Dumpster Dive Results In 3D Print Server Project

3D Printers are super convenient when you need a part quickly. However, they can be seriously inconvenient if the 3D printer has to be tethered to your computer for the duration of the entire print. [Matt] purchased a Makerfarm i3v printer and has been using it a bunch. The only thing he wasn’t crazy about was having it occupy his computer while printing objects. Then one day [Matt] was dumpster diving (don’t roll your eyes, we all do it) and found a Netgear WNDR3700v1 WiFi router. This particular router has a USB port and it made [Matt] think, “can I use this to run my printer?

[Matt] started by checking out 3D print server software OctoPrint and found out that it was entirely written in Python. He had a feeling that he could get Python running on that found Netgear router. The first step was to install OpenWrt to the router and configure it as a client. That was straight forward and went well.  The router only had one USB port so a hub was necessary in order to connect a USB drive and the printer. The USB drive was necessary because the router itself did not have enough memory for OctoPrint. Installing OctoPrint to the router was a little complicated and took a bit of trial and error but [Matt] figured out the best method and documented that on his site for anyone interested in doing the same. So now, [Matt] can use his computer’s web browser to access OctoPrint on the Netgear router, start a print and go back to using his computer without fear of a failed print. OctoPrint and the router are now solely responsible for controlling the printer.

If you’re interested in more ways to remotely control your printer, check this out.

Cloud support for fleets of 3D printers

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More than ever, 3D printers are being used for small prototype and production runs, and the normal way of using a 3D printer with a single desktop app is becoming more and more out of date. [Zach ‘Hoeken’ Smith] has a solution to the frustration of printing out multiples of objects: it’s called BotQueue, and allows anyone to submit print jobs to multiple 3D printers over the Internet.

The idea behind BotQueue is to allow anyone to send jobs to a 3D printer over the Internet. Queues and multiple printers are supported, meaning small-scale manufacturing just got a lot easier for anyone dealing with multiple printers.

We’ve seen a few 3D printer fleets that could benefit from an online print server for multiple 3D printers. It’s not a project meant for everyone – one 3D printer per person should be enough for just about everybody – but if you’re part of a hackerspace with a few printers, we could see this being used to great effect among your fellow makers. You’re not limited to using the official BotQueue servers, either. You can run your own BotQueue from [Zach]’s git