3D Printing, Mental Health, Project, Virtual Frontier

Setting Up My Ender3 Printer with an Octopi Touch Screen & Printing Covid-19 Masks

In order to print the Montana mask to help with the COVID crisis, I needed to upgrade to a printer with a larger bed. I can still use my Monoprice Select Mini V2 to print sewing components, but I want to make masks since they are in such short supply. I found a great deal on Facebook marketplace for a Comgrow Creality Ender 3 so I went with that.

In order to properly control my new printer, I will be attaching it to an Octopi like my other printer. Only this time I’ll be following these instructions to make it is as user friendly of an experience as possible to prevent running into any issues with printing the masks.

To save time, I’ll be abbreviating my steps. Honestly, all of this information and more is available in the original instructions I am following. I am simply taking notes to help my future self for reference as I often do, so I encourage you to refer to that guide for additional information.

  1. Printed upgrades for the Ender3 printer
    1. Ender 3 Touchscreen Case & Holder for Raspberry Pi
    2. Ender 3 LCD Cover
    3. Ender 3 Factory Screws display rear cover
  2. Purchased required components
    1. Raspberry pi & power supply
    2. Touchscreen
    3. Tape
    4. Micro SD card
    5. Raspberry pi fan
    6. Ender 3 printer with PLA filiment
  3. Set up Octopi on raspberry pi
  4. Set up touch screen on octopi
  5. Assembled upgrades, raspberry pi, and touch screen on Ender3 printer

So the above SEEMED simple, until I got the darn printer home. The transportation was NOT kind to it, and I had to do some maintenance on a printer I’ve never worked with before.

So I spent THREE HOURS fixing a wobble on the bed, installing a glass bed, calibrating the Z axis height and leveling the bed. 0/10, I do not recommend.

In the end, I found the easiest way for me to level the bed and fine tune the extruder height was by moving the nozzle to each corner manually. Then I slid a piece of paper under the nozzle and adjusted that corner of the bed until it was difficult to remove the paper. It worked like magic.

I went on to print 9 COVID-19 masks, but ultimately had to stop because the machine was clearly not assembled properly (this is what I get for buying used). My only option now is to have my friend try to fix it, and if he can’t I’ll be re-assembling the entire thing when I get the chance.

Later, I went on to install the touch screen, and ran into the worst problems…essentially, I had to install the touch screen drivers and then hardcore troubleshoot the TouchUI Octopi interface. Long story short, here’s the code I ran to get the darn thing working.

#INSTALL TOUCH SCREEN DRIVER
sudo rm -rf LCD-show
git clone https://github.com/goodtft/LCD-show.git
chmod -R 755 LCD-show
sudo apt-get -f install
cd LCD-show/
sudo ./LCD35-show

After installing the drivers, I went to the Octopi plug in manager and installed TOUCHUI. Unfortunately, I ran into a lot of issues and ultimately had to follow this guide to get it functioning.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xinit xinput xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-video-fbdev x11-xserver-utils matchbox unclutter chromium-browser
sudo apt --fix-broken install
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xinit xinput xserver-xorg xserver-xorg-video-fbdev x11-xserver-utils matchbox unclutter chromium-browser
sudo nano /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-fbdev.conf

#Entered the following, then used Ctrl+O and then Ctrl+X to save and exit
Section "Device"
  Identifier "touchscreen"
  Driver "fbdev"
  Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb1"
EndSection

sudo sed -i 's/allowed_users=console/allowed_users=anybody/' /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config
git clone https://github.com/BillyBlaze/OctoPrint-TouchUI-autostart.git ~/TouchUI-autostart/
sudo cp ~/TouchUI-autostart/touchui.init /etc/init.d/touchui
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/touchui
sudo cp ~/TouchUI-autostart/touchui.default /etc/default/touchui
sudo update-rc.d touchui defaults
chromium-browser
sudo reboot

Since my printer was down for maintenance and I was about to move, I decided to leave the project until I could come back to it. Instead I’m coordinating sending out masks and ear savers to those in need, so I’m not completely useless! I’ll put out another post where I revisit the touch screen and possibly document rebuilding the Ender 3, but it’ll be a while.

For now, I urge ANYONE with a need for PPE to go to 3dc19.com and register. Or if you have a 3D printer, sign up and start helping out!

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