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Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S  

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Justinas
(@justinas)
Active Member
Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

Hi,

I have reviewed similar threads, but haven't been able to find a definitive answer. Like many of you, I don't want to physically carry the SD card to my MK3S, and I would rather send the GCODE file over WiFi from Cura (I had issues with PrusaSlicer, so Cura it is).

Now, the official answer is Octoprint on Raspberry Pi Zero. I have had very bad experience with Octoprint on my previous printers. Pi Zero is underpowered (even without camera), and it often struggles to feed GCODE fast enough on tight curves, resulting in quality defects. Reducing speed increases print time, and stripping GCODE results in segmented curves. Not a solution.

If I were to use Raspberry Pi 3B+, the CPU is fast enough, but I would have to connect it via USB, and serial baud rate also limits how fast GCODE can be fed to the printer, forcing me to strip GCODE, reduce speed, or live with the same quality defects.

Also, Octoprint won't allow for some factory Prusa features, like power loss recovery, I heard filament change is also problematic. I would much rather use the Einsy board to handle the GCODE by itself, keeping all the Prusa features and not sacrificing speed or quality.

 

There is an option to use Octoprint to write GCODE file to the SD card over WiFi, and then start the print from LCD. However, traditionally this kind of writing is extremely slow due to USB serial connection. However, Pi Zero can be connected to Einsy board via TXD and RXD pins. Would this make any difference in writing speed to SD card? Or is it the same slow serial connection?

 

Alternatively, I see that Prusa supports Toshiba FlashAir SD cards, that are WiFi enabled. This would be a great option, but these cards have been discontinued by Toshiba for some reason, and whatever few remain are insanely expensive. There are some WiFi-enabled SD cards on sites like Aliexpress (example), but of course they couldn't possibly be officially supported by Prusa, so I have no clue if they would work or not. Has anyone tried any of these generic WiFi SD's?

 

Alternatively, what other options are there? As I said, I don't want to sacrifice speed, quality or Prusa features, but I also want to avoid having to move that SD card for every print. Gets really irritating during rapid prototyping 😀 

 

Posted : 10/07/2021 12:39 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

I use octoprint and astroprint.  They work very well.  I have it on raspberry pi 4s by USB.  They are no speed issues.   

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 11/07/2021 12:47 am
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Noble Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

Same here, using Raspi 3B+. No problems with Mk3S. With Mini, Astroprint and the filament runout sensor are not playing nicely but for me that's not of practical relevance.

For Wifi, I'm waiting for the release of PrusaConnect and the Wifi upgrade for the Mk3S.

Posted : 11/07/2021 1:14 am
Justinas
(@justinas)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S
Posted by: @cwbullet

I use octoprint and astroprint.  They work very well.  I have it on raspberry pi 4s by USB.  They are no speed issues.   

Posted by: @fuchsr

Same here, using Raspi 3B+. No problems with Mk3S. With Mini, Astroprint and the filament runout sensor are not playing nicely but for me that's not of practical relevance.

For Wifi, I'm waiting for the release of PrusaConnect and the Wifi upgrade for the Mk3S.

Interesting. I seem to recall finding multiple topics here and on Reddit reporting that with detailed STL files and tight curves on high speeds, serial connection is just not fast enough, even if Raspi itself is.

What about losing features, like power loss recovery? Any way around that?

Posted : 11/07/2021 9:06 am
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

@justinas

No idea why, I have been using this setup for nearly 2 years and just have not experienced what you are describing.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 11/07/2021 12:03 pm
fuchsr
(@fuchsr)
Noble Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

@justinas

Same as cwbullet. Not something I noticed.

Plus, maybe "detailed STL files" and "high speeds" is not such a great idea in the first place...

Posted : 11/07/2021 12:12 pm
Justinas
(@justinas)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S
Posted by: @fuchsr

Plus, maybe "detailed STL files" and "high speeds" is not such a great idea in the first place...

Well, what else is there to do if I want to avoid noticeably segmented circles/curves? As for high speeds, I meant MK3S factory-set speeds (the ones predefined in the official PrusaSlicer/Cura profiles). Printer handles them well with Einsy running things, and I kind of don't want to sacrifice that if I switch to Octo.

Posted : 11/07/2021 12:19 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S
Posted by: @justinas

Well, what else is there to do if I want to avoid noticeably segmented circles/curves? As for high speeds, I meant MK3S factory-set speeds (the ones predefined in the official PrusaSlicer/Cura profiles). Printer handles them well with Einsy running things, and I kind of don't want to sacrifice that if I switch to Octo.

You are spending a lot of time worrying about things that you might have read or heard might be a problem. The easiest solution is to try OctoPrint and see if it's actually a problem for you. To address the things you mentioned:

  • Prints with lots of rapid curve moves can be a problem over slow USB. That certainly can occur, but it is not common in most prints. I've tested to try to detect the problem and was not able to do so easily. This is a non-issue for most users.
  • Power recovery does not work with OctoPrint. This is true. Power recovery is also not going to do you much good if the bed cools and the part pops off. At best, it helps with brief outages. A UPS will avoid the problem altogether and is a better solution if you live with frequent short outages. I've lost one print to a power outage in 3 years. YMMV.
  • Filament runout does not work with OctoPrint. This is incorrect.
  • Connecting the Zero via GPIO. The developer of OctoPrint has specifically stated that the Zero is NOT suitable for OctoPrint. The Prusa info is old. The problem is more than just a "slow Zero". I have more notes on this subject here if you're interested. Some people do it, but it's not recommended for anybody that's concerned about print problems as you seem to be.
  • The Toshiba FlashAir works. Well, it does at a rudimentary level. You can send files to the printer and then manually select and start print jobs from the front panel. As you've noted, the FlashAir is discontinued, expensive, and hard to find. It's also not overly reliable (particularly from a Mac) and the wifi performance is weak. I've had 2 and find them to be more of a nuisance than a reliable solution. YMMV. The FYSETC and BTT boards are even worse.

