Sunday 12 November 2017

Lulzbot Mini Upgrades

I’ve recently acquired a second hand lulzbot mini 3D printer, this is a great little printer but it’s a little  noisy, so I decided to try a few upgrades to reduce the noise levels. Starting with the electronics enclosure cooling fan, and adding stepper motor dampers.

LulzBot Mini Printer GET:
Printed Solid Enclosure GET:
NEMA17 Stepper Damper GET:
NEMA17 Cork Damper:
24V DC Quiet Fan:

Lulzbot Y-Axis stepper motor damper installation guide:

Giant LEGO Projects Here:

More images and videos on Instagram and twitter:

My 3D Printer Setup:
LulzBot Mini Printer GET:
Lulzbot Taz6 Printer GET: 
Lulzbot Taz5 Printer GET:
Lulzbot Flexystruder GET:
Lulzbot MOARStruder GET:

Thursday 2 June 2016

TAZ 5 OcotPrint on Raspberry Pi keeping it running

I had some issues with the Pi locking up, or the WiFi connection being dropped. So I have added a cron job to check the WiFi link, and also enabled the watchdog timer on the Raspberry Pi to check for a complete lock  up.

WiFi Ping Test

for the Wifi part I did the following using this guide:

Create a bash script to check ping on the wlan0 network:

> sudo nano /usr/local/bin/

Add the following to the script:

# find the router gateway to ping
IP=$(/sbin/ip route | awk '/default/ { print $3 }')
#echo $IP
#interface to check
#echo "Starting ping test on $iface"
#ping -c4 -I $iface > /dev/null
ping -c4 -I $iface $IP > /dev/null
if [ $? != 0 ]
  echo "Ping test on $iface to $IP FAILED!  Resetting $iface"
  sudo ifdown $iface
  sudo ifup $iface
  echo "Done"
This script gets the default gateway address and pings it, if there is no reply then the wlan0 interface is reset.

Now I added this to the sudo crontab, as follows:

> sudo crontab -e

adding the following line:

*/2 * * * * /usr/bin/sudo -H /usr/local/bin/ >> /home/pi/log/cron.log

This tells cron to run the script every 2 minutes, and log output to the file /home/pi/log/cron.log, so we need to add the log directory to the home directory:

> mkdir /home/pi/log

Now if the WiFi is reset a log is made within this file, also when you are testing the operation some of the echo commands can be un-commented in the script so you can see more debug stuff!

Watchdog Timer

I followed this guide on Ricoardo's Workbench

Once configured as per the guide, the watchdog timer checks the load on the system, and if it is greater than 25 pi's would take to execute in one minute, then it resets the system. I have not checked this is working.. Now you can also add a ping test within the watchdog, however, it happens every 10 seconds, and I don't really want to reset the system if the WiFi goes down, hence I left it in the cron job. I believe the watchdog can be set to a maximum of 15 seconds on the Pi.

Pi Camera TAZ 5

I want to keep the raspberry Pi outside of the cabinet so that the panel is accessible, and to keep it out if the heat! In order to do this I needed to extend the camera. I found this great HDMI extension kit, works well and makes camera positioning much easier!

TAZ 5 OctoPrint in Pi

I have taken the OctoPiPanel code and tweaked it for my use. It's a great idea to have some visual feedback and control on the Pi tft screen, but I wanted to make some changes to the default code. I have made the buttons and text larger, and removed a couple of buttons I wouldn't use. Also added the IP address of the Pi, so that when running on DHCP I can log in easily. And the file name to the top of the screen.

Friday 20 May 2016

Adding PiTFT Panel

So next I'm going to add the Adafruit PiTFT panel. First I follwed this tutorial to get the panel working:

Adafruit PiTFT Install

Then follow this tutorial to install the OctoPrint interface:

OctoPiPanel Tutorial

Having got this all working, the python interface seems to be hogging the Pi processor ( 50 to 60%) and slowing everything down, so I'm going to remove it from the startup for now:

> sudo update-rc.d octopipanel remove

TAZ5 updated spool holder

Here is the updated spool holder. Works great! I put 6mm studding down the middle with a nut either end to add strength.

TAZ5 OcotPrint initial test

So I have ran my first print over octoprint. At first I didn't have much success, I tried to run the print by selecting a file from the SD card. Although the file loaded, I couldn't get it to start, when I pressed print heating did not start. Would like to get this working as I would imagine if the ocotprint server failed the SD print would continue?

