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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.

Setting up you RepRapWeb Raspberry pi b+ instance

Once you have a working IMG of the RepRapWeb application on your Raspberry PI you probably want to get it tricked out so you can get to controlling your 3D printer. This is a short description of what I did…

When login on to your image the login / password is not your standard one, it’s pi / raspbian. After the image was created I connected it to the network by hardwire to setup my static IP and WIFI. I used a “EDIMAX wireless 802.11 nano USB Adapter” and that worked great for me. Here is the link I used as a reference http://raspberrypihq.com/how-to-add-wifi-to-the-raspberry-pi/

My interfaces file looks like this and my static ip is 192.168.1.97

just run “sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces” make the changes and your ready to disconnect you hard connection.

_______________________________________________________________

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback

iface eth0 inet static

address 192.168.1.97

netmask 255.255.255.0

network 192.168.0.0

broadcast 192.168.1.255

gateway 192.168.1.0

auto wlan0

allow-hotplug wlan0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp

wpa-ssid “wifiname”

wpa-psk “password”

________________________________________________________________

OK my next step was streaming video because lets face it you need to see what your doing. This takes a little while but the directions I found are great. Just go to http://jacobsalmela.com/raspberry-pi-webcam-using-mjpg-streamer-over-internet/ and follow those instructions. You want to follow the instructions to set it up as a service.

** A little disclaimer at this point, as if this writing the reprapweb application does not have a video feed embedded in it. I talked to Andrew and he said he’s working on that now and it should be done soon. Until then you have to run a separate browser window for your video streaming. Not a big deal as mjpg_streamer has a default stream running on port 8080 so once your set up it’s a snap to use.

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.