What is often left out of the discussion is what advantages using OctoPrint offers:

  • OctoPrint strips out gcode comments before sending code to the printer. This actually relieves the printer of some processing, though admittedly not a lot.
  • With the ArcWelder plugin, OctoPrint can replace many of those short gocde commands used to generate those same curves with single G2, G3 ARC commands, removing the "many short move sequences" from the serial stream. In reality, the printer may just be translating those back to vector moves internally, but here again, in testing I have not seen a problem.

There are a wealth of other convenience and safety features OctoPrint adds. I suggest just trying it.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 11/07/2021 3:46 pm
cwbullet
(@cwbullet)
Illustrious Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

@justinas

Most of the threads you are concern about of reddit and dates and useing outdated versions of octoprint.  Try octoprint or don’t.  The bottom line is that it is you best option at this time.  

--------------------
Chuck H
3D Printer Review Blog...
Posted : 11/07/2021 4:56 pm
richnormand
(@richnormand)
Eminent Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

My solution has been using a FlashAir card from ebay (about $45)

I am in mode 6 and it has been working well for my needs.

There are good posts here and on Reddit to set it up.

REPAIR, RENEW, REUSE, RECYCLE, REBUILD, REDUCE, RECOVER, REPURPOSE, RESTORE ==> RIGHT to REPAIR...
Posted : 11/07/2021 11:06 pm
Justinas
(@justinas)
Active Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S
Posted by: @bobstro
Posted by: @justinas

Well, what else is there to do if I want to avoid noticeably segmented circles/curves? As for high speeds, I meant MK3S factory-set speeds (the ones predefined in the official PrusaSlicer/Cura profiles). Printer handles them well with Einsy running things, and I kind of don't want to sacrifice that if I switch to Octo.

You are spending a lot of time worrying about things that you might have read or heard might be a problem. The easiest solution is to try OctoPrint and see if it's actually a problem for you. To address the things you mentioned:

  • Prints with lots of rapid curve moves can be a problem over slow USB. That certainly can occur, but it is not common in most prints. I've tested to try to detect the problem and was not able to do so easily. This is a non-issue for most users.
  • Power recovery does not work with OctoPrint. This is true. Power recovery is also not going to do you much good if the bed cools and the part pops off. At best, it helps with brief outages. A UPS will avoid the problem altogether and is a better solution if you live with frequent short outages. I've lost one print to a power outage in 3 years. YMMV.
  • Filament runout does not work with OctoPrint. This is incorrect.
  • Connecting the Zero via GPIO. The developer of OctoPrint has specifically stated that the Zero is NOT suitable for OctoPrint. The Prusa info is old. The problem is more than just a "slow Zero". I have more notes on this subject here if you're interested. Some people do it, but it's not recommended for anybody that's concerned about print problems as you seem to be.
  • The Toshiba FlashAir works. Well, it does at a rudimentary level. You can send files to the printer and then manually select and start print jobs from the front panel. As you've noted, the FlashAir is discontinued, expensive, and hard to find. It's also not overly reliable (particularly from a Mac) and the wifi performance is weak. I've had 2 and find them to be more of a nuisance than a reliable solution. YMMV. The FYSETC and BTT boards are even worse.

What is often left out of the discussion is what advantages using OctoPrint offers:

  • OctoPrint strips out gcode comments before sending code to the printer. This actually relieves the printer of some processing, though admittedly not a lot.
  • With the ArcWelder plugin, OctoPrint can replace many of those short gocde commands used to generate those same curves with single G2, G3 ARC commands, removing the "many short move sequences" from the serial stream. In reality, the printer may just be translating those back to vector moves internally, but here again, in testing I have not seen a problem.

There are a wealth of other convenience and safety features OctoPrint adds. I suggest just trying it.

Thank you very much for such an extensive and detailed summary. I set up Raspi 3B+ yesterday with ArcWelder; so far the quality seems to be okay, but I need to test this further with the more problematic prints. My skepticism towards Octoprint goes back to when I used it on my previous printer, Ender 3, and I never found a way to make it work without serious quality degradation. Perhaps it will work this time. I will certainly add a UPS, because power outages are very common here (usually don't last more than a minute though). This was one of the reasons why I chose MK3S.

Again, thanks. If I have any issues, I will continue on this thread. @richnormand, thanks to you too, I think I found that FlashAir on Ebay for the price you mentioned. First I will continue trying Octo, and if that doesn't work, I will try FlashAir. 

Posted : 12/07/2021 6:40 am
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Noble Member
RE: Best solution for WiFi-enabling MK3S

@justinas

".... with detailed STL files and tight curves on high speeds, serial connection is just not fast enough" Given how slow some SD cards are are rather suspect that not an issue, just someone who didn't fully understand what was happening. Funny the way we're much more likely to blame something that was free or very low cost.

Posted : 12/07/2021 11:26 am
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