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RepRapWeb VS OctoPrint as it relates to Raspberry Pi

I have Now installed and had a chance to review Both OctoPrint and RepRapWeb browser based 3d printer controllers installed on a Rasperry PI. One thing I want to make clear before I start is this is not an evaluation of slicing tools of which each tool comes with at least one. Since slicing is a time consuming process with larger models I found a Raspberry PI and it’s small CPU was just not the place to get that done.

So for now here is what I found, RepRapWeb is a cool new tool in the field, written entirely in Node.js for both client and server it’s a really great work in progress for building a controller but its really not ready for “Prime time”. As of this article, although it looks in the YouTube video that there is a integrated video component it does not have one yet; that is still in the works. So with no integrated video there is also no option for time laps videos either. The lack of integrated video was the show stopper for me as a web based controllers strength in my book is the ability to start a 3D print and then leave the 3D printer, checking it from your cell phone every once in a while to make sure something did not screw up. I know you could run a separate video feed on the Raspberry pi but I was looking for something I could view from my office and the company firewall only lets in port 80, so everything coming through that one port is a must. Another issue is the lack of security at the moment in the RepRapWeb, it completely open right now. OctoPrint on the other hand has a sign on, role based model in place to control the 3D printer.

The long and short of it is RepRapWeb has a great deal of potential if your hosting the application on a PC to use as a 3D print controller but right now as a Raspberry PI solution to control your printer remotely it still has a little ways to go. Id stick with OctoPrint.

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Using applications on home U-Verse network from the internet

First, this is really easy to set up and since its U-Verse you already have a static IP address that comes with the U-Verse router/server.

1) Step one, Get your external network IP address.  just type http://www.myipaddress.com/ in your browser and you get that.

2) You need to open the firewall for just the app you want. Any app you make available will be just a port on the external IP address. As an example my application which is on the default port 80 of an internal local server is set up as port 8091 of my external IP so I reach it with http://108.239.84.72:8091

a)  Go to U-Verse control panel by typing http://192.168.1.254 in you browser

b) In the top tabs select “settings”

c) Under settings select tap for “Firewall”

d) Select the top bar option of “Applications, Pinholes and DMZ”. You should see select a computer as step 1 and edit firewall as step 2. We are going to the step 2 first.

e) Near the bottom of page click “Add a new user-defined application”

f) This part is really strait forward –

i) give it a simple application name

ii) keep protocol on TCP

iii) Port range should is just the port where the application delivers the content in you local network. In a normal web server that’s 80 so the values for both is the number 80.

iv) Leave timeout empty

v) Map to host Port is just whatever you want it to be but remember that is the port your external access is going to be using, I used 8091.

vi) leave the application type blank.

vii) hit add to list

vii) select the back button. You should now be back at the select a computer page.

g)  Select you internal server by name or type it’s IP if you have a static on setup

h) down below select “Allow individual applications”

g) back at the edit firewall you can now see your new application in the list. Just move it over to hosted applications using add and your done.

OK that’s it you should now be able to test it using something from outside you local wifi network.

First thoughts on installing and configuring 3D printer Web Controller REPRAPWEB

I’m beginning my install and configurations of a new 3D printing web based controller from XYZBots and wanted to pass on a few things. This controller is pretty strait forward but it sits on a Raspberry PI b+ controller and having never set on up before I ran into a couple of things. First, Make sure you follow the direction on the software site REPRAPWEB when setting things up or like me when you first plug in your board you’ll get nothing but two solid lights on your board, one green and the other red. The issue is if the image you placed on the SD Micro card is not correct you get nothing and that includes nothing on the video to even tell you what is wrong. Below are my steps to get a functional image on the Raspberry pi b+. You’ll know you’ve got a good image as the red light on the board stays red and the green light flashes as it accesses the card.

1) Run “sudo fdisk -l”. Look at what is returned and then plug in SD Micro card and run again, you’ll see the new device name. Mine was.

“Device    Boot  Start End   Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 8192 62333951 31162880 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)”

2) Format the card with FAT32, I downloaded GParted app using Ubuntu Software center.

3) Download the latest image from software site REPRAPWEB. I took the image, I might play with the source some day but it won’t be today.

4) Unzip the Download into directory and go to it.

** before I go further you need to remember two things. First, be careful you run dd command against wrong device you will be in a world of hurt. Second, in the directions on the software download site it explains that Raspberry Pi for this install does not use partitions. If you just use the device name you found in step 1 without modifying it and push the image across it will install on the SD micro card but Raspberry pi will not function.

5) to install the code to the SD Micro card run the following. Obviously you need to use the right image name if it’s changed. What is most important is my Step 1 command returned and device of “/dev/sdc1” but my “of” parameter below only uses “/dev/sdc”. The reason for that is removing the last number from the device copies the code in one partition. Also an FYI is this stuff is case sensitive the “M” in the bs=4M needs to be capitalized, found that out the hard way.

sudo dd if=reprapweb-2014-09-09-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/sdc bs=4M

The command takes a while but once it completes you can plug in the SD Micro card to you raspberry and your good to go.