3D printers are capable of creating complex geometries with a minimum of fuss, but one of the tradeoffs is the long period of time it takes to print a part. Often, printers are left to run for many hours with a minimum of supervision to complete their tasks. This can leave printers idling for long periods of time after their work is finished. Noting this, [TheGrim] put together the Advanced Printer Control.
The aim of the APC is to monitor 3D printers, and shut them off when their work is complete. The aim is to avoid leaving printers running for hours after their prints are finished, which causes needless wear on fans and screens which can have a limited life. This is achieved by putting an ESP8266 in charge of the printer’s AC power supply, via a triac. It measures the current drawn by the printer when idling and in use to set a baseline. Then, whenever the printer drops back to idle levels, a timer begins. When the timer runs out, the printer is switched off. There’s also an option to automatically trigger shutdown with an I/O pin, too.
It’s a project that aims to extend printer life and save power, too. Of course, if you’re really worried about power draw, you could use a solar powered printer instead. If you’ve got your own printer controller hacks, be sure to drop us a line.