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SandervG

3D PrinterOS goes Open Source

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We already liked 3D PrinterOS because of their efforts on improving the 3D printing experience and offering online classes with Ultimaker.

Now they also have opened up their development and went open source, hooray!

Have any of you guys used their software to connect your Ultimaker / 3D Printer to the cloud?

How did it go for you, and what advantages did it have for you?

That leads to another very interesting topic.. the cloud.

What would happen when it is more common for 3D printers to be connected to the internet?

It would make it very easy to gather information and use that information for example to predict print profiles and

give advice per X-hours to do maintenance etc.

Would you consider connecting your printer to the cloud a good thing or not?

Edited by Guest

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I really can't see myself connecting my printer to the cloud for the foreseeable future. I spent a lot of money on that machine, and I don't want anyone else messing around with it.

As it is, when a print starts, I have to hang around and make sure it starts off nicely. In almost every instance, once the print has started it finishes off quite nicely, so I can go and have a bath or jump into bed.

Another though: this whole "let's open up 3D printing to the world" jingoism is really not addressing the single biggest issue facing 3D printing: beyond the most basic of objects, 3D modelling is insanely difficult and it is this which is a far bigger issue than the printing.

What's the point in having a bazillion printers in the world, when only a tiny percentage of the population - perhaps 0.001% - know how to design things for them?

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I agree, that is a huge barrier we have to over come.

A smaller one, but a barrier nonetheless, is also materials.

The larger the variety of materials is, like different types of plastic but also with additional features like conductive filaments, magnetic, elastic etc will help more people see the benefits and will mean more people will get on the 3DP-train!

Software is indeed a big hurdle to overcome. Maybe the current CAD-modeling tools are not aimed for 3D printing (only 3D visuals maybe?), or even to be used for the general public.. but now that that market, and interest in CAD-modeling is growing I am sure attempts are made to make it more accessible.

How do you mean anyone messing around with it?

Like when you are not using it, someone could send a printjob?

Or, like sharing data and help make, for example, Cura do a better, automatic and personalized job? Or do you think that would be a bad thing?

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I would never connect it to the cloud. The first layer control. Removing the extruded filament that it's extruded to clean the nozzle start. It would need to be a different machine with more automated and psedorobotic features to be safely used remotely. And ofc I would not let anyone else but my control it. By gcode it self you can break stuff if you want to. I suppose that stuff could be 'controlled' but if you leave a machine open to others there's always the chance for them to ruin it even not intentionally. Also having an Ultimaker connected by usb it's no use since the usb print can have power fluctuations. So imo thanks but no thanks.

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It is just a personal hypothesis so definitely not a course we (< Ultimaker) want to take things, don't worry!

Thought it would be good to make that clear!

Looking at current state of things I also see countless reasons why you would not make your printer available for a unknown user. What about sharing data?

Like maybe it turns out everyone is only doing small print jobs, or low accuracy, or everyone is using bronze instead of PLA. Or people use it 24/7 or maybe just 25% of the time? Look at what has changed since the Internet kicked in. So much information and knowledge became available.

It could help in troubleshooting, have scripts do readings to find a broken component or even finetune your stepperdrivers or heaters (just thinking out loud).

Obviously it would make things very automated, and maybe take the fun out of things?

Is fun more important then reliability?

What is more important, the fact it is still personal, a craft.. the technique? or the prints/output?

Edited by Guest

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I think it would be cool to have an open discussion about it.

It can go a thousand different ways.. what are risks, wishes, benefits, biggest challenges to overcome?

We can all be of influence in what direction we are going :)

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The thing is - it's nearly impossible to protect anything that is connected to the internet.

The best protection is if nobody cares about it, hence no one attempts to hack / attack it. For now, it may be true that no one cares about hacking someone's 3D printer, but that may change in the future.

So, there is no way I'd ever use or buy a printer (or a printer accessory) that could enable someone to control the printer from the internet.

I am however working on an electronics platform that features a bluetooth connection to a smartphone, and an app that will be able to control the printer.

The bluetooth connection automatically acts as a barrier, because as soon as you (and your phone) go away from the printer, the connection is lost and control is disabled.

Gathering data, such as print profiles and material settings, could happen through the smartphone app (Though that would not be something I'd be willing to program myself).

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That is true.

But if you would ask me today, there is far more info on my laptop than there is on my 3D printer. My point being; we all 'agreed' (not like anyone asked me, but if they did.. I would still say yes) to connecting our laptop to the internet.

What is your main concern/worry in regard of your 3D printer?

What if you can not use it, only monitor it? Kinda like a read-only file?

And yes, the data could also be collected from a phone. Or the slicer.

