3D printing is a fun activity, and if you want to enhance it, you can record a beautiful time-lapse video of the entire process. However, you might be confused about which time-lapse apps are best for 3D printing.
Given that not all timelapse apps are compatible with 3D printing, it can be challenging to find an app that can fully integrate with 3D printer settings and capture images when necessary.
To assist you, here is a list of the four best 3D printing time-lapse apps for recording high-quality videos that look good:
It is specifically designed for 3D printers and creates stunning timelapse videos by capturing pictures after the completion of each layer, instead of at regular intervals as most timelapse apps do.
With a user-friendly interface, it is compatible with OctoPrint and PrusaSlicer. The customizable settings such as frame rate, zoom, delay, transition time, and camera position help in making videos more appealing.
The intelligent monitoring ensures smooth timelapse videos by detecting when each layer is completed and automatically takes a picture, something no smartphone can do on its own.
To get the best quality, it’s crucial to have a compatible camera, such as the Logitech C270 HD Webcam from Amazon. This camera supports OctoLapse in the best way for around $20-$25.
Here is a detailed video on setting up OctoLapse and creating stunning time-lapses.
One user finds it amazing that you can install OctoPrint on your laptop even without a Raspberry Pi. If your laptop has a camera, you may be able to use it.
The feature of taking pictures only after a layer is completed offers a smooth impression of print growing from the bed. Installing Python (3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10, or 3.11) is required to use OctoPrint.
One user also mentions using OctoPrint with a Pi Cam (Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2).
Some users also talked about using the IP Webcam with OctoPrint installed on a Galaxy S7 or the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with Octo4a. However, connecting the device to a charger is recommended.
Octo4a is just like OctoPrint but is specially designed to be used on smartphones or related devices instead of a Raspberry Pi. It offers almost the same features and functionalities as OctoPrint.
Though it’s better to have the printhead out of the way when capturing pictures, you can tweak settings to save time or adjust retractions and temperature to prevent stringing and poor layer adhesion.
Check out the video to know how you can run OctoPrint on your smartphone.
To create better and high-quality time-lapse videos, one user recommended using a constant and fixed light source to avoid flashing. You may also tune in your camera settings such as white balance, exposure, brightness, contrast, etc.
When it comes to easy setup and minimal equipment required, BeaglePrint is probably the best 3D printing timelapse app. The user-friendly interface makes it easy to adjust settings and generate cool 3D printing time-lapse videos.
It is compatible with most 3D printers and a wide range of slicers, including:
- Ultimaker Cura
- Creality Slicer
- Lychee Slicer
It is designed to record time-lapse videos with 1080p resolution. The camera comes with a Quick Guide Manual along with all the required accessories, such as:
- 32GB Micro SD Card
- Power Plug
- Type-C Cable
- Micro USB Cable
- Reset Needle
Since everything is in the box, you just need stable Wi-Fi. Simply install the BeaglePrint app on your device, add your 3D printer, and follow the instructions from the guide until you hear, “Successfully Connected to the Wi-Fi”.
By directing light to the print, the night vision mode can produce black & white and colorful videos even at night or with minimal lighting. This can save you some bucks that you may otherwise spend on buying powerful light.
With multiple positive reviews on Amazon and the Official Store, it is one of the better options recommended by various 3D printer users.
Here is a detailed review of the Mintion Beagle Camera by The 3D Print General.
Though it is a bit expensive, one user finds it great if you like fast, easy, and simple solutions with plug-and-play installation. With the BeaglePrint app, it operates flawlessly on both smartphones and laptop devices.
Watch the Beagle Camera setup and time-lapse recordings using BeaglePrint in the video below.
3. Cura’s Time Lapse Plugins
You may not know, but Ultimaker Cura itself has plugins to create time-lapse videos of 3D printing a model. It is a great choice if you want a satisfactory time-lapse video without needing to tweak a lot of settings.
While it may not offer as many advanced and helpful features as OctoLapse, it is still good at capturing pictures at regular intervals. You can customize a few settings to enhance the quality of your videos.
To add this script/plugin in Ultimaker Cura:
- Go to Extensions > Post Processing > Modify G-Code
- Click on “Add a Script”
- Select “Time Lapse”
- Customize settings if required and click “Close”
You can also install the Custom TimeLapse Plugin from GitHub. One user got good results by using the plugin, a limit switch, a 2.5-3.5mm audio jack, and making a simple modification to trigger the camera.
You should attach the trigger in a position where the printhead presses the Bluetooth remote button after each layer.
Once the pictures are captured, upload them to any video editing software and merge them to create a stunning timelapse video.
One user explained it’s working because the M240 command, along with the overall script/settings enables your 3D printer to park/move the printhead to a specific location after each layer and then trigger the camera to take a snap.
It has no connection with the camera; instead, the mounts such as the Remote Clamp, Bed Clips Clamp, and Wireless Remote Control on a 3D printer, and movement of the print bed or printhead do the whole job.
Check out the video on installing the Custom TimeLapse Plugin in Cura and creating a timelapse video.
Another good option is the Creality Cloud app, which has a time-lapse feature after its latest release, V3.11. The app can condense 12 hours of printing into 10-30 seconds of time-lapse video with good quality and no sound.
To create a timelapse video using Creality Cloud app, you need a Creality Web Camera from Amazon and a Creality Wi-Fi Box (only if the 3D printer does not have built-in Wi-Fi).
To get things going:
- Turn ON your 3D printer and Wi-Fi Box.
- Connect the webcam to the Wi-Fi Box using a USB cable or directly to your 3D printer’s built-in Wi-Fi.
- Open Creality Cloud App and navigate through “Printing”.
- Add your device by scanning the QR code on the Wi-Fi Box and clicking on the camera icon.
- Upload, slice, and start printing a model in the app.
- 20 minutes after successful 3D printing, you can find the video by going through “My Space” > “Time-Lapses”.
Make sure you do all 3D printing through the app instead of an SD card. The app may not generate the video if you pause or abort the printing process before completion.
Check out the time-lapse video of a colorful vase done using Creality Box.