Printing from afar (Redux)

I always thought leaving the printer unattended was risky.
I have never printed overnight. Recently. I noticed that the bed was taking a bit longer than usual to heat up. Routinely I pushed in the connector to the 12 volts to make sure it is seated properly.
I noticed it was a little warm.

Was this normal, I thought?

After finishing the print I checked the connector and this is what I found.

Melted connector

The connection had been arcing and the connector had been melting.

I checked the connector and it was rated at 10A. The bed as standard would draw around 11A, Yes there might be a derating factor for a lower voltage,


I chose to change the connector for one that is not pluggable.

So I was right; is it really safe to leave a 3d printer unattended? Probably not.

Is using the internet to start a print while you are not home a good idea?
I am not even going to try!

Thoughts on printing from afar

My thoughts on Octoptint (Octopi) and others are they may work, but I do not see the advantage (for me) of starting a print when I am not at home.

I always clean the print bed with window cleaner, move the XYZ axis to make sure things are connected and working as expected and then I make sure that first 2 circuits of the item actually print.
During winter months I have found that adding some cork sheets to the extremities of the print bed thelp prevent heat from escaping the bed and giving it a hard time to reach temperature. In the past I have found that when I leave the room for more than an hour or so I find that when I come back the nozzle is printing “air”

I read an account from someone who turned to brush their teeth and their printer caught fire. There are other accounts too. There are a lot of settings and parameters and which are the worse or more likely to cause overheating.

After reading the article it did scare me a bit. Good news, I am usually in the room when printing.
I do like the idea of a camera that I can monitor while I am in the next room. If I had a web cam I could monitor from another room, would I leave the printer now? No, not really.
In the article it made a mention that most 3d printers instructions have a clause that says to not leave the 3d printer unattended.
I have now purchased a smoke detector but I am not sure the best location to put it. I am thinking that it might be a good idea to place it by the fume extraction hood but I assume the airflow past the smoke detector sensor would be too fast to trigger.
I am also thinking of getting a fire extinguisher.

So I think I would not personally use one of these remote print servers for various reasons.

Octoprint (OctoPi) a quick testdrive

I have been reading a lot of buzz about Octoprint recently. It is basically a web server on the raspberry Pi with only one major function to interface to the 3d printer.
I have been using Pronterface to output to my 3d printer since I first got my 3d printer running. It has worked well up to now.
While it was too cold to 3d print, a short while ago I decided that I should reconfigure my Raspberry Pi to install Octoprint and see if I should change over to Octoprint

I loaded the Octoprint iso on to an SD card. I used a Raspberry Pi B+ for this experiment.

An interesting feature of Octoprint is that it allows adding a webcam to the Raspberry Pi and do a time lapse of your print either by a set period of time or on layer change.

I started by configuring the Pi with a password and user name.
I came across my first issue. Somehow by default it was picking up the wrong port.
Instead of ACM0 there was 1 character different it took me a while to realise it was not right. After resolving this then I connected to the printer. X,Y and home yes, it moved the carriages etc.
OK, now I want to see the webcam worked. Nothing, no video. Tried another web cam, still nothing. These web cams had all worked in my desktop Linux.
So I then started trawling through the help. I found the issue was that only some web cams are supported. Fine, I grabbed yet another web cam and plugged it in, success.
I then ran around the house trying to view http://:8080/?=snapshot or stream. Success. I tried it on my other computers and devices and I was excited I could see into the basement.
There was no time to continue; I had to continue the next day.
Well, the next day I started up the Pi and went to my devices, went to the stream web page – NOTHING, no video. I spent quite a bit of time scratching my head and muttering “but it worked yesterday”.
Next day I tried again; no video on my devices but there was video on the control screen page.

At this point I gave up trying to view on other computers and I chose to print. I found a simple item I could print and it would test the printing experience.

I could see the web cam on the control interface but just not the streaming interface elsewhere, so the camera was working I just figured it must be my network.
The print went well and the time lapse looks great. If only the printer could go that fast in real life.