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.

25 thoughts on “Dumpster Dive Results In 3D Print Server Project

    1. Legal in some area. Here where I live, anything in the bin becomes free for anyone to take until the trash truck comes for pickup. Metal scrapper loves this because they can make money by knowing where and when trash pickup days are.

      I once fished out a number of NES game boxes, a couple PSOne LCD screen, and a few controllers from a dumpster behind Gamestop. One had bad CCFL but worked with LED mod. Other had no sound caused by loose internal wire due to cracked connector, fixed with hot glue. I still have pne of that PSOne LCD.

      Some of the empty NES boxes were eventually sold on eBay for upward of $50+, mostly $5-$10. Controllers were kept for spare parts (ie shift chip in NES controller) as they all had cut wires.

  1. I’ve actually seen a homeless man rummage through a bin near my house, with a printer on the ground that he then put back in the bin.
    Went back an hour later and claimed the printer :)
    Got a couple of nice motors and rods from it.

    Can’t be illegal in South Africa or half the population would be behond bars!

  2. In the USA, trash in a can, bin, dumpster etc that is in an area commonly accessible to the public is considered public domain. Police don’t need a warrant to search your garbage.

    If you don’t want private investigators digging your dirty secrets out of your trash can, either run everything through a crosscut shredder, or put your cans inside an enclosure with a gate. Doesn’t even have to be locked as long as it’s on your property and clearly closed off from open public access.

    1. I support global surveillance, so I’m not worried about my “dirty secrets” being dug up. I think if we lived in a society like that, humanity as a whole would rid itself of most of it’s taboos, and people would feel more free and connected. :)

      People are so quick to complain about surveillance, but their ideas constitute self censorship. They then, of course, go on to complain about censorship. They talk about privacy, but fail to realise that it is an illusion. The argument always seems to revolve around “being watched”, which probably has a biological basis because it makes sense that we would evolve to hate the feeling of being watched to avoid predators.

      Hmm.

      1. In the US, we closed down all of the mental institutions in the 80s to save money. Now all of the paranoid people that in the past would’ve gotten critically necessary psychiatric care are running around free calling themselves “patriots”. It would be almost comical, but they vote in the most abhorrent of politicians that do nothing but get them further lathered up over non-issues.

          1. Well, I live here, and pay attention to what’s going on. So, there’s that. Have you not actually listened to what passes for “discourse” in the current political environment?

        1. Remember many of the “crazys” out there are actually perfectly sane. They just like pressing the buttons of paranoids that swing the other way. For instance, I run an extra SSID at my residence titled “NSA Serveilence Van #1984” just to get a rise out of the state-ists out there. Its fun to scare/annoy and see what kind of epithets they can come up with. Usually they just drop the F-bomb or the infinitely more offensive C-bomb (C is for censorship (you shouldn’t say….)), but sometimes end up slightly more interesting. Much more entertaining than watching stupid sitcoms on TV. :-)

  3. Can’t you just put your sliced files on an sd card and print from that? I mean I was tired of my printer tying up my laptop so I bought a $5 sd card and put it in. Pretty much all ramps lcd’s have an sd card slot

    1. You can, but it’s even easier to upload gcode over the network to the Octoprint server and monitor the printer from there. Plus you get integrated webcam, jog controls, and monitoring that can be accessed from your phone or tablet even after the printer is off. I have an LCD on my printer, and I rarely look at it anymore, and certainly don’t use the unpleasant encoder wheel interface for anything if I can avoid it.

  4. Matt, your buddy Dan was walking out of our office when he saw me reading this article. Small world.
    Why did you need to do all the “dancing” with the LAN and WWAN? I’m actually looking for an easy way to network my RepRap, and haven’t been having the best of luck. This looks great.

  5. I’ve been 3D printing for a few years now. I started with a classic printrbot and then later upgraded to a prusa i3. I still typically have to be at the printer when a print starts and wait till the end of the first layer. So many times has a print failed on the first layer due to insufficient sticking. Also theres filament leaking out of the nozzle on heating up that I have to constantly pinch away. I don’t know how people get away with remote printing with all sorts of mishaps just waiting to foul the print bed, which you must be present for in order to clear, just to start another print. There are just too many variables working against you. Slicing settings must be constant which doesn’t work for every file. I just don’t see the benefit of remote printing at this time. Printers just aren’t smart enough to clean their own beds on a failed print.

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