Anyway, I did get a print working by simply dragging and dropping a gcode file created in S3D straight on to the interface, and printing locally. All worked very well, including webcam/time-lapse.

When annoying issue was that the cancel print button would wait for the last command to complete, so if the bed was heating, you couldn't do anything until it has finished the heating period. I got around this by adding the M112 E-Stop command into the Cancel script. This does the job but does also disconnect the printer.

TAZ 5 with OcotPrint running on Raspberry Pi

I've had a Rev B Pi sat around on my desk for at least 5 years now, and have been trying to find a use for it. So my latest desire is to have it setup on the Taz to run OctoPrint utilizing the webcam for remote viewing of the print progress. This post is here simply for my own reference so that I can repeat various steps to get the Pi up and running again should I need to.

There is an SD image already created based on Raspbian called octopi. This is probably the simplest way to get started, however, I already had Raspbian installed and would rather do things manually, so I started by following these steps here:

Setup on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian

I configured as per the instructions, I do remember running into a missing library at some point, but can't think what it was, something to do with python-dev?? anyway, a google search turned up the answer. I did the following:

  1. Install OctoPrint
  2. Add mjpg_streamer for webcam
  3. Configure to start on boot as server
  4. Add system commands to ocotprint interface
  5. Make everything accessable on port 80

Some important file locations:

Webcam configuration:

I modified the webcam resolution and frame rate as I found it was swamping the wifi link on the Pi, and would often kill the network interface. My configuration looks like this:

camera_raspi_options="-fps 4 -x 640 -y 480 -q 20 -sh 100"

Edit using: nano ~/scripts/webcamDaemon

The hidden Ocotprint configuration file:

Edit this file using
nano ~.octoprint/config.yaml
haproxy config files:

Currently my file has some modifications to add actions to the OctoPrint interface so that I can start and stop the webcam stream, and reboot the system. Also this file contains webcam configuration, which can be accessed and changed via the OctoPrint interface. However, for changes to take effect OctoPrint has to be re-started and the browser will need refreshing. Additions to my config file are as follows:

  - action: streamon  
   command: /home/pi/scripts/webcam start  
   confirm: false  
   name: Start Video Stream  
  - action: streamoff  
   command: /home/pi/scripts/webcam stop  
   confirm: false  
   name: Stop Video Stream  
  - action: reboot  
   command: sudo reboot  
   confirm: You are about to reboot the system  
   name: Reboot  
  - bed: '110'  
   extruder: '245'  
   name: ABS  
  - bed: 60  
   extruder: 180  
   name: PLA  
  ffmpeg: /usr/bin/avconv  
  flipH: true  
  flipV: true  
  watermark: false  

Usefull stuff:

To start/stop services:

sudo service octoprint {start|stop|restart}
sudo service haproxy {start|stop|restart}
~/scripts/webcam {start|stop}

So what next. I setup a no-ip account so that I could have a web address I could access from anywhere that would re-direct to my OctoPi. To do this I installed the noip service on the Pi, which updates the dynamic IP address to my no-ip hostname, instructions here:

Install no-ip DUC on Raspberry Pi

Or this one, which has the auto start instructions:

No-Ip with auto start on boot

I changed the default hostname of raspberrypi to somehting else using this guide:

Change hostname

As yet I have not got an easy way to find the OctoPi on the network without knowing it's IP address. working on this...

Tuesday 17 May 2016

TAZ 5 Cabinet Temperatures

Just ran a 30min print and noted the temperature increase of the cabinet. So the starting ambient temperature was 16 degrees, and after 28 mins of printing the internal cabinet temperature was 28 degrees. I think my original cardboard box version was getting to about 40 degrees internal. I'm going to leave the heated bed on for another 30 mins and see what it gets to. Of course cardboard is a better insulator than acrylic!

So to increase the internal temperature, I laid piece of cardboard on top of the top acrylic sheet. The printer has been running for a few hours, but had settled at 31 degrees. With the cardboard in place it's now just above 38.

TAZ5 cabinet completed

Here is the finished cabinet.
Width: 650mm
Depth: 650mm
Height: 580mm

I have changed the spool holder idea, now the top rack is for storage only. I added another extrusion arm inside the cabinet, this uses the existing guide nice to another support strut, and means the printer can be used easily without the case.

Plenty of room on top of the cabinet for storage and laptop etc. The acrylic does bend a bit, so I may look into more internal support.

I'm going to leave the active cooling for now, and just see how warm the cabinet gets during printing. I have the parts ready to install, but this does make the build more complicated, and may not be necessary.