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Background:  I have a Micro 3D Printer, which runs (usually headless) off an OctoPrint server, running on a Raspberry Pi 3.  I moved a few months ago and the whole setup sat in a box until this weekend.

I start setting everything up again. I'm not a Linux expert by any means, but this thing is relatively plug and play, when it works. Fire everything up... led lights come on, it’s running headless (no monitor or keyboard) but I think it’s booted ok. Off to a good start.

The OctoPrint server presents a nice web interface you can use to control your printer, so I try to connect from my desktop.  No luck. 

Drag out a monitor, hmm... VGA, ok... dig around and find a HDMI to VGA adapter. Takes a little bit because none of my stuff is organized (AT ALL) but I eventually find one. Need a keyboard too... off to the garage to dig through more boxes.

Eventually, I return, keyboard in hand. reboot the Pi again... lots of scrolling text, so far so good. I go to log in... hmm... crap. I seem to have forgotten my login and password.  Try a few things, no luck.

Eventually, a few Google searches reveal the default login and password which I hadn't changed, so now I'm logged in. do a quick ifconfig (the linux equivalent of ipconfig.exe) and it looks like I've got an IP address, but it's different than the one I bookmarked for OctoPrint. Ok that feels like progress.

Back to the desktop, change the ip address.  still no luck. Think... what's different?  New router. There's no way it's connecting, and the old IP was hardcoded.

So back to the Raspberry Pi. Shut it down, pull out the SD card so I can edit the network config file on my PC. Dig around in more boxes for an adapter. 

Uhoh... my main PC doesn't have a slot to read it. hmm... ok, looks like one of my other machines does, so I pop it in. Open the folder. It closes. *sigh* repeat this a couple times.  Apparently this adapter isnt any good.

Find ANOTHER adapter, pop it in... try again. Folder stays open this time. ok good, open up the network config file and sure enough, the wifi info is wrong. change it to my new router, update the password, close it up. Stick the card back in the pi, boot it up… wait, wait… log in.  Try hitting it from my desktop. no luck.

hmmm… think think, I sorta recall something about the server needing to be on the subnet as whatever machine is hitting it, maybe?  Check the ip on my desktop… ok, different subnet. Raspberry Pi is on wifi, desktop is wired. try changing the ip address on the pi, go through all the steps again… pull out card, put in card, edit file, etc…  back in the pi, boot it up… try to hit it.  Nope.

I have two wifi networks (don’t ask) so I try connecting to the other one. just for grins I do a sudo apt-get update command on the pi. lots of errors and timeouts. Hmm… ok this thing OBVIOUSLY isnt actually connecting to the internet. That’s weird.  Go back and change it again, back to the original network. try running the update command again… same errors. Ok, what’s going on?

Take a break, grab a drink… walk around the house mumbling profanities under my breath… go back upstairs, and look at my network info on my main pc. hmm… Linux is case sensitive.  ok, take another look, sure enough… SSID is all caps, but not in the network config file. Feeling a bit stupid, and triumphant, all at the same time, I change it again… boot it up.

Holding my breath, I try to hit the server from my PC. Success!! Awesome…  but apparently I’m about 6 versions behind. Ok ok, fair enough. hit the update button, go look for something to eat downstairs. come back, reboot again.

ok, it says my printer is not connected to the server. click the connect button… wait… wait… nothing. I check the log tab… it’s trying, but can’t find the printer. weird. *sigh* ok, check the cables. Yes, it’s connected via USB to the Pi. Hmm… why isn’t the light on?  Oh, it’s not plugged in. Duh.  Plug in the printer, light comes on, reboot the pi, again.

so far so good, press the connect button… check the log entries, trying to find the right baud rate… hmm… fail. again.

maybe it’s the usb cable. go find another one. dig around in boxes. I should really organize this stuff better.  Eventually find another cable that matches, swap it out. Try to connect, still no luck. I hardcode the speed and port info, reboot, try again. Nothing.

All I wanted to do was just fire off a simple test print. *sigh*

Start checking versions. OctoPrint uses a few plugins, including one to make it work with the M3D Printer. Looks like that’s pretty far out of date too. Ok hit the update button. Says everything is up to date. Nope. Don’t see any way to force an upgrade, so… Uninstall the plug in, get the newest version, reinstall… All of this I can do remotely from my PC, so that’s nice.  Try to connect… still nothing.  What. The. Hell?!?

Need coffee… we’re out of instant. ok, MAKE coffee… wait…

Come back, un-hardcode the connection info, set it back to auto, reboot again. *sip*  OctoPrint pops up, detects the printer!!  Awesome, now we’re in business. Where did I put that filament?  I know it’s around here somewhere. Eventually find another box with my most recent filament order. Wait… should probably recalibrate the printer first.

Ok, recalibrating is fairly easy… takes about 30 minutes.  Mostly automatic, with some minor manual adjustments.  Ok, time to load the filament.  There’s a button for that too (I love this setup) so I warm the printer up, guide in some filament… ok I think it’s in. Tell the server I’m ready. 

Find a file to print, upload it, slice it. send it to print.

Buzz… whirr… click click… humm…  so far so good.  wait a couple minutes, *sip*

Go take a look at the print bed… there’s nothing on it. *sigh*  ok, cancel the print, redo the filament loading process again.

fire up the model again, send it to print.  wait… *sip*

Ok, now it’s working… I see filament on the print bed. Now to wait 7 hours for the completed print.  Come back an hour later, there’s filament EVERYWHERE EXCEPT THE PRINT BED…  Cancel the print job, clean up the mess. Take out the print bed. Clean it really well. Put it back in.

Start the job for the 3rd time. Go downstairs, eat dinner, help my youngest son level up his Pathfinder character.

Come back an hour later, looking good… still printing. Go to bed.

I love my printer, and I love OctoPrint, and I’m fairly fond of the Raspberry Pi, but man, some days.

UPDATE:

Less Successful…

image 

More Successful…

image

(Miniature not included.)

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2017 10:42 AM General Interest , Iot | Back to top


Comments on this post: Adventures in 3D Printing

# re: Adventures in 3D Printing
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2/16/17: Updated with pics
Left by Chris G. Williams on Feb 16, 2017 8:49 PM

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