Botton line on Octoprint

Give me the straight goods here, people. If I want to add octoprint to my ender 3pro max:
What do I actually need to buy and how spendy is it. ( Pi4? You gotta be kidding me. How about a 3a+?)
How bad is it to install the various wares?
Should I get someone else to do it?
And most importantly, is it worth it?

why do you need it and how many printers do you have?

You could use an old phone too.

I find it’s worth it if you have multiple printers to control, you want to monitor things via webcam (or remotely), or if you want to use some of the fancy plug ins, like bed level visualization.

The bad, if you are using a filament runout sensor, you’ll need extra time to hook it up to the pi and go from there.
You also lose that handy resume after power-loss feature my printers have. Power outages suck without a UPS.

You don’t need a pi4, but it does run better on one. I’ve run it on a pi 1 and 3, but haven’t tried a pi zero.

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Really? I has old phones.
I have two printers. Not sure why I need it. I’m always looking for better and faster prints.

yup, look here

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I was running it on my Prusa I found that I still needed to interface with the printer physically so my use of octoprint was limited to monitoring. I personally did not find that very useful I rarely have print issues with the Prusa so I never checked on it remotely. I just stopped using it.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Octopi. I run it on a Pi 3B+ connected to my MK3S+. I do all my design work and slicing from a different room to where the printer is located. The printer room also has a computer but it is not directly connected to the printer. The Octopi has a camera on it so I can check on the print from time to time.

I stopped using it for the longest time because:

  1. does not provide fail stats on the previous print.
  2. am worried that it is not 100% reliable on long hour print jobs, 1 day+.
  3. sometimes out of no where it resets the printer and I’m afraid it might happen related to item 2.
  4. Camera seems laggy at times and can’t help but wonder if Octoprint has reliability issues.
  5. uploading to the SD card and then printing from the SD card to increase reliability is super slow. It’s faster to load the SD card directly from your computer’s card reader.
  6. Sometimes the camera stops streaming and the only way I found to get it back is to cycle the power on the PI. Not so good if you are in the middle of a print job spooling from Octoprint. There is probably a fix for this, I just haven’t had the time to search it out. Anyone know what this issue is, let me know.

What I do like about it:

  1. I can send a print job to the printer without leaving the design/slicing room.
  2. Eliminates having to eject and insert the SD card every time, especially during prototyping. I think I wore out the contacts on a SD card.
  3. The camera is super nice. I use this even when I don’t have the Octopi plugged into the USB port of the printer. I can check the footage from any computer or cellphone on the LAN.
  4. Visual graphs on the hotend and bed temperatures are nice to see. At least you can tell what your printer is up to.
  5. Some of the plugins are nice to have.
    a) If you don’t want to update firmware thru Pronterface, you can also do it from Octopi via a plugin.
    b) The bed visualizer is nice too. Shows you how well your bed is level.
    c) The Octorelay plugin is cool too, if you have a relay board. I had one of the relays connected to the lights in my enclosure, but since moved them to the smart switches that run the rest of the house.
    d) You can control an enclosure fan too if you like.
    e) Slicer thumbnails is a nice plugin. You can view the uploaded file via a thumbnail. Let’s face it, some of the names we give our files are cryptic sometimes and we have no clue what it is. The thumbnail helps with this.
    f) PrusaSlicer can interface directly with Octoprint. If you set it up correctly, after you slice, there is a print icon you just click on and off it goes. No need to open the Octoprint webpage.

For small jobs and prototyping, I generally upload via Octoprint. It definitely is worth the having on a Raspberry PI, I don’t think a cellphone is a good idea, and whether it’s one or more printers, still good.

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