Ben Horton

Make Your Dumb Printer Smart With Cloud 3D Printing

Level Up Your 3D Printing.

The Problem with 3D Printers

3D printing technology has undergone remarkable advancements since its initial introduction to the public in 1984. Despite this progress, there remains room for improvement, as current 3D printers often grapple with issues such as unreliability and a lack of user-friendliness, particularly for those unfamiliar with the technology. Fortunately, continuous efforts are being made to elevate the user experience, and one example of this is the integration of cloud-based 3D printing.

What is Cloud 3D Printing?

Cloud 3D printing is the act of printing something on your 3D printer from a remote location, whether it be from your phone, laptop, or other mobile device. It also allows you to access, manage and monitor your 3D printing projects from anywhere with advanced AI failure detection capability. Essentially, by connecting your printer to a Raspberry Pi or computer, (such as a mini PC) you can view your printer remotely with a camera, as well as start and stop prints from your mobile device. This is a big quality of life improvement for 3D printer users who don’t want to be sitting by their 3D printers all the time to make sure they are running smoothly.

OctoPrint and Klipper

To connect to your 3D printer, you will need to use either OctoPrint or Klipper. These are both software (Klipper is more like firmware) that take the information from your printer and put it into a user-friendly interface and can help improve your prints. Both programs connect through your Raspberry Pi or mini PC. Additional plugins can give you access to other features such as remote monitoring, recording timelapses, and starting and stopping prints from your mobile device. Choosing between OctoPrint and Klipper is personal preference, but OctoPrint is generally seen as more beginner-friendly due to its more intuitive user interface and ease of setup.

What Do I Need to Use Cloud 3D Printing?

To be able to use cloud 3D printing, you will need a few things. Firstly, a Raspberry Pi or a mini PC will need to be plugged into your printer to be able to communicate with it and receive real-time information. Secondly, if you want live monitoring of your printer, you will need a webcam to connect to the Raspberry Pi or mini PC. If you are using a Raspberry Pi, you will also need a SD card for it. Lastly, you will need WiFi or some sort of internet connection.

How Do I Set Up Cloud 3D Printing?

After you get all of the required items, you will need to begin installing and setting up either OctoPrint or Klipper on your Raspberry Pi or mini PC. From there you will want to install a plugin for cloud 3D printing. If you are using OctoPrint, we highly recommend the Fabra plugin. Fabra has a great user interface, allows remote management and monitoring of your printer, and much more. If you are new to OctoPrint, I recommend checking out our other blog going over OctoPrint and the Fabra plugin here: