Use an old cell phone camera to monitor your printer

  • We have some RPi based cameras at the makerspace to monitor printers (and other things) but I didn't want to go to the expense to get limited resolution. I replaced my cracked-screen cell phone so I decided to put the old one to use monitoring my printer.

    I mounted the phone on the printer using a simple folded aluminum bracket (really simple- one fold) and a couple suction cups. Velcro tape holds the phone on the bracket.

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    The hard part was finding the software for it. All I found in the Google Play store were video streaming security camera and baby monitor apps with tons of ads unless you paid for a monthly subscription. Ugh. Then someone pointed out Open Camera. FOSS, no ads! It takes high resolution pictures at programmed intervals. I use Google Backup and Sync to upload the images to Google Pictures. The images get transferred as soon as they are taken. No monthly fees, no ads! I can check the print progress from anywhere.

    More here...

  • Very interesting. Thanks for posting. I am using a $20 Wyze camera and can access it everywhere, including recorded history with no monthly fees. I may try your phone idea though for the higher resolution.

    BTW, is direct drive Bondtech in the background? Any weight issues? What stepper?

  • Yes, a Bondtech BMG extruder. The motor is 40 mm long- not a pancake. The linear guide it rides on is 24 x 8 mm. Not a low mass assembly, but it prints just fine. I've run it at 200mm/sec with acceleration set to 10,000 mm/sec^2.

    Here's the current version of the extruder carriage:

    alt text

    The extruder/motor/hot-end are bolted to a 5mm thick aluminum plate that is mounted on the X axis bearing block along with a piece of rectangular aluminum tubing that holds the belt clamps. The extruder and hot end assembly can be removed without releasing the belts, so I can make mods without having to retension the belts.

  • Thanks @mrehorstdmd, that's useful info. I am considering changing my Hypercube Evo from bowden to direct. I like the Bondtech for its dual grip but am concerned about weight. BTW, the HEVO also allow to remove the head tool with a single screw, without interfering with the belts. Very useful for cleaning jams 😉

  • That's a good design. I see so many people trying to make "professional" looking printers by putting all sorts of covers over the extruder/hot-end. All I can say is "I hope you don't have any extrusion problems." Having to remove a bunch of stuff just so you can get at the hot-end is a PITA, and you will have to do it.

  • hi

    I'm using old smartphone and android app IP Webcam (from Pavel...)
    streaming in local network, from there with obs to switch or youtube

  • @knaudler I spent a lot of time looking for a way to do it that wouldn't display any ads, didn't require any subscriptions, and would give high res still photos. Someone at the makerspace recently pointed me to an app called Rsync Wrapper that can be used to upload images to a web server if you want to avoid Google services. The combo of Open Camera and Rsync Wrapper is a good way to go if you hate ads, don't want to pay any subscriptions, don't need video (that describes me- YMMV), and want to avoid Google.

  • @mrehorstdmd I am occasionally using the IP Webcam app referred to by @Knaudler as well. And while it actually has ads in the free version on the device running the app you don't see neither ads in the stream/stills it produces nor are you limited in resolution. Also you can adjust resolution of stills and video separately as well as changing the compression ratio of the stream.
    Works great for me - but I never ever look at the screen of the tablet it is running on after I started the stream.

    EDIT: You can even turn off the display of the device and it will continue to stream.

  • @wilriker I'll check it out...

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