I’ve recently discovered some software called OctoPrint which allows network control of a 3D printer. This can be beneficial in several ways. Usually, with a RepRap style printer and many others you would need to have it connected to your computer for the entire duration of the print job which can take many hours for larger and more complex prints. That would mean leaving your computer on and hoping it doesn’t crash or have other issues during the print. Running high performance software like games or similar could also affect an ongoing print job if your computer can’t keep up. I just happened to stumble upon OctoPrint which runs on a Raspberry Pi. For those who haven’t heard of this (have you been living under a rock for the last few years?) it is a small but fully functional computer about the size of a credit card, it is very low power and is well suited for this job. OctoPrint is installed onto the Raspberry Pi and the printer is then connected to this along with a wireless or wired network connection. You then get a nice web interface from which to control your printer, and it even has a facility to connect a standard USB webcam or the Raspberry Pi camera so you can watch and monitor your printing even while away from home should you wish to. Although it should be noted that with the heat involved with 3D printing, the printer should never be left unattended in case anything goes awry and it catches fire, it’s unlikely but possible.

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