OctoPrint et al

So, my main reason for wanting to get a Canvas Hub was to have easy one-click print support that works with the Palette; after playing with Slic3r a bunch last night I then realized I also wanted OctoPrint for its print queue functionality to decouple the print process from Slic3r (which turns out to be rather unstable at times, at least on the Mac). But it turns out that Palette’s OctoPrint plugins work with plain ol' OctoPrint, too. So I looked into building an OctoPrint node… and then realized I was overcomplicating things, since OctoPrint doesn’t actually need dedicated hardware1 — it just needs to be on a computer that’s physically close to the printer and has multiple USB ports available.

My desktop computer is physically close to the printer and has multiple USB ports available.

So I looked to see if OctoPrint runs on macOS, and yes, it does; there’s nothing Linux- or ARM-specific about it, as it’s all written in Python. The macOS-specific guide is an okay starting point, but I saw a few things that could be a bit simpler, so here’s what I settled on.

(Also note that these directions should also work for Linux and even Windows users! There’s no reason to build an OctoPrint hardware node if you already have a computer that lives nearby your printer!)

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The printer arrived!

So my new 3D printer arrived today. I went with the Artillery Genius, since it seemingly had the best blend of features and physical characteristics.

So far I like it, although wow the out-of-box experience could be a lot better. Not from the printer so much as from the software that drives it.

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Time to upgrade my printer

So, I’ve had a Makerbot Replicator Duo since late 2012; I bought it used at a significant discount (“only” $1200!) and it’s served me pretty okay. But over time, better, cheaper printers have come along, and my Replicator has gotten pretty unreliable. Actually it’s been pretty much hobbling along for the last several years:

  • The heated print bed stopped heating, due to it shorting out due to a well-known design flaw in the print bed connector1
  • One of the last firmware updates made it only compatible with Makerbot’s own proprietary software, which was very soon discontinued to upsell newer Makerbot versions
  • The left extruder stopped working at some point; the right extruder barely works
  • The hot end really needs new nozzles but the design is such that replacing the nozzle is very easy to crossthread/ruin the hot end2
  • And really it’s never been all that great, it was just pretty much the only game in town when I bought it

So anyway, yeah, this upgrade is long-overdue.

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