Want Octoprint But Lack A Raspberry Pi? Use An Old Android Phone

3D printers and Octoprint have a long history together, and pre-built images for the Raspberry Pi make getting up and running pretty easy. But there’s also another easy way to get in on the Octoprint action, and that’s to run it on an Android phone with the octo4a project.

A modern smartphone has a lot of useful features that make it attractive as an Octoprint host. There is a built-in touchscreen, easy power management, a built-in camera, and the fact that people regularly upgrade to new phones means that older Android phones — still powerful pieces of hardware in their own right — are readily available at low cost. The project is still relatively new, so don’t forget to check the Octoprint community thread for this project if you give it a try.

If you are wondering what Octoprint is and what it brings to the table, our own Tom Nardi explained what it does and why it matters when he shared his own upgrade experience from 2018. A few details are no longer current — for example one is no longer likely to encounter a Printrbot — but it’s still a perfectly valid primer on adding great management functionality to a 3D printer.

21 thoughts on “Want Octoprint But Lack A Raspberry Pi? Use An Old Android Phone

    1. I do agree with this, and found the issue myself, as most micro USB phones do not support it, while most USB C phones do. Also, that ACA cable you link on Amazon? Tried it, garbage. There’s a switch on the side that does ONLY charge or OTG, not both at the same time. A USB C hub into my pixel 2 does work however.

  1. Great idea. I see one main problem: charging. You’re either stuck with keeping the phone plugged in all the time (they really don’t like that in the long run, can cause battery damage and may be even dangerous), or having it boot every time you start your printer and you have long boot times to contend with.

  2. Wish we could A version of Klipper to run on Android like this. For power it’s easy enough to either run straight DC 5v(since lipo is 4.2v charged it may work) or a diode if the 0.8v extra ends up being too much.

  3. This is why I think there should be a law about partially open-sourcing end-of-life products – this sort of thing could apply to millions of devices that are essentially worthless as phones but have years of life left in them as some sort of smart touchscreen device in myriad applications.

  4. Very late to respond, but I was looking into Octo4a and whether it could support the faster new Python 3.11 version eventually.

    So after looking into it a bit, it looks like this is not a straight-up rewrite of OctoPrint in Kotlin. Instead it’s bootstrapping an Alpine Linux userland (feelfreelinux/android-linux-bootstrap repo from Octo4a author afaict) and then installs Python and all other dependencies of OctoPrint that way, some “shims” for the camera and serial are written in Kotlin/Java/Android-NDK-C++ though.

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