Remote Printing – Are you like me?

Octoprint - Gaslands - Shipping container by Corvus Games TerrainRemote printing lets me run my 3D printers from anywhere.  I tend to keep my printers running, maybe not 24×7, but pretty close.  With multiple printers, it is rare to find my printer room with out a print running.  But, I also have downtime on 3D Printers that sit idle.  This article is about the hardware and software I use to remotely fire up prints from wherever I am at, if I find something cool I want to print.  

So, a little background.  This morning, Steve from Corvus Games Terrain showed a photo of his new WIP, some shipping containers for Gaslands.  I asked him if I could get a copy since I tend to show off a lot of his terrain.  He was gracious enough to send me the STL file.  Now, I was at work, and had a few minutes during my break to get this going.  Heading home, a 25 minute one-way trip was out of the question.  

Getting the file there and Sliced for remote printing

So, I started with the easiest part.  I saved the file to Dropbox.  That synced it up to my home account.  I could have used numerous others, or just emailed it home.  

From there, I had to slice the file.  Since slicers are not standard on workstations, I had to remote into my computer at home.  I use Teamviewer to access my computer remotely via my cell phone, or another computer.  I find it simple to use.  So I used Team viewer to access my PC, and sliced the file in Simplify3D.  

Turning the Printer and and Printing

Conico Smart Surge Protector: WiFi Smart Power Strip, with 4 USB Charging Ports and 4 Smart AC PlugsJinvoo Smart PlugI run my printers off a WiFi smart power strip.  This power strip lets me power on each 3D Printer separately, using an app on my smartphone.  It uses the app called Jinvoo Smart to control the 4 power outlets, or the USB.  That brings me to my biggest complaint, that the USB is all on or all off.

I also have a Wemo Insight power plug that lets me record the power usage of a printer as well as giving me the ability to remotely turn it on or off.  Whatever printer is on my table to setup or work on, gets run through my UPS and it runs off this outlet.  

That also brings me to my remote printing setup, I use Octoprint (You can read more about setting it up, and running your 3D Printer off it, from this previous article).  As you can see in the photo above, I use Octoprint to run my computer.  It allows me to monitor the print jobs remotely, to make sure they don’t fail.  Plus, in this instance, I can remotely fire up my 3D Printer and have it start from a location that is not home.  

Welcome home to freshly printed part

Now, when I get home, I will have a couple of shipping containers finished so I can get some photos of, and show them off. This is all thanks to my remote printing setup.  All of the software is free for all of this.  You will have to pick up a Rapsberry Pi and Camera for Octoprint.  The remote control power outlet is something else you must buy.  Finally I did pick up a 10′ USB cord to power my Raspberr Pi.  It makes life easier to be able to move your print server around and also helps to place the camera easier.  This really is a very convenient setup.  Heck, I live in a 2 story house.  There are times I do this from my computer down stairs, and never touch the printer until the print job is done.  If you have any questions about this setup, please let me know.  Not all of my 3D Printers are hooked up to this setup, but my workhorse 3D Printers are.