Set Up Multiple Octopi loaded on Raspberry Pi Zero

Setting Up Multiple Octopi on One Network

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Set Up Multiple Octopi loaded on Raspberry Pi Zero
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More printers are being released with Wi-Fi as a feature, but many are without Wi-Fi.  So, wouldn’t it be nice if you could add Wi-Fi to your printer?  Problem:  I have three MonoPrice Duplicator i3s in my garage.  When I print to them I place my .gcode file on a mini SD stick and then run it to my garage to print the file.  While this may not be a problem to most, for me with three kids I can’t stay in the garage all day or night ensuring my print doesn’t fail.  Luckily there is a solution in a little operating system called Octopi which can be loaded to a small hobby computer called Raspberry Pi.  Raspberry Pi has Wi-Fi and USB, so it can easily be plugged into your printers USB port and connected to your home computer via your Wi-Fi and a handy local website.  In this tutorial I will be giving complete step by step instructions on setting up Octopi with OctoPrint on multiply Raspberry Pi Zero.

What do We Need?

  • Raspberry Pi 1,2,3, or 0
  • Raspberry Pi Case
  • Mini SD Card
  • Mini SD Card USB Interface
  • 5 Volt Power Cable
  • USB to Printer Cable
  • Raspberry Pi Camera
  • Raspberry Pi Camera Cable
  • Raspberry Pi Camera Mount
  • M3 screws w/hex heads, washers, and nuts (to assemble and mount camera mount)

Let’s put it together

I opted to use Raspberry Pi Zero’s because of the substantial price savings, but with a savings in price comes other issues.  The Pi Zero uses Micro USB’s, so you will need to buy USB converters or cables which have a male micro USB end.  Also while the Pi Zero uses less power it is also slower than other versions of the Pi.  Now knowing all that, it will cost you about $10.00 per Pi Zero compared to $30 for a Pi Two or Three.  As long as you don’t use the HDMI video out, the speed shouldn’t be an issue.   I have taken many time lapse videos with mine since building it.  So what are the steps?

Step One.

We’ve got all of our parts on hand and are now ready to assemble and program the Pi Zero.  My Pi Zeros were bought from Micro Center (on sale for $5 each) and the cables, adapters and cameras came from AliExpress.  I paid $1 each for the cables and adapters and $10 each for my cameras.  Download the latest Octopi Print OS from OctoPrint.org.  You will also need to download an .ISO image file extractor like IsoBuster, CDmage, Daemon Tools, or Winrar .  Once you’ve installed one of these use an USB CD card adapter and plug in your blank SD card.  Now use the .ISO extractor program you choose too extract the contents of the .ISO OctoPrint  file to the SD card.

Step Two.

First we must configure the Octopi-network.txt file.  While the SD card is attached to your computer open the Octopi-network.txt file with Wordpad or any other text editor.  Uncomment your flavor of security for your home network by removing the pound signs (#) directly at the beginning of the lines.  Now enter your SSID for your home network and password.  That’s all you need to do, now save the file and exit your editor.

Network
Octopi-Network.txt

Step Three.

Eject the SD card from your computer and insert it into the MicroSD card slot on the Raspberry Pi Zero as shown in the picture below.

pi

Now plug the power into the Micro USB 5V Power connector on the Pi Zero.  The power LED will light on the Pi Zero indicating it is reading the operating system from the SD card and loading.

Step Four.

This will be the most important step, we will now configure the Host name so we can run multiple Pi Zero’s.  You will need to download and install PuTTY.  PuTTY is an SSH telnet client, that we will use to access Octopi on the Pi Zero through our Wi-Fi connection.  It is possible to attach a keyboard and screen to the Pi Zero but not necessary as the PuTTY will allow us to access the Pi Zero without the need for extra cables and hardware.   Next download and install Bonjour Print Services for Windows. This will allow us to access the Pi locally at Octopi.local.   After installing PuTTY, click on the desktop icon and the PuTTY Configuration window will open.

PuTTY Configuration

In the Host Name (or IP address) type Octopi.local and click open.  There is no need to change any of the other default settings.

Password

To login type “pi” and the password  “raspberry”, you change the password later.

Pi

Type “sudo raspi-config”.Config

Select “2 Hostname” and change it from “Octopi.local” to “Octopi1.local” or any other name you want to use.  It is very important that each Raspberry Pi Zero have its own unique Host name or they will crash when trying to access the network, because you cannot have two or more devices with the same Host name on the same network.  Next select “5 Interfacing Options” and enable the Raspberry Pi Camera.  After you return to the main screen select “Finish” and answer the question “Would you like to reboot now” with “<YES>”.  The Pi Zero will then perform a reboot, which will shut down your PuTTY connection.  This step will have to be repeated with each of your PI ZERO’s, so each has their own unique Host Name.

Step Five.

