Start A Print Remotely


#1

There seem to be two old threads about this, but one is locked and the other is derailed discussing the merits of locking threads so I’m starting a new one.

First, the reason why you currently have to physically push a button on the printer to start a print:

If a print is started when there’s another print still on the build platform it could cause serious damage to the unit. There are secondary reasons relating to too little resin or missing build platform, but most of those reasons would result in a failed print and perhaps wasted materials but no fundamental damage to the machine.

I understand that Formlabs requires this to keep warranty expenses down, but there are many users for which a remote start is almost necessary.

I would like to suggest the same thing suggested on the first such topic. The physical button press should be available as a confirmation that the printer is ready to print at any point after a print has finished. I will refine the idea a little by suggesting that opening the lid, removing the tank, or removing the cartridge would necessitate another physical button press. This way a user can remove a print. reset the printer, press the button, and leave. When the next job is ready it can be loaded and started remotely with no more risk than the current system. If anyone or anything has disturbed the printer since the last button press without renewing the confirmation you cannot print remotely.

For me specifically, the printer is located in laboratory space in a separate building from my offices. I cannot, because of regulation, work on a model in the lab space. This means that every print job requires two trips between buildings unless I have the next job completely ready to go and uploaded before retrieving the last print. If the next job is in anyway effected by the previous print, there’s no way to avoid the two extra trips.

Thanks!


Remote Connection To FormLabs2
#2

This!


#3

I like the idea Tavan, and I’ve been thinking about making myself a remote push button before but never got around to do it.

What I would like to see is an interactive copy of the touch screen on the dashboard. Yesterday I started a print and left for the night, expecting it to be finished this morning. However 15 minutes later I got a message saying that the printer had paused because of low resin, even though I knew it would be enough. Unable to go back to the printer I lost 13 hours worth of printing just because I couldnt push ‘continue’ on the screen.


#4

I am 100% in favor of this! I run a small fleet for Form 2s and one of the biggest inconveniences is having to walk up and physically confirm the print. I have a dedicated computer I remote into to allow uploading of form files while out of the office, and being able to start prints remotely would be of huge benefit.


#5

Of course my post was somewhat in jest, although it might actually be a good workaround until your much better idea of an interactive copy of the screen is implemented…probably not until the next iteration of the machine.


#6

As there is no real feedback from the form 2 in sense of a streaming camera or sensors, it is always a good idea to be physically at the printer when starting a print.

I don’t expect formlabs to add remote start or “skip resin error” for the following reasons:

  • You need to make sure the build platform is inserted(no sensor)
  • You need to make sure the tray is mounted tightly, if not, it will go up and down with a loud noise, you won’t notice this from a distance(I had this happening once!)
  • You need to check if the parts are adhering to the build platform at the start of the print
  • In general, you need to know if the print starts smoothly

There are moments that you are in a hurry and do something wrong. If you are close to the printer, you can stop the print quickly, preventing more damage.

What if there is a part already printed on the build platform and you accidentally press the start button online? It will crash into the tray.


#7

The idea isn’t to remove the necessity of a physical button press… the idea is to allow the button to be pressed at a time independent of starting a print. There is no sensor on the build platform, but if it is in place when the lid is closed it won’t go anywhere. There is a tray sensor, and if you start a print with a loose tray, it would probably pause the print when that sensor gets tripped from the tray moving. If the tray isn’t moving enough to trip that sensor, then it won’t move enough to cause damage to the printer.

As for the ability to remotely press OK when there’s a heating or filling problem I think those should be remote accessible. They aren’t risking damage to the printer, they are only risking a failed print. There’s no warranty reason why approving a print regardless of these warnings should be a problem.

I’m not suggesting that changes like these make the printer more likely to print a successful print. In fact, they introduce some further risk of a failed print. However, The potential benefits to those of us who use these printers professionally in an environment which may restrict our workflow options far outweigh the occasional failed print which may arise from a mistake.


