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January 19, 2016 07:25

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3D Printer Online Interface

Part 1:

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Our goal is to create an online interface whereby a user can access the 3D printer from anywhere via the internet. The users can then transfer their design to the printer itself, where the machine will print their designs whilst they are given the ability to monitor the whole process through the camera that will be set up. As a part of our project, we have assembled the 3D printer ourselves, where it is used in this project.

Read more on our journey in assembling the 3D printer here: 3D printer assembly

Part 2:

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As mentioned in part 1, we are supposed to connect a raspberry pi camera to the printer in order to check the process of printing. I downloaded both Raspbian Wheezy and Putty in order 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. However for everyone to be able to access the camera, we forward the port to create a virtual server.

Read more on our journey in setting the Raspberry Pi right here.

Printing:
Before Printing, Convert files to G-Code:

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Like most printers, our printer also prints from G-Code files. Hence software will be needed to convert STL flies into G-Code. STL files are the extension, '.stl' when you save designs after completing them on software such as DesignSpark Mechanical (mentioned in the blog for part 2). A program that can convert such files is Slic3r. Slic3r is an open source and free available via this link. Silc3r profiles needs to be set up for each certain type of configuration of a printer. To avoid reproduction of documentation, you can download and learn more about the config bundles from this link under 'Converting CAD files for printing'.

To start printing follow the instructions below:

After converting your file to G-code, access the web interface of the printer
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Once here, click on 'G-Code Files' button on the left hand side
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Upload your G-Code to the SD card using the 'Upload G Code File(s)'
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Once uploaded successfully, click on the green print button beside the name of your G-Code file.
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This will begin the process of printing.

To monitor the whole process click on this link here. (On this link you can just merely observe or even record a picture/video then download the file)

After printing your file please delete it (click on the button shown below) from the SD card memory to save space in the SD card of the printer. This can be done in the 'G-Code Files' section.
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If you would like to find interesting items to print, you can go ahead and explore on 'thingiverse' which can be accessed right here, similarly explore and make your own designs on DesignSpark Mechanical export the file as STL then convert it to a G-Code file using slic3r.

Read Part 2 of this post - Raspberry Pi Camera Set Up

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January 19, 2016 07:25

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