But the slicer is only an indication, a lot can happen between the printer and the moment of slicing.

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I don't think it's about stealing information, but doing damage to the printer, or simply disturbing / sabotaging prints.

If it is possible to create a true read-only access to this data, then I'd be open for it. But I believe it would be very difficult to protect this program from being abused for a different purpose, such as controlling the printer, or even simply just gaining access to the other devices (computers) connected to the printer.

It's a bit early for me to go into too much detail - I've only just started putting my electronics designs together. Firmware (and feature) programming is still a few weeks out...

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What would be really awesome would be to pool the stats from users. Ask them to rate every job. Build a sophisticated database of materials, temps and speeds. The bigger the dataset, the more useful it will become.

This can be easily incorporated into the firmware. At the end of the job, ask to rate the quality of the print. Record the tem(s) used, the speed(s) and anything else you can think of. Allow the user to specify which brand/sort of filament used. In this way, we all help ourselves to predict the best settings for the job.

I just printed a fighter jet model I designed for my boys at 100mm/sec using ABS at 260C. It turned out as good as some of my better PLA prints at 40mm/sec. That's the kind of info we need to pool in a big way. The cloud works for that.

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Hi, This is John w/3DPrinterOS. I also felt the same way years ago with online banking and the potential security issues, but the reality is -- life is much easier when you do things in the cloud. Of course many people do not setup their printers correctly and the cloud can not help there, but once you learn to setup your printer properly with the right setting, right filament, and maintain it properly -- The next challenge is accessibility and time. Having access from anywhere, anytime provides a lot of hidden value with running multiple print jobs from the cloud.

You should try it out. It's free. I would not worry about someone hacking your printer as they system sends you notifications anytime it starts to print. Statistically the bigger risk is not being able to stop a print if something goes wrong and burning your machine. Or a bigger is than that is your slicer produces a bad gcode which you find out sent commands which broke your printer while you were away. The cloud technology we developed was designed for me personally to print 1000's of parts in a repeatable and scalable way. Since launch we have had over 8000 prints through our system in 1 month with zero issues :) Try it out, let me know what you don't like :) Best, John

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I just got my raspberry pi connected up to my printer and created an account on 3dprinteros.  I like the idea of monitoring my prints from online while at work.  As of right now, I think the biggest features for me will be using the webcam and being able to pause prints remotely if needed.  I've only had enough time to turn it on and look at my dashboard on 3dprinteros, have not printed anything yet.   I have the free user account.

First impression is that the frame rate is really low for the camera, but I think this is because they are taking a series of pictures, and not video.  Not ideal, but I can see it serving its purpose.  Also hooked an additional webcam to the pi and that secondary stream did not seem to work.  Maybe these features are better in the subscription version.

The interface looks friendly, but slightly confusing so far.... but I've only spent like 15 minutes total looking at it, and most of that was playing with the camera.

I'll share my thoughts as I test it out more.

Anyone else have experience using this service?

Edited by Guest

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Apart from monitoring or filming timelapse remotely and perhaps temp controls, there is no need to connect the printer to the cloud. If you want to release a product then release a highrez camera with basic um control, or just the camera, as bored hackers tend to spoil things. Any risk in a failed print is a nono. Especially if it going 50+ hours. You only really need to know if your print has failed to go back and start it again. I seriously dont understand all the people who want to be able to print remotely, its hard enough when you are next to the printer, and the chances of failure are extremely high so why bother? Just release a camera and worry about online stuff when the printers are more reliable during the start of the print.

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Apart from monitoring or filming timelapse remotely and perhaps temp controls, there is no need to connect the printer to the cloud.

 

I totally agree as a private person with max a few printers. But I can see it being beneficial for fablabs or schools if then could also have stuff like cue management and print hours registration.

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What are the other options currently for monitoring and controlling your printer remotely? Is there something more user friendly and feature rich right now?

@cloakfiend I agree, I wouldn't start a print remotely.

I think 3dprinteros is a great solution for schools and others who have been placed in charge of a multitude of printers and want a turnkey solution for managing all of the printers and print requests they have to keep up with.

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Ive not seen this printeros, but still don't understand the concept of queue management or any sort of remote printing as from what I've seen in shops and places with many printers, you have to be right there to clean the head before the print and load the desired spool. I don't understand the desire to manage your queue remotely if you need to be there to start the queued file anyways. You just need a spread sheet or something. This is way to naive a hobby/profession, to do anything print-wise remotely. the room for failure is massive. And considering the variance in heat sensors temps, its impossible to gather any reliable profiles about anything. You would need to guarantee heat accuracy before even thinking about brand profiles.

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