Best Raspberry Pi for 3D Printing & Octoprint + Camera
Many 3D printing enthusiasts use Octoprint for various functions during printing, e.g, monitoring their Prints. To ensure it works perfectly, you need to install a suitable Raspberry Pi board for this purpose.
The best Raspberry Pi for 3D printing and Octoprint Is the Raspberry Pi 4B. This is because it has the highest processing speed, larger RAM, compatibility with lots of plugins, and can effortlessly slice STL files when compared to other Raspberry Pi.
There are other Raspberry Pis recommended for 3D printing by Octoprint which are also capable of running 3D printers comfortably. I will now go into detail on the features of the best Raspberry Pis for 3D printing and Octoprint.
Best Raspberry Pi for 3D Printing & Octoprint
Octoprint recommends the Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+, 4B, or the Zero 2 W to run Octoprint without any hitches. It is stated on their webpage that if you run Octoprint on other Raspberry Pi options, you should expect print artifacts and long loading times, especially when adding a webcam or installing third-party plugins.
Here are the best Raspberry Pi for 3D printing and Octoprint:
The stocks of Raspberry Pis are known to be very low, so the prices can be a lot higher in some places compared to retailers.
The links in this article are to Amazon which do have them at much higher prices, but there is stock you can buy, rather than being out of stock and a lower price.
1. Raspberry Pi 4B
The Raspberry Pi 4B is one of the best Raspberry Pi for 3D printing and Octoprint. It has the latest features of top-end single-board computers, some of which include:
- Higher RAM Capacity
- Faster Processing Speed
- Multiple Connectivity Options
The Raspberry Pi 4B has a higher RAM capacity for operation. It comes with either a 1, 2, 4 or 8GB of RAM capacity. The RAM capacity determines how many applications you can simultaneously run concurrently without any lag.
While 8GB of RAM capacity would be overkill to run Octoprint, you would rest assured that you can comfortably run other applications. For Octoprint, you will only need about 512MB-1GB of RAM storage for it to function effectively.
With 1GB of RAM storage, you should be able to run concurrent Octoprint applications, more than one camera stream, and advanced plugins with ease. To be on the safe side, 2GB should be more than enough to handle 3D printing tasks.
The RAM capacity on the Raspberry Pi 4B with the faster processor speed makes 3D printing tasks light work. This is because the Raspberry Pi 4B has a 1.5GHz Cortex A72 CPU (4 cores). This CPU is equivalent to most entry-level CPUs.
This CPU allows you to boot Octoprint and process G-code in no time. Also, it grants the user a very responsive user interface.
Also, the Raspberry Pi 4B has a wide range of connectivity options like the Ethernet Port, Dual Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and micro-HDMI connectivity.
The Dual Band Wi-Fi system ensures constant connectivity even over poor networks. This allows you to switch between the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHZ bands for better connectivity, especially when you’re streaming the feed from multiple cameras.
One user stated that he run OctoPi on his Raspberry Pi and he could not have been satisfied. He said that the Pi boots up quickly which he powered with a 5V buck regulator from the 3D printer’s power supply to not require an extra plug.
He said he had no problems with printing performance even with many plugins installed in Octoprint. He also stated that for those using the Pi 4 for OctoPi, make sure to use OctoPi 0.17.0 or later.
Another user said he bought the Raspberry Pi 4B to control his 3D printer with Octoprint. He said it worked great and the setup was easy.
He stated that it performs really well, and he is only using a small fraction of the available computing power on it. It makes him want to get another for some other projects he’s been thinking about, and he highly recommends it.
You can get the Raspberry Pi 4B from Amazon.
2. Raspberry Pi 3B+
The Raspberry Pi 3B+ is another option recommended by Octoprint for 3D printing. It can conveniently run Octoprint due to its features, some of which are the following:
- High Processing Speed
- Multiple Connectivity Options
- Sufficient RAM for 3D Printing
The Raspberry Pi 3B+ has the fastest processing speed within the third-generation Raspberry Pi lineup. It has a 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 CPU (4 cores) which is slightly lower than the Raspberry Pi 4B at 1.5GHz.
With the Raspberry Pi 3B+, the drop in processing speed may not be noticeable when compared to the Raspberry Pi 4B. Also, it has a wide range of connectivity options onboard. It has standard HDMI ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, standard Bluetooth, and dual Wi-Fi network bands for better connectivity options.
The 1GB RAM onboard is sufficient to run all 3D printing activities without any hitches.
One user stated that he uses the Pi 3B+ and it works well for him. He said he can access his printer from any PC on which he has a slicer installed. He can also send G-codes to the print and when he wants to print, he can open the website and click print on his phone to start printing.
Another user stated that he is pleased with the Raspberry Pi 3B+. He said he uses it to run Octoprint on his 3D printers. He was a bit intimidated by it at first but with the help of YouTube videos, he was able to get over it.
He used the Raspberry Pi installer to load the Operating System, which was very easy for him to do.
He added that he had problems with the Raspberry Pi 3B+ as he constantly got “Under Voltage Warnings” from the system after trying different power supplies. He reloaded the OS and after about 10 prints, the warnings stopped.
