I ran the Prusa i3 Mk2S for a couple of weeks by copying files to the SD card and then printing from there.I could have also printed directly from a computer plugged into the printer, but that computer would need to stay connected and powered on while printing. Either one of those solutions work well enough, but I really wanted to be able to print from multiple computers while not dedicating a laptop or desktop to printing, and most of all I wanted to be able to monitor the printer remotely with video.
OctoPrint is a web interface for 3D printers that can use a Raspberry Pi or similar inexpensive computer. With a Raspberry Pi 3 it allows for the sending of prints, controlling the printer, recording time-lapse videos, and viewing the printer in action remotely.
I used a Raspberry Pi 3 and installed OctoPi and connected a Raspberry Pi camera with a long ribbon cable along with camera and board mount that I found on Thingiverse. It all went together very easy.
I highly recommend watching Thomas Sanladerer’s “Getting started with OctoPrint” video, it will get you through most of the setup process.
I setup a domain name with No-IP so that I can reach the OctoPrint server from anywhere in the world, following the steps was very easy. There is even a Linux Dynamic Update Client that will keep my IP address updated.
I also installed the TouchUI plugin to get a better user interface when using OctoPrint on my phone, which is totally awesome.
The time lapses created by OctoPrint are very cool. By having the camera attached to the camera bed the point of view moves with the object being printed which makes it look like it is standing still while the printer and the room behind it are moving back and forth. I like this much better than having the camera stationary while the printed object is moving back and forth in the video.
If you are using a 3D printer and want to control and monitor it remotely and/or capture video of it printing, I highly recommend giving OctoPrint a try.