Nov 29, 2018

2018 OctoPrint Guide – How to Set Up Your 3D Printer

OctoPrint is a fantastic web interface for 3D printers. This free, open-source program gives you the power to control, start, and monitor prints all from the browser! Find out more about OctoPrint and how to set it up in this step-by-step guide.

What Is OctoPrint?

The official OctoPrint mascot. Source: OctoPrint

So what exactly is OctoPrint, and do you need to use it?

OctoPrint allows you to:

  • Upload .gcode files from computer to 3D printer wirelessly
  • Control the printer manually (moving x,y, or z axis and extrusion)
  • Monitor print temperature and change printer properties
  • Set up a webcam to view in browser
  • Slice models within OctoPrint through CuraEngine
  • Customize with numerous plugins (you can write them yourself)

For many 3D printers, files are uploaded to the printer either through an SD slot or microUSB. This means you have to stick an SD into your computer, load the g-code onto it, and insert it into the 3D printer every time you want to print something. Even worse, printers without SD slots require a computer to be tethered to it whenever printing.

With OctoPrint, there’s no such inconvenience. It works with most every 3D printer to make controlling your 3D printer wireless. Though certainly not a must, thousands of hobbyists love using OctoPrint to make their lives easier.

What Do You Need?

A fresh Raspberry Pi 3. Source: TechRadar

To get started with OctoPrint, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Any Raspberry Pi (Raspberry Pi Zero W not recommended)
  • microUSB cable and power adapter to power the Pi
  • microUSB cable to connect the Pi to your 3D printer
  • microSD card (or full-size SD card) that fits in your Pi, along with an SD adapter to plug it into your computer
  • USB WiFi adapter to connect the Pi to the Internet (an ethernet cable to your router will also work here)

And of course, a 3D printer that works with OctoPrint.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

show product

1. Flash OctoPi Image

Source: OctoPrint

The simplest way to run OctoPrint is by using the OctoPi image to boot up your Raspberry Pi.

  1. Download the latest version of OctoPi (0.15 or newer).
  2. Unzip the downloaded image by double-clicking on it. You should have an image file ending in .img.
  3. We recommend downloading Etcher (free on MacOS and Windows) to flash the image onto your SD card.
  4. Insert your SD card. If you’re using a microSD, put it in an SD card reader / USB card reader and plug that into your computer.
  5. Open up Etcher. Select your SD card and the OctoPi image and click ‘Flash’. Let it run and you’re good to go!

2. Set Up WiFi Connection

Steps 5-7 (for someone in the US). Source: Tian Ooi / All3DP

Now that the OctoPi image is installed on your SD card, you need to input your WiFi name and password so your Pi can actually connect to the Internet.

  1. If Etcher ejected your SD card when it finished flashing, be sure to re-insert it into your computer.
  2. Open up your SD file (usually named “boot”). The SD should be located under your devices, where external drives usually show up.
  3. There’s a whole mish-mash of files in here, but don’t be intimidated. We’re looking for “octopi-wpa-supplicant.txt“.
  4. For Windows users, open the file in Notepad++. For MacOS users, open the file in TextEdit. In TextEdit > Preferences, select “Plain Text Format” and uncheck “Smart Quotes”. Alternatively, you can open the file in text editors such as Atom or VSCode.

Enter in your WiFi details and country code.

  1. Most WiFi networks are WPA/WPA 2 secured. In the first “network” block, remove the first ‘#’ from the four lines.
  2. Type in the WiFi network name in the “ssid” line (e.g. “Octopus”). Type in the WiFi password in the “psk” line (e.g. “OctoPrint2018”). Make sure to keep the quotes around each one.
    • Side note: If you want to let OctoPrint connect to multiple networks (e.g. home WiFi and phone hotspot), simply copy and paste the network block (4 lines) and fill in the details.
  3. Near the bottom, enter your country codeIf you’re in the UK, this is done for you. If you live in another country, enter a ‘#’ at the beginning of the first country line (UK) and remove the ‘#’ in front of the line with your country.
  4. Make sure those blocks match with the pictures above, especially with the ‘#’ matching up.
  5. Save the file and eject the SD card from your computer.

3. Connect to Your Pi

The Raspberry Pi, all wired up. Source: All3DP

It’s time to put all the pieces together. In this step, you’ll boot up your Pi and connect your Pi to your 3D printer.

  1. Insert the microSD into the SD slot on your Pi.
  2. Insert the WiFi adapter into a USB port on your Pi.
  3. Plug the microUSB cable into your 3D printer and the USB end into your Pi.
  4. Power up your Pi by plugging the power cable into the microUSB. Plug the other end to your power adapter.
  5. Turn on the power for your Pi and 3D printer.

4. Web Interface Setup

The lovely OctoPrint interface. Source: Joe Foulkes / All3DP

After the Pi boots up, you should be able to access OctoPrint through your local network. You’re almost there…

  1. Type in “http://octopi.local” on any browser (make sure your computer is connected to the same network as the Pi).
  2. You should see the OctoPrint interface and a setup wizard pop up. Follow along and be sure to set up a username and password for your OctoPrint.
  3. Connect to your printer by opening up the Connection panel on the left. With the options set to “AUTO”, hit Connect. If this doesn’t work, try manually setting the serial port and baudrate until it does.
  4. Once you’re connected, try moving your printer head around by hitting the arrows under the ‘Control’ panel.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up OctoPrint! Give yourself a pat on the back and have fun 3D printing!

License: The text of "2018 OctoPrint Guide – How to Set Up Your 3D Printer" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Subscribe to updates from All3DP

You are subscribed to updates from All3DP

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…Subscribe

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…

B719266D-CB2F-4571-9ABD-AFEC8A7D79DCB719266D-CB2F-4571-9ABD-AFEC8A7D79DCB719266D-CB2F-4571-9ABD-AFEC8A7D79DC