Outfitting OctoPrint For A Raspberry Pi

Basic OctoPrint Hardware

A minimalist setup for an OctoPrint embedded host for your printer can be very trim indeed -- just the Pi, a good power supply (or power from the printer power supply), a USB connection to the printer, and a WiFi or ethernet network connection.

But a typical OctoPrint setup designed to take advantage of all the features might include:

Building A Custom OctoPrint Setup

My OctoPrint experimenter rig (above) rolls up a bunch of prototyping elements in one handy package. At the center of it, a quick scaffold of Open Beam mini-extruded beams trapping an Adafruit Pi Dish on top and a Mini Thermal Receipt Printer below. A 7-port USB Hub and all of the cabling is lashed to the sides and interior of the structure, making this a pretty compact experimenter rig -- that can be access, re-routed, reconfigured at a moment's notice!

Adafruit has a wide variety of components, add-ons, breakout boards, sensors, displays, and tools to take your OctoPrint rig even further. Here are a few of the areas to explore!  

Be sure to check out the featured products on the right sidebar for more ideas.

Raspberry Pi Enclosures

The Adafruit Pi Box Plus Enclosure for RasPi Model B+ works well for protecting a Pi strapped to the side of a desktop 3D printer. But after you get going on this project, you are going to want to check out the many customized Raspberry Pi/OctoPrint 3D printable case designs shared online -- or design your own!

A few standout examples such as Octopi WiFi Camera Case for B+ by barney (above) and Printrbot Octoprint Wi-Fi-Pi camera case front for dual extruder by captainserial (below) integrate nice printer-specific mounting with unique features like barneyj's swivel-ready ball-joint for the Pi Camera. Checkout Thingiverse, Youmagine, and other respository sites online for ideas and models ready to be downloaded and printed.

Lightweight RasPi Go-Box

Your embedded systems "Go Box" is a collection of the tools you keep at the ready when you need to roll up your sleeves and work directly with your Raspberry Pi: everything you need to spin up new headless RasPis.

These items are useful to have on-hand when you are setting up your OctoPrint rig for the first time -- or if you are managing a botfarm full of them. After your Pi is setup, you can detach and pack up Go-Box to operate it "headless" (no keyboard, mouse, or display) from another computer.

  • HDMI enabled monitor / screen: Adafruit stocks a table-full of display options, but make sure to pick with high enough resolution for you to debug code and preferences.
  • USB Keyboard or Wireless Keyboard, with mouse.
  • Power supplies + supply-friendly power strip (required), everything you need to run your Pi, display, hub, and potentially a tiny network switch.
  • Backup 8GB SD/microSD cards preloaded with your favorite host software OS image.
  • 4+port Switch + two or more Ethernet cables (optional). Bring your own copper network with you! Adds weight but can help eliminate wifi troubleshooting while you get your Pi and Pi wireless add-ons configured.
  • Ethernet adapter for your laptop. If you are bringing your laptop with you for controlling the headless Pi, make sure you bring an adapter for connecting to an ethernet cable if yours doesn’t have one built-in.

Blinging Out Octoprint

  • NeoPixel Rings and NeoPixel strips: Map colors, individual lights, and brightness to ndicate temperature, print completion, or even test "What color do I print next?" by bathing your build platform in light!
  • Raspberry Pi NoIR: Continue to shoot timelapses and evaluate printer health without rigging up lighting around your printers.
  • Weatherproof Metal On/Off Switch with LED Ring - 16mm: Add a halt button, 
  • or even an automated pause that moves the toolhead away from the part
  • Thermal Printer: print out slicer settings to have handy with the resulting print, or even a receipt for the amount of plastic consumed!

Adding an OEM Display

Depending on where you have setup your printer, you might find it worth the time and expense to setup a dedicated display, keyboard, and mouse attached to your SBC. (We have many displays and resources for this -- check out the HDMI 4 Pi 7" display as a good compromise of small footprint but text-friendly resolution.)

For many users, I recommend that you setup your OctoPrint system as a "headless" system -- ie. a system that you will access and control only via the network using SSH (see our Learn Guide for SSH here) and/or VNC (using a client on your computer to access a network-delivered version of the GUI of your Pi). 

NOTE: If you aren't familiar with SSH, please visit Simon Monk's guide on the Learn System here first.

This guide was first published on Nov 06, 2014. It was last updated on Nov 06, 2014. This page (Outfitting OctoPrint For A Raspberry Pi) was last updated on Oct 17, 2019.