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OctoPrint and Raspberry Pi As a Standalone Print Server

A buddy pointed me to the OctoPrint Project a few weeks back and I’ve had it on the back burner for a while. After rearranging my home office and no longer having a place for my PrintrBot I decided it was high time to finally untether the printer from my workstation.


I referenced the Rasbian Setup guide on the OctoPrint Wiki for most of the setup. Pulling the source down and configuring was a piece of cake. I put the mjpg_streamer startup call into a text file and added the executable bit to it so star up is a simple, yet still manual process.

/home/pi/mjpg-streamer/mjpg-streamer-experimental/mjpg_streamer -i "/home/pi/mjpg-streamer/mjpg-streamer-experimental/input_uvc.so -f 5 -r 1280x720" -o "/home/pi/mjpg-streamer/mjpg-streamer-experimental/output_http.so" -b

The webcam is a Logitech C920, so I’m forcing 720p resolution instead of the default VGA. I chose to explicitly set the framerate at 5 fps as the auto detect was returning -1. Future plans include making this run as a service

OctoPrint Control Tab
The Control tab of the OctoPrint interface

The OctoPrint interface is very intuitive and uses some nice JQuery effects to improve the experience. Uploading Gcode is a straightforward drag and drop affair, or you have the option of using the standard file selection dialog. OctoPrint runs some analysis on the files when you upload, which can take a few minutes on larger objects.

OctoPrint Gcode Viewer
The Gcode Viewer of the OctoPrint interface

The Gcode tab updates real time as the print progresses.

One note on the Connection configuration: I was not able to get my Pi to connect when using Auto settings, so following the advice of a forum user, I set the Baud rate to 115200 and manually selected the appropriate TTY Serial Port.

The time lapse video rendering takes quite a bit of time after the print is completed. The method involved appears to be stitching a large number of jpeg files together into a stop motion video. This ~40 minute print created a 32 second video that took about 20 minutes to create.

Final Thoughts

This project is well worth the minimal effort involved. Once again my office is devoid of the whirring and whining sounds of the PrintrBot. No longer am I tied to my desk while printing, the laptop is finally mobile again. The time lapse video , while great to have, requires a lot of storage space and takes a substantial amount of time to render. I think once the novelty wears off I won’t be using it much.

Thumbs up to the OctoPrint team and all contributors.

One thought on “OctoPrint and Raspberry Pi As a Standalone Print Server”

  1. Hi,
    Good article. Thanks for the same. I was working on the same Rasp – Octo Print. It is working fine when connected to internet. I was expecting it to run standalone without internet connection and wanna change the UI look and feel.
    Is that option available? can you put some light on that.