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Maybe (probably) a stoopid question...

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#1
OK, I haven't researched this to any extent at all but what is the benefit of using a Raspberry Pi on your 3D printer? I see there is a new Pi 4 out now. I have the latest version of the Pi 3 in a RasPad touchscreen pad. I'm too blind to use the 10" pad so it sits on the shelf virtually unused. If I can put the Pi 3 to use on the printer then why not? For now I'm using a very capable Dell Laptop with Windows 10 Pro, an i5 processor and 16gb ram when I interface with the Ender 3. Pronterface is giving me com port fits yet again for absolutely NO reason and if I can use the Pi to get around that then I'm all in. I'd love to see links to what is involved.

Joe
 

dutchmonkey

Well-known member
#2
Well i set up my pi3 with octoprint and a web cam so i can watch and print remotely. That's about the best thing i can think of for a pi and 3d printer. I also think there is a slicer app for pi so you can slice at your printer too.
 
#3
From what I understand, but I'm not an expert, the benefits are mainly:
1. Controlling the printer from a remote location.
2. Monitoring the printer from a remote location. (As mentioned above)
3. Transferring print files to the 3D printer over LAN (instead of being tethered to the slicing machine, or transferring via SD card)
4. Changing the printer settings using a web interface (wireless), instead of the control knob on the printer itself. (More or less a specific section of #1)

I had heard many people reference using a Pi which their 3D printer, and didn't understand for what purposes. dkj4linux was the first one I saw using a Pi, in this fashion, and he loves his, and I learned the basics benefits from his posts and photos. I did more reading about it, and see where it can benefit some people and their setup or needs. There's lots of YouTube vids showing various options, and setups. But all of them have the same basics.

For some people it's a huge benefit, for others, they did it because they could, or wanted to prove they could, but didn't truly gain a lot. Personally I haven't decided for me if this is the path I wish to take or not. I believe it's all a personal preference, and most of it fits into the "nice to have" category. With that said, the main benefit I see for me, is the transferring of the files. The others "options" would be because I could, once I solved the transferring of files problem, instead of moving a SD card back and forth, being I've elected to not have mine tethered. I did elect to have my printer in the room that I am in the most. Some people want their's in a basement, and don't want to have to go "downstairs" periodically to check on the print.

But again, I believe there is no correct answer, as much of what benefits can be gained, by choices people have made to how/where they plan on using the printer.

I hope this helps some (being I didn't provide any links).
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#4
So it sounds like since I already have the laptop that has seen little use since retirement that I should stick with that instead of investment of time and maybe more expenses to go with the Pi? If I can just figure out the random com port issues with Pronterface I'll be quite happy. I had the same problems even when hooked to my desktop computer also running Windows 10 but I never removed Cura and never got Pronterface to work on the desktop. Removing Cura from the laptop then freed the com ports and Pronterface worked for a long, long time. Now it is refusing all com ports again and Cura has NOT been reinstalled. At this point I'm not sure if it's Pronterface or Windows 10 that is causing the problems. I finally started feeling semi comfortable using Pronterface and for God's sake I seriously don't want to have to deal with learning yet another program. Especially one that is Linux based. If Linux ever gets away from using command lines I'll drop Windows in a heartbeat!

Joe
 

dkj4linux

Well-known member
#5
.. If Linux ever gets away from using command lines I'll drop Windows in a heartbeat!

Joe
I question how serious you really might be with your statement -- and I'm not taking you to task -- but the Linux command line hasn't been a "requirement" for 20 years. It's still there and quite useful, but not a requirement... no different than CMD is to Windows. The real question is how dependent you may be on certain applications that are Windows only. I use Chromebooks and Linux Mint machines almost exclusively for all my needs... and rarely have to use the command line. Fire up your Chrome browser, or find a recent Chromebook with Linux (beta), and see how well you can get along without locally-installed Windows applications for a while. There are cloud-based and graphical Linux programs for almost every need. And Linux desktops abound...

