3D printing is the art of constructiong 3-dimensional objects by building up material in an additive form, rather than traditional subtractive manufacturing such as machining. It’s a hobby that I enjoy, and modifying, building, and upgrading my 3D printers deserves its very own corner of my site.
I recently got a camera to use with my 3D printer which includes integrated LED illumination. It has a physical switch to control the lights, but I want to turn them on and off, either from OctoPrint, or from Home Assistant, based on the printer status. Wanting the simplest solution possible, I’m going to turn off power to the Pi’s USB hub when I don’t need the camera lighting. This has a side effect of also disabling the camera itself due to lack of power, which I will also need to deal with, but it doesn’t disable the USB data lines, so the 3D printer (which has its own power supply) might not be affected, depending on the printer model.
In this project, I setup a proper OctoPrint server for my 3D printer, and integrate it into the enclosure I already built. I also add some RGB flair to make it look nice, and set it up to integrate with Home Assistant. I’m very pleased with the results, so follow along for how I set it up.
Building the Circuit Since I want to use WS2812 LED strips to show the printing status, I need a small circuit.
I’ve been working on a new OctoPrint system for my 3D printer, and as part of this project I made some nice flashy individually addressable LEDs for the sides of the enclosure to show the print status. The full project page is coming soon, but I just had to give you guys a sneak peek at the LEDs. These are WS2812 style individually addressible LEDs, controlled by an OctoPrint plugin on the Raspberry Pi, along with a perf board PCB I soldered to power and level-shift them.
I finished the box! At least I finished it enough to start using it. It still needs OctoPrint, lighting, and some RGB LEDs (doesn’t everything these days?). But, it’s usable now. Check out the Project Page for the full story.
The New Box In addition, I’ve started designing a Raspberry Pi case for my OctoPrint Pi. First revisions are shown below. I thought I’d start with this case and re-print it as I add things to the enclosure, but I think I’m going to go caseless for now and work up to what I want the final design to be.
Everyone who has 3D printed something is at least vaguely aware of the concept of infill. Unless you want your 3D prints to be totally solid, you usually reduce the density of the center of the part, creating a number of solid layers around a central void. The percentage of this central void that is filled with material is known as the infill ratio. A lot of slicers will automatically pick some level of infill and some pattern to distribute the material in the most structurally sound way, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to these settings.
As all of you can appreciate, my interest in projects varies with time. At any given time, I have plenty of projects in process, and my moods change which projects I work on at any given time.
Given that information, here’s an update on what I’m working on currently:
Cheap PoE Fisheye Camera for 3D Printing - This project finished months ago, but I wrote a detailed review of the camera and published it.
In 2018 I bought a Prusa i3 MK3s kit, and I’ve been very happy with it. However, I’ve found that it really struggles with early layer curling, even with PLA, in my cold basement. The solution to this problem is to build a box around the printer. The box will retain more of the heat generated by the printer, hopefully resulting in less warping due to cooling of the printed parts.
The quest for the best camera/angle for my 3D Printer My original plan was to use Octoprint with a USB camera (since that’s the cool thing to do, right?). I got a Logitech C270 USB webcam and was very underwhelmed by the image quality. I found that the field of view was just too narrow to get a good shot of the entire 3d print, especially if I was printing something big.