previous passage, respecting the lowercase and capital letters. Now we are connected to the Raspberry, we just have to connect the printer and turn it on.
If you have problems connecting to the printer with the default SERIAL PORT and BAUDRATE then you need to go to the settings menu by clicking the “wrench button”. In the settings change the serial port or the baud rate as set by your printer, the default value for the baud rate could be 250000 or 115200.
In the settings we also have a configuration for the profile of our printer in the printer profiles tab, In the plugin section, we will find a roundup of very convenient features.
There are lots of features you can add to Octoprint, some plugins like:
EEPROM Marlin Editor Plugin (edit firmware parameters “on the fly”)
Title Status (control the temperatures in the top bar)
and many others can be very useful, I will write an article with my favorites ones!
Also, an awesome feature is the fact that you can control everything with specific apps for Android and Ios. To configure them, just give the IP address and scan the Barcode in the API tab in the settings section. The functions of Octopi are unlimited. With the right plugins and compatible firmware on the printer, we can also level the plate or send specific notifications to the smartphone. But if you want to do the same thing on the phone via email or Telegram when outside your home we will have to arm ourselves with a little more patience and do 2 more steps.
Octoprint static IP address
What must we do to control our printer when we are not home, or in the office? First of all, you need to know that every time we turn on the router or restart it, our internet service provider assigns us a different address. This would force us to make a note of it each time and enter it in the address bar to make the connection. This would be the minimum but we must bear in mind that the router may restart when we are away or during the night. To overcome all this we must have a static IP address. If you don’t have a static IP address you may ask your internet provider for one.
Instead, for those who do not have one, they can use the free No-Ip service which after a few simple steps will allow us to have a static address. In the No-Ip Home, we must first register. Login and create a Hostname by entering in the marked field what we want to be our IP address. At this point, we need to check if our router supports the use of DDNS services and which ones are compatible.
You will then have to type (usually http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.0.1) to access the router configuration panel then go to the advanced settings and look for the DDNS or dynamic DNS section. Then, in the Service Provider menu (or similar item), you can check the No-IP support. From the router configuration panel, simply choose No-IP as the provider of the free DDNS service. Then enter the Host Name, Username, and Password chosen when registering on the No-IP site.
Once this is done, connect to the no-IP page and check what your static IP address is. The game is done now, just enter the address we have chosen in the address bar of our browser and we will be connected directly to Octopi. The only care we must have is to confirm our subscription to No-IP on a monthly basis via the email they will send to remind us.
connecting cura to Octoprint
Connecting Cura to Octoprint is very simple! You only need to open Cura and navigate to printer settings. There you will see a button called network settings. Once you click it you should already see your Octoprint device in the menu. If you see it just paste the API key and you are done! If not, you need to manually add it .