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External Cura Connect Server?

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

It seems as if the cura connect software is hosted on an embedded web server within the ultimaker firmware.  Is there a way to not run it on the printer?  If I have to re-start the "master" printer due to an error or crash, it seems to lose all sense of progress of the other printers, among other data.  If I had it running in a VM on the same local network, it wouldn't matter which printer was on or off, and I could keep an external database, freeing resources from the actual printer CPU.

 

Has this been requested / contemplated before?  I've search a bit, but all I see are references to some sort of cloud service.  I'm thinking more of a downloadable set of software, like Cura itself, that can then be installed on a standard nginx / apache setup and used to manage my printers independent of cloud hosting or connectivity.  (I mean, if it runs on the printer itself, surely one could even put it on an RPi4 or some such if a VM or actual server was not available...  You could even print the case...)

 

Just a thought.  Would be curious to know if I'm the only one looking for such a thing.

 

Thanks!

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

Requested & cotemplated before? Yup. Actually possible? Nope.Theoretically you are right. I should be possible to do this, but as you might have guessed there is a bit more going on than meets the eye.

 

The main reason we hosted it on the printer is convenience; No extra hardware is required to set up the clustering. This is especially a thing within companies where you usually need the involvement (and thus approval) of the IT department for any and all new infrastructure.

 

Currently Cura Connect has a bunch of assumptions regarding what operating system (and with what other services) it's running. So should be possible to get it to run, but it will require a fair bit of work to actually do it.

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

Thanks for explaining a bit of the history. I’m sure there are all sorts of things going on that I’m not seeing. The irony of this is that I am using a fleet of Ultimakers to design and prototype a device running embedded Linux, which has lots more going on than meets the eye... 

 

Yes, the convenience aspect makes sense, especially if you are dealing with a large IT department and just want to get up and running quickly. However, long term, having IT bought in and proving some services could actually lessen the load on those operating the printers, especially if you have any significant number of them installed. It cuts both ways, in my experience. And I don’t think there is an exclusive answer. This one is firmly “(D) All of the above” in my mind. 

 

So how much work do you think would it take? A month? A year...?  Is there a list of required packages somewhere?  I don’t mind a little work if it keeps me from losing progress / connectivity on the whole set of printers every time the first one gets rebooted or crashes out... is it just some python code and external dependencies...?  

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

Unfortunately, Cura Connect Ultimaker Connect is not open source; even if you can just copy and modify some Python code, you may not be allowed to do that.

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

Note: don't hold me liable for any of the following information, it might not be accurate over time. It just reflects my current state of thinking in my role at Ultimaker.

 

We currently have no plans to make Connect work outside of a printer, and for sure not officially supporting people trying to do that themselves. We're focusing on using cloud technology to scale up the grouping of printers and scheduling of print jobs instead of a local server, because that's the only way that Ultimaker can guarantee service quality and the environment in which it runs. Also more and more companies want to buy SaaS solutions instead of owning and managing on-premise hardware.

 

In terms of effort to actually make it work, that's hard to guess as we haven't put further effort in pursuing this option (so no estimations were done). If you wanna have a go at it yourself, feel free to SSH into the printer an have a look around what's installed on the file system in terms of Python packages. I'm not sure if you're allowed to run your alterations commercially, but 'hobbying around' is fine I guess.

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?

One of the assumptions for Cura Connect is that it is running on a printer. CC will try to connect to this printer and keeps restarting when this fails.

 

Alternative approach (without any garuantees):

Get yourself an identical Linux board as used in the UM3 / S5: A20-OLinuXIno-LIME2-n8G for €48

Install the firmware using the procedures described on this forum for a bricked printer (insert an SD card with recovery image). 

The printer-part of the firmware will fail to start, but there is a good chance CC will start.

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Posted · External Cura Connect Server?
On 8/24/2019 at 11:50 PM, CarloK said:

One of the assumptions for Cura Connect is that it is running on a printer. CC will try to connect to this printer and keeps restarting when this fails.

 

Alternative approach (without any garuantees):

Get yourself an identical Linux board as used in the UM3 / S5: A20-OLinuXIno-LIME2-n8G for €48

Install the firmware using the procedures described on this forum for a bricked printer (insert an SD card with recovery image). 

The printer-part of the firmware will fail to start, but there is a good chance CC will start.

Although do note that since the firmware is closed source, you're technically not allowed to do this.

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