Another user commented that the Raspberry Pi products are the best quality in the world and he doesn’t remember any issue in years of working with and buying Raspberry products.
He stated that he got this Raspberry Pi 3B+ for his 3D printer and he flashed Octoprint onto it and was ready to start working in 15 minutes after unpacking.
He said it comes with Wi-Fi and one HDMI connection, he highly recommends it.
You can get the Raspberry Pi 3B+ from Amazon.
3. Raspberry Pi 3B
Another recommended option recommended by Octoprint is the Raspberry Pi 3B. The Raspberry Pi 3B is a mid-tier option with features just right for 3D printing activities. Some of which include:
- Sufficient RAM for 3D Printing
- Multiple Connectivity Options
- Low Power Consumption
The Raspberry Pi 3 has a 1GB M which is sufficient for most 3D printing activities. With the 1GB storage, you should be able to run advanced plugins, run several camera streams, etc.
It also has a wide range of connectivity options like the Raspberry Pi 3B+, with the main difference being a normal Ethernet port and a single Wi-Fi band on the Pi 3B. Also, the Raspberry Pi 3B has a lower power consumption, unlike the Pi 4B which is prone to overheating.
One user stated that he’s using it for Octoprint and he’s enjoying being able to have a server running on such a small device. His only regret is that it doesn’t support 5Ghz Wi-Fi like the plus version, since his router’s 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi implementation is really unstable.
He said he sees himself buying more of these in the future.
You can get the Raspberry Pi 3B at Amazon
4. Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W
You can get the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W for 3D printing and Octoprint. It is an entry-level single-board computer that can be used to run a limited range of functions on Octoprint. It has a set of features that gets the job done, some of which include:
- Fairly Large RAM Capacity
- Low Power Consumption
- Limited Connectivity Options
The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W has a 512MB RAM capacity paired with a 1.0GHz CPU. This is sufficient, especially if you intend to only wirelessly send G-code to your 3D printer. If you wish to run multiple intensive applications or plugins, it would be advisable to get the Pi 3B, 3B+, or 4B.
While the Pi Zero 2 W has various connectivity options, it is still limited. You only get a single-band Wi-Fi connection, micro-USB, standard Bluetooth, and a mini-HDMI port, with no Ethernet connectivity.
Also, since it can only run a few operations at the same time, its power consumption is very low and does not require an external fan or heat sink.
The Pi Zero 2 W is meant for hobbyists or beginners who plan to do basic 3D printing activities with Octoprint.
One user stated that he runs Octoprint on the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W with the Logitech C270 webcam. He said he has an unpowered USB hub and uses a USB to Ethernet adapter, so he doesn’t need to use Wi-Fi. He has lots of plugins and notices no difference over his Pi 3B.
Another user stated that he used the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W for a while, and it was considerably slower than the Raspberry Pi 3.
He said it sends commands to the printer’s control board without any issues, but he wasn’t happy with the web server response time even when he was using an SD card with fast write/read rates.
He said he wouldn’t recommend it if you can afford a Raspberry Pi 3 or 4.
You can get the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W at Amazon.
Best Raspberry Pi 3D Printer Camera
The best Raspberry Pi 3D printer camera is the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2. This is because it is specifically designed to be used with the Raspberry Pi board and it offers high-quality imaging capabilities. Also, it offers the best value for money when compared with other 3D printer cameras.
Some of the key features of the Raspberry Pi Camera include the following:
- Easy to Install
- Light Weight
- 8 Megapixel Camera Sensor
- Cost Friendly
The Raspberry Pi camera is very easy to set up, which is great for beginners. You only need to plug in the ribbon cable onto the Raspberry Pi board and you are good to go (if you have Octoprint running already).
It is very light (3g) which allows you to mount it on your 3D printer without adding any significant weight to it.
With the Raspberry Pi camera, you can get high-quality images and videos from the 8MP camera sensor embedded in it. The resolution is capped at 1080p (full HD) at 30 frames per second for videos.
You have the added control of reducing the quality to 720p at 60 frames per second or 640×480 at 90 frames per second. For still images, you get a picture quality of 3280x2464p from the 8MP sensor.
At around $30, the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2 is a great price for users. It is relatively cheap when compared to other 3D printer cameras out there.
One user stated that he used this camera to monitor 3D prints using OctoPi. The first time he set it up, the feed was maroon hued. He observed that the ribbon cable was slightly receded from the clamp.
He was able to fix it and it has been crystal clear ever since. He said it was an installer issue, no real problem.
Another user complained about the lack of documentation for the Raspberry Pi camera. He stated that the module works well, but he had to search for information regarding the orientation of the ribbon cable when connecting to a Raspberry Pi (3B+).
He mentioned that he was unaware of the connector on the Pi side had a lift-up latch that needed to be pushed back down to lock the connector in place. Once he did that, the camera worked, but it was out of focus.
He did more research and discovered that the V2 camera’s focus is preset to “infinity”, but it was adjustable. It turned out that the plastic funnel-shaped piece included with the camera is a tool for adjusting the focus, something that wasn’t stated in the packaging for the camera.
He pushed it against the front of the lens and turn one way or another to adjust. Once he got that out of the way, it worked very well, though he said the depth of field was rather shallow.
You can get the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2 at Amazon.