Again, I'm not trying to be offensive... but you need to "revisit" your Linux experiences if you're really serious about dropping Windows "in a heartbeat". ;)
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#6
So it sounds like since I already have the laptop that has seen little use since retirement that I should stick with that instead of investment of time and maybe more expenses to go with the Pi? If I can just figure out the random com port issues with Pronterface I'll be quite happy. I had the same problems even when hooked to my desktop computer also running Windows 10 but I never removed Cura and never got Pronterface to work on the desktop. Removing Cura from the laptop then freed the com ports and Pronterface worked for a long, long time. Now it is refusing all com ports again and Cura has NOT been reinstalled. At this point I'm not sure if it's Pronterface or Windows 10 that is causing the problems. I finally started feeling semi comfortable using Pronterface and for God's sake I seriously don't want to have to deal with learning yet another program. Especially one that is Linux based. If Linux ever gets away from using command lines I'll drop Windows in a heartbeat!

Joe
I'd suggest giving Cura another try - their recent versions work pretty darned well. Setup for a slice is pretty easy, and it interfaces with nearly every printer out there. I know, it's not Pronterface, but the new versions are pretty user friendly. :)
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#7
I question how serious you really might be with your statement
I'm quite serious actually. I've been toying with Linux in many, many flavors starting with Ubuntu way back in the early 2000's and a year or two ago I took my old Windows Vista box and installed an early version of Linux Mint. Not sure what version off the top of my head as I haven't fired it up in many months. I'll concede that Linux has way more pros than cons but having to remember command lines (and I'm most likely using the wrong nomenclature for Linux) to download/install/configure brings me back to the days of DOS. I learned and got pretty good at writing autoexec.bat and config.sys files back then but now I expect the operating system not to need those inputs from me. It seems Linux should have .exe type files like Windows to eliminate the need for user interaction. The only real pro I'll give to Windows is that it is user friendly (UNTIL there is an issue) Linux has a learning curve that I don't want to deal with while dealing with the learning curve of 3D printing and the programs associated with it. If I use Linux and I'm 100% open to using it it must WORK in the background WITHOUT input from me while I use programs written for for it in Linux.

To be honest I loved the speed and beauty of Linux Mint and would be willing to use my dedicated Linux Mint box strictly for 3D printer use but I don't feel it will be without learning related frustrations in addition to the Linux based 3D printing program frustrations I've been dealing with lately. One learning process is enough but two are out of the question. I do see Linux being prominent in my future though. Just not sure when.

Joe
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#8
I'd suggest giving Cura another try - their recent versions work pretty darned well. Setup for a slice is pretty easy, and it interfaces with nearly every printer out there. I know, it's not Pronterface, but the new versions are pretty user friendly. :)
I create my "masterpieces" on my desktop box using TinkerCad and slice them with Cura latest version. I then save the files to the MicroSD card and take them to the Ender 3 and print them. Easy. Cura and Pronterface simply refuse to coexist on the Windows 10 laptop. My previous Pronterface com port issues went away after I deleted Cura on the laptop. For some reason everything was just fine for many months and now all of a sudden Pronterface can't work with ANY com port on the laptop.

To make a long story short I've designed a part that will allow me to use a digital micrometer for measuring stepper travel and make more accurate stepper adjustments. Now that I have my files completed Pronterface takes a massive dump on me and I can't communicate and make any adjustments in the Ender 3. :cry::cry::cry:

Joe
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
Well, that breaks down to whether it's a software issue with Pronterface, or potentially an issue with a Windows 10 driver, then. It wouldn't surprise me if it were driver issues; I've seen LOTS of complaints with the latest Windows 10 service pack updates of USB drivers no longer working for game controllers/USB connected transmitters for various RC simulators. It could also be an issue with compatibility of Pronterface and your current version of Windows after a service pack update as well.

Keep in mind, I'm making complete guesses on this, but I'm applying a lot of the same troubleshooting mentality I apply for my job (I work in tech support for a software company) so it's things to potentially chase down.
 

Turbojoe

Well-known member
#10
Somethin' just ain't right! No matter what I tried yesterday and the day before Pronterface or Windows wouldn't give up COM 4 to the Ender 3. Now today I give it another shot and voila! COM 3 AND 4 are in the list in Pronterface. I select COM 4 and all is hunky dory. I don't know if it was temperature, time of day, planetary alignment or what but I used it long enough to input the stepper changes I needed. I just now installed a new extruder that finally showed up so now will probably need to re-calibrate the extruder steps tomorrow. Hopefully everything gets along again tomorrow. It's after midnight. zzzzzzzz

Joe