Chapter 12 – Option: Raspberry Pi Zero-W
Octoprint is a 3D printer host software that runs on a Raspberry Pi and establishes a serial USB connection to your printer. The software itself is accessible via LAN/WLAN via a web interface on any browser-enabled device. You can conveniently monitor and control the printer on your computer/touch device via WLAN, manage files, change eeprom values, etc. This makes the Tantillus independent of larger, peripheral hardware (the smartphone is in the bag anyway).
Due to its mobility, the optional extension of the Tantillus with a Raspberry Pi Zero W with Octoprint makes sense. The energy consumption of the Pi is only a few mA, the price of the component is about 10 Euro and it comes with WLAN functionality. Even if you only have the printer/smartphone with you, Octoprint partly provides the functionality of a connected PC.
The WLAN rx/tx performance is relatively weak due to the very small onboard antenna. You should not expect a long range.
To increase the range, the Zero-W can also be equipped with an external antenna. However, this requires soldering work that even experienced SMD solderers can cause despair. A very good instruction for the conversion can be found here.
The Octoprint web interface can be individualized by software add-on modules (plugins) to improve operability with touch devices or to enable push notifications, for example. Even slicing STL files, with a reduction in speed, is possible on the pi. Octoprint comes with an integration of Cura, Slic3r can also be integrated.
The number of available plugins is constantly growing, so we will only mention a few selected plugins here. Everyone is invited to browse the plugin section of the developer homepage, pick the most useful ones for themselves and adapt the system to their needs.
Installation OF Raspberry Pi Zero W
The installation of Octoprint is also reasonable for amateurs. You download the current octoprint image from the developer’s page.
In principle, a Mac system comes with the necessary tools at command line level to write the image to the micro SD card. However, this is much more convenient under Mac/Windows with the Etcher tool. Burning“ the SD card is therefore very easy, the ZIP archive with the image does not even have to be unpacked.
Before the first start of the system, however, an existing WLAN and the configuration of the „octopi-wpa-supplicant.txt“ file in the root directory of the SD card is absolutely necessary. The text file is self-explanatory commented, everybody should be able to enter his SSID and password of his home network.
Attention MAC users working with Textedit. Make sure to switch to „Pure text“ in the text edit settings BEFORE modifying the file and deactivate the option „Intelligent quotation marks and hyphens only in text documents with formatting“!
Insert the SD card into the Pi Zero and power up. After a few moments the zero should be accessible in the browser via octopi.local. You will be guided through the further installation steps. After another reboot, you can view the settings and make changes if necessary. To go into this in detail would go beyond the scope of this documentation.
Installation of plugins
In the settings you can also find the submenu „Pluginmanager“. Some of these plugins have proven themselves over the course of time, and we would like to briefly go into what we consider to be the most useful ones.
If you want to access the octoprint web interface a lot with your smartphone or tablet, this plugin is yours. Especially for smaller screens this plugin is a must. The resolution of the accessing client determines whether the TouchUI becomes active. The display of the laptop therefore remains unchanged. The plugin can also be immediately deactivated on the touch device.
Detailed Progress Plugin
When printing via Octoprint, no progress indicator is visible on the Tantillus LCD by default – this is reserved for printing an SD card. However, this small plugin sends print status information to the LCD at regular intervals.
Comfortable editing of the Eeprom values from the start screen (Repetier). Favorites can also be created for frequently used values.
Very easy: the last uploaded file is automatically selected for printing. However, printing must be started manually.
Pi Zero outside your own four walls
Pi Zero outside your own four walls
The basic configuration of the Pi Zeros W provides the connection to an existing network. In open terrain this is not always available or the access data is not known/configured. In order to be able to access the Tantillus mobilely in this case, there is a step-by-step instruction to operate the Zero optionally as an access point if no known network can be found.
You should have heard the terms SSH, Terminal and Nano before. Additional packages must also be installed. An Internet connection is therefore absolutely necessary for initial setup. Set it up and forget it – it’s running!
- Chapter 0 – Introduction
- Chapter 1 – Housing
- Chapter 2 – Z axis
- Chapter 3 – XY axis system
- Chapter 4 – Heated Bed
- Chapter 5 – Cooling
- Chapter 6 – Extruder
- Chapter 7 – Hotend
- Chapter 8 – Electronics
- Chapter 9 – Spool roller
- Chapter 10 – Silicone parts
- Chapter 11 – Option: Belt drive cover
- Chapter 12 – Option: Rasberry Pi Zero
- Chapter 13 – Option: UPS for the pi
- Chapter 14 – BOM / Downloads
- Chapter 15 – FAQ
- Chapter 16 – Samples
- Chapter 17 – Concluding remarks