It has been a while since I posted. School has been chaotic and I have been playing with my new “toys”. The Christmas of 2016, I got a 3D printer kit. The model is a version of the RepRap project‘s Prusa, invented by Josef Prusa. The printer is made by HICTOP and it is the Prusa Mendel i3.
The printer is the best tool I have now. The kit was 100% complete. It came with all of the parts and tools you needed to build the printer. The only tool that I had to get myself was a pair of scissors! The only problem was, I had to either have a laptop plugged in or get an SD card and transfer the g-code that Cura made and plug that into the printer and press start. I needed a streamlined solution. Something, where I could upload a model and the software, would slice it and start the print, all with a couple of keystrokes. Something that runs on a Raspberry Pi or other microcomputer. Something like OctoPrint.
OctoPrint is a 3D printer management software that runs on Raspberry Pi and other Linux-based computers. I had bought myself a $9 computer that was on Kickstarter called C.H.I.P. It came after a couple months (typical crowdsourcing). When I first plugged it in and made a makeshift AV cable, I got what I paid for. The graphics were terrible, and no software came with it (Python, LibreOffice, etc.). so it sat in my sensor and computer box for a while, until I found OctoPrint. All of my Pis were somewhat “booked” at that moment (Pi running Pi-top, Pi running flight simulator, and Pi used to develop the 2017 light show) so I could not run this awesome software until I remembered my C.H.I.P.
I was doubtful that a $9 computer was going to run an almost $300 3D printer. I read forums that said the C.H.I.P was capable enough to run OctoPrint and the printer, so I tried it. I installed OctoPrint from the source at GitHub (open source heaven), and it ran beautifully! This software allowed me to send a model, slice it on the C.H.I.P, and print it, all from the comfort of my couch.
My 3D printer is the best tool I have. Some people say 3D printers are only good at making useless knick-knacks, but it has some awesome DIY project potential (I made every bathroom sink in our house an optional water fountain).