Let’s configure the Octopi1.local interface for your printer. Type Octopi1.local into your browser and you should see the following screen:Access Control

Use this first screen to assign a logon name and password.  This is not necessary if you are the only one using your network or you don’t have access to your local net from other networks.  In that case you can disable access control.  Next go through the automatic setup and describe your printer to OctoPrint.  You will need to know your build plate dimensions, Bandwidth, number of extruders, and the USB port name.  At this point we are ready to attach the board and camera to the printer.

Step Six.

This is the final setup step and in this step you will need a box to mount the PI ZERO and camera box and a way to attach the camera to the printer.

PrinterPrinter

 

 

 

 

DoneFinally, click on the CONNECT button to have full remote control of your printer and be able to monitor it from anywhere in your home.  You still have to go to the printers to ensure your printer is level, feeding filament,and operating properly at first.  The rest of the print can be monitored in the warmth of your home.

In Conclusion.

Octopi is a great operating system for remote automation of your Maker Space and easy to set up.  With steps given in this article you should now have complete control of your Maker Space from a distance.  OctoPrint is constantly being upgraded and even has the ability download and install plugins created by other users.  For example you can download a plugin that monitors filament and pauses your print when the filament runs out.  With the use of Raspberry Pi Zero cost should not be a problem when setting this hardware and software up.  Finally, understand OctoPrint while it is free to install and use is a project of love and respect.  If you feel the same as me please support Gina Häußge over at patreon.com, so she will continue her love of this hobby.

 

14 Comments
  1. Anders Jackson says

    A tip. As step one, use Etcher instead. That is what https://raspberrypi.org/ recommend, and it is much easier than the other tools I used.

    And yes, you forgot to change the password for the user pi. You should probably use the command “passwd” or use the selection “1” in the “raspi-config” command.

    I have not tried the OctoPrint for Raspberry Pi, but I know that when you install an ordinary Raspberry Pi, you need to create an empty file to start SSH server on the Raspberry pi. Could be good to know for future installations.

    Anyways, I will try your installation to see if I can set that up for my printer.

    1. Henry Jolly says

      Thanks for the advice. “passwd” is a great shortcut command, I’ll use it in the future. I have had some experience with the Unix OS in the past and had forgotten about this.

  2. Tom Baxter says

    Thank you for the guide Henry, and for the tip Anders! Setting up OctoPi seemed a little daunting as I haven’t done it before. This guide made it look so simple. I have been really busy with work lately, but as soon as I can get some time I want to give this a try.

  3. Richard Bynum says

    So cool that we’re able to do this! Rasberry Pi is amazing! Thanks for the step by step instructions. Even I think I’ll be able to get this done! Ha! It’s great to have a camera set up to monitor the progress and have a connection to the printer when it’s a hassle to physically get to the place it’s at! Great program too!!!

  4. Justin Flugum says

    Thanks for the guide I have a Pi but, I just set it up with one printer. I do have 2 printers right next to each other so it makes sense to have more than one machine hooked up to it.

  5. Jeff says

    These later 3D printers are awesome

  6. Darren Scrubb says

    Rasberry Pi looks great and I will be happy to try it soon for sure.

  7. Asgor Reidaa says

    Thanks a lot for information (guide).

  8. CyberReefGuru says

    Henry – I’ve found the Pi zero to be a little under powered for some prints. I’ve seen artifacts when printing from the Pi using serial that don’t exist when printing from the SD card. I’ve upgraded to the Pi 3 for all my printers that have video capture. If these are not an issue for you, given the super inexpensive cost of the Pi zero, it’s definitely an excellent choice.

  9. Patrick says

    Several statements in this article are wrong, such as when you say to get “mini USB” cable and “Mini SD card”. Mini SD cards don’t exist, you meant microSD cards, and mini USB connectors do exist, but don’t work with raspberry Pis, which use Micro USB. Also the “Raspberry Pi 1” as you call it does not use a microSD card, but a full size, regular SD card.
    You also failed to mention that with the raspberry Pis before the Pi 3, as well as with the Pi Zero (non w) model you need to either use a wired Ethernet connection, or a usb WiFi adapter. It’s sad that this article had so little (if any) proofreading, which would have caught these obvious mistakes. It’s also confusing when you’re so inconsistent between calling them (for example) “Pi 2” and “Pi Two” when it’s normal never written that way.

    1. Daniel Faegnell says

      Notified the Author. Thank you! /Daniel

  10. Nuttavoot Chupanya says

    So you are using Orange PI Zero W not original Zero.

  11. […] To login type “pi” and the password “raspberry”, you change the password later. Type “sudo raspi-config”. Select “2 Hostname” and change it from “Octopi.local” to “Octopi1.local” or any other name you want to use. It is very … (read original – story…) […]

  12. Shane says

    I thought this guide was how to setup multiple Octopi on a single Raspberry Pi device.

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