#8

In our lab we’d be happy with job scheduling - you upload the job, make sure everything is in place, and set a time for it to start (say 4am) so when we walk in the next morning we already have the first day’s parts waiting for us.

Si.


#9

i cant see this if you have only one machine but if you have multiple FL2s or an FL2 farm then yes it does seem useful


#10

I have three FDM printers in addition to the Form 2, and find using Octoprint with a RaspberryPi is outstanding. The same safety concerns apply; that is starting a print with another on the platform! Odd that no-one seems to have DONE THAT (or will not admit it) :-).

Another upside to using Octoprint; you can attach a cheap cam to your RPi, and watch your part being made.


#11

The first thing I did when I setup my Form 2 was put a camera on it. I have one or more cameras set up on all my tools including a CNC mill and multiple FFF printers. In my opinion, there’s no reason that an advanced user shouldn’t be able to disable to the need to physically press a start button.

OctoPrint / OctoPi allows me to fully automate every part of the build process except for physically removing the print. It’s a huge time saver when trying to get batches or more than one printer going.


#12

As for me it’s always a pain to have to switch building to start a print. However, in a hurry I once did pushed the button with no platform inside the printer and left…

Maybe a couple of sensors could help get rid of the button.


#13

A big upvote for Octoprint on the Form 2. I have four filament printers; each one has a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint.

I recently switched to usng OPEN mode on my Form 2 solving several problems, and perhaps causing others… but I’m getting really good prints off my Form 2 in OPEN mode.

Many of the concerns listed above assume that the end user will foul up. Strangely enough, my FDM printers don’t seems to care if I “forgot” to remove a part before printing the next one. They don’t care if you forget to load the filament (unless you are using the Prusa MK3). They don’t care if the first layer sticks or not… carry on!

In short, give us the ability to control a Form 2 using Octoprint even if it is in OPEN mode only. Not only can we handle being careful, we will actually be able to use the printer more.


#14

I would like to complete a 3d rework over the weekend and send to the printer and have a part ready Monday first thing.
Would help on large 12hour prints, without the need to trek half an hour to click a button and drive back.


#15

Came here because of this same issue. I have a printer at work and every friday I am sat at work delayed by an hour or so because I have to finish the design and press the annoying button. I would love to be able to go home, finish my design and get the print going at work.

But I think what I’m going to do, since we are all makers here. I will get a raspberry pi dedicated for the form 2 including uploading files and running preform off of, and install a small cheap servo with a tiny “finger” that extends and presses the button :stuck_out_tongue: and then retracts. I can easily make a cheap bracket for the pushing mechanism and gears with my FDM machine, or even Form 2.


#16

Remote printing wont happen until the Form 3 comes out. Too many fail safe changes are needed to the machine which cant be accomodated in the form 2, like a build platform is clear sensor. Just my two cents.


#17

Hi. Just been looking at how to start a print remotely and have seen this:
microbot.is/push/
Together with a camera to visualy confirm the condition of the form 2 it seems perfect. Almost too perfect to be true.

What do you think?


#18

Gosh I hope they never do that. Resin level, tray and cartridge sensors all have issues, adding more will only increase the risk of the printer refusing to run because of a botched sensor !

They should just make a pop-up in preform asking “are you sure the printer is ready for print” so that they are not liable for any issue linked to remote printing, and that’s it. Treating users like babies isn’t the right way to go IMHO, it’s a production/prosumer machine not an Apple product.


#19

I started a print 3 weeks ago with a print still on the build platform, within two weeks i had to buy a new resin tray, the print went straight through the resin tray protective layers and wrecked it. My vote would be for a mini camera to be installed inside of the orange cover. If positioned correctly you could also watch the print and catch any failed prints. It could also be retrofitted. Just a thought.


#20

I like the way my Markforged printers work. After a print is complete, you rate the print and then click “Clear Bed”, which tells the printer that you have removed the part from the build plate. This allows Eiger to start the next print without having to worry about collisions.

I would love to be able to start prints remotely from my office, so that the part is done by the time I get home from work… I use this functionality in Eiger all of the time.