Why Raspberry Pi and 3D Printing Work Well Together

Additive manufacturing is a process where products are created by adding layers on top of each other to make a final product. The best example of this process is 3D printing.  The 3D printing process uses a combination of software, hardware, and printing material to complete a print. There are many options for all three, and users can pick a combination that works best for them. For hardware, many people use a Raspberry Pi with a compatible printer.

Why Raspberry Pi and 3D Printing Work Well Together

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing turns digital designs into 3D objects. Today, it is used in the manufacturing industry to create parts, prototypes, and finished products or to validate design ideas. It has also become cheap enough that many people now own 3D printers that they use for their hobbies.

New technologies in 3D printing allow manufacturers to use materials like glass, ceramics, and plastics fused using lasers instead of the heating used in home printers. This new technology is known as selective laser sintering (SLS). Those who want bigger prints than they can complete at home using different materials can get SLS services through reputable manufacturers. Some will do the design for you, while some will require that you have the design already.

What is a Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi is a small, affordable, and compact computer that gives you the features of a full-size computer but at a smaller scale. They are very capable machines, but users can add functionality and improve their capability using various accessories. These range from keyboard and touchpad combos to portable monitors and faster Ethernet ports.

Their versatility allows them to be used in numerous tasks, with automation and 3D printing being the two most popular. The Raspberry works well with 3D printing for the reasons we will discuss below.

Its Size

If you do not have enough space to run a full-size computer or laptop, a Raspberry Pi is an excellent option due to its size. You only need a few square inches of space for it, but you must account for cables if you want to use various accessories with it.

Its small size also makes it possible to place the Raspberry Pi inside the printer’s enclosure. You might do this if you have a large print and do not want the Raspberry Pi to be interfered with, as that would affect the print.

Control and Automation

A Raspberry Pi has enough power to control a printer, meaning you do not have to run a computer that uses more energy. Second, it comes with GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins, which are added to its integrated circuit and can be used as output, input, or both. These pins are also controlled by software and can be used to add accessories for controlling the 3D printer.

These allow users to control various aspects of a 3D printer, such as temperature regulation, motor movements, and data streaming.

A Simple User Interface and Easy Monitoring

By connecting a display and other input devices to the Raspberry Pi, users get a user-friendly interface that they can use to interact with the 3D printer. The user interface allows users to control the printer settings, monitor the printing process, and make adjustments as needed.

Additionally, the Raspberry Pi can run software that provides access and monitoring capabilities, allowing users to remotely control and monitor their 3D printers.

If you want to do this, there are two options. One is software that allows you to connect to and control the printer through the Raspberry Pi on a local network. The other is true wireless printing, where you connect the Raspberry Pi to the internet and get the capabilities of controlling it or monitoring your prints from anywhere in the world.

The Raspberry Pi Has Impressive Software Capabilities

In addition to remote access and wireless printing, the Raspberry Pi has other interesting software capabilities made possible by the software you install and different programming languages such as Python.

Such flexibility allows you to customize and enhance their 3D printing experience. You can install and run open-source software, a popular option being OctoPrint. This and other software provide advanced features like remote control, slicing, and file management.

A Raspberry Pi Makes Time-lapse Recording Easier

Most 3D prints take over an hour, while some take multiple hours or days, depending on the print size. If you want a recording of the whole process, sitting and recording for multiple hours or days is impossible.

Fortunately, the Raspberry Pi allows you to use software to record time-lapse videos. By doing so, you can view the video of the entire process in a few minutes.


3D printing has become very popular in manufacturing and for hobbyists.  Most people use a combination of a Raspberry Pi and a printer in the home setting because it gives them networking, remote control, and customization capabilities. 3D printing is also popular in manufacturing, with companies able to print much bigger objects than you could at home.

About The Author

Muhammad Bilal

I am highly skilled and motivated individual with a Master's degree in Computer Science. I have extensive experience in technical writing and a deep understanding of SEO practices.

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