Plug and play addition for any MAKEiT printer, enables remote monitoring and control, networking, and more.
The Expansion Pack is a RaspberryPi 3 based add-on, offering all the expansion capabilities that come with everyone’s favorite single-board computer. The pack magnetically snaps onto the side of your printer’s main body and plugs straight in via either serial or USB connection (depending on printer model). It comes pre-loaded with our preset MAKEiT version of OctoPi.
The expansion pack uses OctoPrint and/or Printoid (an altered UI for the OctoPrint back end). In its basic state, this allows you to take any saved .gcode file from any slicer and upload it to your printer over WiFi or LAN. It also allows control of the printer’s operation through a web browser interface. You can also upload STL files directly which will be automatically sliced on board the expansion pack, using a hidden slicer Cura. For this to work, you only need to go through a couple steps of configuration to allow the RaspberryPi to communicate over your internal network. With a bit more configuration it can enable remote access from anywhere over the internet or cellular connection. Cura (3.0+) can be setup to integrate directly with OctoPrint, allowing you to control the printer from the Cura interface. Simplify3D doesn’t offer that same level of integration, but it is possible to setup automatic uploading to the OctoPrint server whenever you save a file. For Simplify3D you will still need to use the web interface to begin prints or control the printer.
Physically, it takes only a moment to magnetically snap the Expansion Pack onto the side of your printer case and connect it with a simple plug. For use over LAN or WiFi, you will need to configure the RaspberryPi to connect to your network. This can be done either by removing the SD card and altering a few files with a separate computer, or by connecting the RaspberryPi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and using the GUI for setup. You will then need to access your router to determine the RaspberryPi’s IP address, which can be entered into any web browser connected to your local network for access. Initial setup in this manner should take only 10-15 minutes. Accessing your Expansion Pack remotely over the internet involves a few additional steps which vary depending on what router you have and your local network settings.
Everything you need is pre-installed and ready to go, except for the setup steps mentioned above. To view the webcam, access OctoPrint, or do anything with the Expansion Pack on your local network, just enter the IP address into any web browser connected to the same local network. Accessing the Expansion Pack remotely over the internet is done in the same manner, but will require setting up a permanent global IP address or website that is accessible from outside your network.
For all MAKEiT printers, you will be able to start, stop, monitor, and adjust settings like print speed, material flow, fan speed. Pro-L models also include a special connector that allows the Expansion Pack to control the On/Off state of the printer, meaning you can turn it on or off remotely. Pro-M models lack this function and must be turned on physically, however it’s still possible to power down the printer through the web interface. You can also change settings for video or time lapse recording of the webcam, and potentially more if you customize your OctoPrint installation with 3rd party plugins.
Yes! By default you can record time lapse videos with your webcam which are then saved onto the RaspberryPi’s SD card memory. These videos can then be downloaded through the web interface. You can also install 3rd party plugins that allow more features for video recording or automatic uploading of videos to cloud locations, but we do not configure the installation to do this by default.