At work, we recently got the Kodama Trinus combined 3D-printer and laser engraver. I’m pretty happy with the overall quality of the printer so far, but for our use I immediately identified some areas of improvement:
- No power switch – the only way to turn the printer off is by unplugging the cord.
- No lights inside the enclosure – we got the additional enclosure, but it came without any lights inside.
- No network interface – you have to connect to the printer via USB directly or go get the SD-card. Also no way to control or monitor it remotely.
So to fix this, I wanted to put a switch on the back, put in some lights and add a Raspberry Pi with a camera and Octoprint inside the printer. I started by printing a faceplate for the hole in the back of the enclosure:
This was then fitted with a switch and a DC jack for the power supply. (Make sure their rating is higher or equal to that of the power supply!) The jack lets me split off power to the Raspberry Pi and also fixes the slight annoyance of having to reach in to the very back of the enclosure to connect the cable to the printer.
I then soldered and crimped some cables to wire the switch in series with the DC jack and connected two Wago cage clamps for distributing power to the multiple things on the inside of the enclosure. I also mace a short DC cable to connect to the printer. The face plate has a flange to keep it from moving around in the hole, and is less than half the thickness of the enclosure wall, so I printed a second copy of it, put one on from either side and simply secured the whole thing with the locking nut of the DC jack.
Next, I added some LED-strips on the sides. Note that the enclosure is laying upside-down, so they are actually in the ceiling.
The power supply gives out 12 volts, which is fine for connecting to the printer and the particular LED-strips that I had. The Raspberry Pi however, requires a 5 V power supply, so I wired in a step-down converter and a micro-USB cable.
Finally, I put the enclosure back on and connected the DC-jack and the Raspberry Pi. Here is what it looks like in the back of the printer now.
For now, the Raspberry Pi is just laying inside the enclosure and the camera is simply stuck to the back wall with double-sided tape. I might come up with something smarter in the future, but it works for now.
The LED-lighting made a huge improvement! It was also completely necessary for the Raspberry Pi camera to be useful.
To sum up, these improvements took less than a day to do in total and were fairly inexpensive, but provide a huge step up in usability. We can now upload prints and monitor the progress from our desks instead of going to the printer all the time. Octoprint also has a Cura plugin so that you can simply upload STL-files directly without the need for everyone to have a slicer installed locally. This also means we can have optimized settings on the printer and not have to distribute settings to each individual using the printer.
One caveat is that the Trinus LCD display does not work with Octoprint, meaning that you cannot stop the print or use any of the other features on the front panel but have to run back to the computer to stop a failed print. I might replace the LCD with a small touch screen connected to the Raspberry Pi instead and/or wire in an emergency stop button to the GPIO pins. Also, the LED lights flicker quite a bit as the printer draws more or less power, probably due to the poor-quality power supply. I might try to fix it with some decoupling capacitors and/or a new power supply.
Let me know if you did similar upgrades, have some good ideas for the Raspberry Pi and camera or if you just want some pointers on doing this to your own printer!