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3D Printing Question

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:34 pm
by teddysetgo
Hello, I am a STEM teacher (primarily programming, but branching out). My Raspberry Pi lab ONLY contains Pi computers (no Windows, Mac, etc.). And I would like to keep it that way.

I would like to get a couple of 3D printers. I don't know much about 3D printing. Will my students be able to download files from the web with their Pi's and then transfer those files to the printer (via SD, USB, WiFi, whatever) without needing a different computer as a 'middle man'?

I appreciate any advice.

Re: 3D Printing Question

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 9:40 pm
by drgeoff
Don't see why not. A file is just a file if you are not trying to open it.

Re: 3D Printing Question

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:32 pm
by teddysetgo
So nothing special needs to be done to the file before the printer can read it? It won't need to be run through any proprietary software that isn't available on the Pi?

Re: 3D Printing Question

Posted: Fri May 19, 2017 6:55 am
by gregeric
You'll need to slice the downloaded 3D object file into printable layers, .stl -> .gcode conversion. At this point you get to dictate the layer thickness, extrusion rate, temperatures, position on bed etc etc parameters to suit your printer.

That middle-man can be a laptop running eg Cura for slicing. You'd then either send the gcode over serial to the printer, or copy the .gco file onto an SD card & carry it across to the printer.

A neat alternative is to embed a Pi into the printer running Octopi. That gives a web interface to the printer where you can copy .stl files over and run Cura on the embedded Pi for slicing & printing. Equip the Pi with a camera & you can monitor prints in your remote browser sesssion.