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Hello

I have some questions about the connectivity from Ultimaker to a pc network. There ist a network of user pc's and an Ultimaker 3. I want to install Ultimaker Cura on every pc in the network.So every user can print his own parts on this Ultimaker. My problem is that i want to know who is printing and how much material this person use. So i can manage the material usage. I have read this morning very much about plugins, Ultimaker Cura Connect and OctoPrint. But i don't really know which is the easiest way to generate this informations. I thought about a plugin, which send messages to an email or write the data in a local text-file. It seems that Ultimaker Cura Connect can't access to print history and that OctoPrint isn't easy connectible with Ultimaker 3. Is there an easy way or a plugin or something else?

Thank you very much

MarkusW

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This may not be the answer you are looking for, but the following method is extremely simple and it works well in an ethical environment with capable people.

 

Put a logbook and balance next to the printer(s), and require each user to weight his printed objects (including any waste), and let them write that down in the logbook. This is similar to the logbooks used for expensive equipment such as electron microscopes in universities.

 

Columns in the logbook could include: username; date; time of starting the print; time of finishing; material brand, material type (e.g. PLA, PET,...); color; weight of used material (including any waste, supports, skirts,...); which printer was used (if multiple); remarks/feedback. Do not forget a column for feedback and remarks, this is very useful. The logbook has to be filled in when starting a print, so that when a print is running, and you notice something is odd, you can immediately identify and contact the appropriate user, without first having to start up your computer, make a connection, and search through lots of files.

 

If required, you could then write this info into an Excel spreadsheet, to automatically calculate costs based on material brand, amount, printing time, fixed costs, etc.

 

If the users typically make long prints, and they need to plan ahead, a list for reservations for the coming weeks could also be usefull. Also similar to electron microscopes or other big equipment in universities, where projects need to be planned ahead.

 

Logbooks are a very common practice in universities, research labs, for any expensive equipment use, parts shops, chemical plants, in lots of other industries, aircraft, ships, etc... So most people are going to be familiar with it anyway. It is a low-tech, very simple, fast, and very stable solution.

 

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