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How to Run Octoprint on a Raspberry Pi Zero

by | Sep 18, 2016 | parts, software | 0 comments

Introduction

Using Octoprint running on a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 is a setup many Makers have to enable remote use and monitoring of their 3D printer. I have been running Octoprint on a Raspberry Pi 2 for quite a while because I like to put my printers in a separate room so the noise (and sometimes smell) they produce does not annoy me while I am working in my office.

Setting up Octoprint on a Raspberry Pi 2 is simple. Just follow the directions provided on the Octoprint website and you will have your printer running off Octoprint in minutes.

However, when I started researching how to run Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi Zero, I found that the Internet had little to say on the subject. As it turns out though, running Octoprint on the Zero is trivially easy, provided you have the right hardware.

Setting Up Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi Zero

Getting Octoprint running on the Raspberry Pi Zero is basically the same process as getting it running on the Raspberry Pi 2 or 3. We just need a few extra parts with the Zero.

Gather Your Parts

You will need the parts below to use Octoprint with the Raspberry Pi Zero.

Part Source Image
Raspberry Pi Zero Starter Kit Adafruit  zero-starter-kit
Edimax USB WiFi Adapter Amazon  wifi-adapter
Powered USB Hub Amazon  usb-hub

Install Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi Zero

When all my parts arrived in the mail and I started preparing to install Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi, I expected to face a few challenges. However, as it turns out, installing Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi, once you have the correct hardware as above, is really easy. We will basically be following the same process for installing Octoprint on the Zero that we use to install the software on the other Raspberry Pi boards.

1. Download the Octoprint image

The first thing to do is head to the Octoprint website and download the image.

2. Write Octoprint image onto micro SD card

With the Octoprint image in hand, we need to write the image onto the SD card. This is a routine task if you have ever done a project with the Raspberry Pi in the past. The process is well documented on the Raspberry Pi website so I will not re-invent the wheel here.

3. Update network settings

As described on the Octoprint download page, you will need to update the octopi-network.txt file with the information necessary to connect to your WiFi network.

4. Attach USB Hub Raspberry Pi Zero

One of the reasons the Raspberry Pi Zero is so much more compact than other Raspberry Pi boards is because it lacks normal-sized USB ports. However, in order for Octoprint to work with the Zero, we need two USB ports, one for the USB WiFi adapter, and one for connecting to the 3D printer. We will therefore need to use a USB hub. The starter kit from Adafruit includes a USB on-the-go (OTG) adapter. First plug this adapter into the micro USB port on the Zero labeled “USB.” Next, connect the USB hub to the OTG adapter.

5. Connect WiFi Adapter to the USB Hub

Next plug the Edimax WiFi adapter into one of the ports on the USB hub.

6. Boot the Pi Zero from the SD Card

Take the micro USB card onto which you wrote the Octoprint image, and insert it into the Raspberry Pi Zero. Then boot the Zero from the card. Follow the instructions provided on the Octoprint website to set up OCtoprint.

Connect the USB OTG adapter to the Zero, the USB hub to the OTG adapter, and the WiFi adapter to the USB hub.

7. Connect to Octoprint with a computer or mobile device

After setting up Octoprint, you can connect to it and control your printer from a computer or mobile device by navigating to http://[your Zero's IP address].

finished-octoprint-zero