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19 Jan 2016, 7:50

3D Printer Journey Part 2: Raspberry Pi Camera Set Up

Continuing from where we had left off of from the previous blog right here. This blog is an update and final blog for this particular project as we have completed it. Being able to finish setting up the 3D printer and the Raspberry Pi with the Raspberry Pi camera and fixing the online interface.

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As mentioned previously, we are supposed to connect a raspberry pi camera to the printer in order to check the process of printing. After downloading both Raspbian Wheezy and Putty in order to be able to work on the Raspberry Pi, as my laptop does not have an Ethernet Cable port, I had to figure out alternatives in order to access the Raspberry Pi and camera.


We accessed the Raspberry Pi and camera by imputing the IP address of the camera and I was able to access them via a wireless connection. With help from these instructions, we managed to start up the camera and access it via our router’s IP address. In order to have achieved this, the main steps I did were as follows.

First after installing Respbian, we start with updating the Rasbpberry Pi with the following commands, line by line in putty.

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Next will be the camera installation 

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The camera will be working after that last command, but if there were any problems faced, we just went back to the instructions to solve them. If you would like to access the camera through Raspberry Pi, download Xming and open Xlaunch from all programs at the start button. After opening Xlaunch open one window key in startlxde and you should be able to the Raspberry Pi screen. However for everyone to be able to access the camera, we forward the port to create a virtual server.

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(Raspberry Pi Camera Holder by gryphius from ‘thingiverse’ here)

Since the Raspberry Pi Camera was connected, next we had to think about how to angle it to be able to capture the printing process. With the idea of a tripod in our heads, making use of ‘thingiverse’, which can be found here, finding a design for a Raspberry Pi camera holder (right above) we converted the file to a G-Code then printed it out with our 3D printer. Then mounting the camera onto this, the camera is now directed properly at the 3D printer to show the whole process of printing.

Whereas on ‘thingiverse’ you can find a readymade design, you have the ability of being able to create one yourself. DesignSpark Mechanical is a free software which can be downloaded right here, unlike other CAD softwares, DS Mechanical is not as complex and more user friendly. You can find out more on how to use that software, and in addition to that on DesignSpark there are a number of tutorials which can give a helping hand for a new user, all of these which can be found in the link mentioned previously. To find out more about DS Mechanical and how to use it, the links mentioned in ‘Learn More’ can be referred to.

Once completing your design on DS Mechanical you can save your file, in fact the software provides you with a number of options, but if you want to use the interface provided, it is best to save your file as STL then use the software slic3r to convert it to a G-Code file. To learn how to use slic3r, this is explained in further detail on the other blog which can be found in the link at the very bottom.

With the Raspberry Pi Camera set up and ready, we moved on to combining both the 3D printer and the camera together, writing a separate blog as we linked up both the web interface of the 3D printer and the link of the camera there with instructions on how to make use of it. Through this link, you can upload your G-Code file and print it using our 3D printer, and as that is happening, you can watch the whole process through a live video which is made possible because of the Raspberry Pi Camera.

This can be found right here.

Learn More:
DesignSpark Mechanical to 3D print
An Engineers journey from concept to 3D Print
Design & Build
DesignSpark Mechanical - Reverse Engineering

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19 Jan 2016, 7:50