Desktop 3D printer goes mobile with some help from Pi
Desktop 3D printers are great for locally producing task-specific accessories, replacing broken mounts and holders around the home or churning out custom chess pieces for that special birthday gift. But they generally spend most of their life in a basement workshop or home office. YouTuber Thomas Sanladerer wanted something that could go where he did so modified a small inexpensive unit to run on battery power and be controlled with a smartphone.
For his "go anywhere" 3D printer project, Sanladerer selected a Printrbot Play desktop 3D printer for conversion, saying that it had the advantage of being "built like a tank," and already had a cross beam to the top that could be used as a carry handle.
The Printrbot Play features a non-heated aluminum print bed and auto bed leveling, offers a build volume of 100 x 100 x 130 mm (3.93 x 3.93 x 5.1 in) and rocks a filament spool mount to the top.
Battery power for the modified 3D printer is supplied by six 7.2 V Sony NP-F batteries attached to the back that give up to 6 hours of 3D printing on the go. Charging and power is routed through three DC/DC converters – one of which feeds 5 V into a Raspberry Pi running the OctoPi Raspbian based OS and another that ups the voltage to the 12 V required to run the printer.
Since his Raspberry Pi board didn't have Wi-Fi built in, Sanladerer added a Wi-Fi dongle to turn the printer into a mobile Wi-Fi access point, meaning that users don't have to rely on a home, workshop or office network to wirelessly connect to the device using a laptop or smartphone.
All of the boards were mounted in the base of the existing Printrbot Play, cables zip-tied up and a test print loaded into Octoprint and sent over Wi-Fi to confirm that the battery-powered, wireless 3D printer worked as intended. And it did, as you can see in the detailed build video below.
Source: Tom's 3D