Tech

Set up print servers for multiple 3D printers

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Since 3D printer kits have been available from 100 euros, you can often find several printers not only in Fablabs and other open workshops, but also in private ownership. After all, this is the most effective method at multi-part print objects To drastically shorten the production time: For example, one printer can shape the lower part of the housing, the other the lid and 16 hours of printing time can be reduced to just 8.

But inexpensive printers in particular require tedious handling of memory cards or USB sticks in order to get the print files into the printer due to the lack of a network connection. And constantly going to the device, just to see whether everything is still running correctly and safely, that’s annoying and, in the age of the internet, downright antiquated. There is a remedy, however: Print servers, i.e. small computers to which the printers are connected and which not only serve as a network connection bridge, but also to control and monitor the devices remotely (workstation or living room), ideally with a live camera image from the place of printing.

Small computer? A Raspberry Pi 3 is an obvious choice. But it only becomes a print server with the right software. Are prevalent in this area OctoPrint and Repetier server. Both are not only available for Linux (including Raspbian), but also for Windows and macOS. A large Windows PC or Mac would be vastly oversized for this task, unless you own a printer farm. Such computers would only use electricity unnecessarily. Therefore, we only consider the Raspi versions to be useful, that is OctoPi and Repetier-Server 0.94.0 for Raspberry Pi, which in addition to the actual server software also contain a Raspberry operating system and are available for download as a memory card image.

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