How to Monitor a 3D Printer Remotely

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Updated February 20, 2023

If you work with a 3D printer, you may wonder how to monitor your 3D printer. Complex print jobs take a ton of time, even with high-end 3D printers. You can use free 3D printer monitoring software, a Raspberry Pi, and a USB webcam to keep the printing process on track. So, stick around to learn how to monitor a 3D printer remotely.


  • You can connect a 3D printer to a monitoring software like OctoPrint to observe projects in real time via metrics and video.
  • Monitoring software helps users observe the printing process and remotely cancel failed prints.
  • You can install the software on a Raspberry Pi and connect it to your 3D printer via Wi-Fi or USB.

And if you need high-quality paper printing jobs, compare high-rated printers, such as the Canon Pixma E477 vs HP Deskjet 2723, to see the top features.

Insider Tip

If possible, use a USB connection for your 3D printer camera because it offers more stability than wireless options.

How to Monitor Your 3D Printer

You can minimize wasted time and materials through real-time print monitoring. For this guide, we will explain how to connect a 3D printer to a free monitoring software called OctoPrint, but there is other software out there, some of which are brand specific. For example, Creality offers Creality Cloud for use with their printers.

Once you understand how to connect a 3D printer to a computer, you’ll have an easier time setting up remote monitoring and failure detection. Your 3D printing software should work with multiple connection types, like a USB cable or Wi-Fi adapter, so it’s up to personal preference.

In addition to print monitoring, advanced users should learn how to program 3D printers. Your software serves as an interface for printing, and you can avoid some 3D printing issues by refining the settings. Learning the different tools and software ensure a smooth 3D printing journey, but mistakes happen. Knowing how to make 3D models for printing can help you avoid defects in the actual print, like sagging overhangs and warped edges.


Don’t skip the bed leveling process before a major 3D print job, or you may waste a ton of time on warped and uneven models.

STEP 1 Install the Software with an Image Writer

  1. On a PC, use a web browser to download the OctoPrint software image.
  2. Install image writing software like Etcher, Rufus, or Win32 Disk Imager on your PC. You need this program to apply the OctoPrint software to the SD card.
  3. Insert your SD card into the PC and use your imager software to flash the OctoPrint image to it.

STEP 2 Set Up the Raspberry Pi

  1. Insert the flashed SD card into your Raspberry Pi.
  2. Plug the Wi-Fi adapter into the Raspberry Pi’s USB port.
  3. Turn the unit on and connect to the OctoPi with your PC via octopi.local.
  4. Go through the initial setup and create your login credentials.
  5. Once finished, log out and disconnect the Raspberry Pi from the power supply.

STEP 3 Connect the Raspberry Pi to the Printer

  1. Connect the Raspberry Pi to the printer with a USB cable.
  2. Turn on the Raspberry Pi and open the OctoPi dashboard on your PC.
  3. You should have control of the 3D printer.
  4. If you want a video feed of your 3D printer, move on to step 4. If not, you’ve finished setting up the OctoPi print monitor.

STEP 4 Connect Your Camera

  1. Turn off the Raspberry Pi and plug your camera into the Raspberry Pi. You can use a USB webcam or a camera module with a ribbon cable.
  2. Power on the Raspberry Pi and launch the OctoPrint dashboard.
  3. Navigate to the control tab, and you should see a webcam stream from the camera.
  4. Some users mount the camera to the printer, but a cheap tripod will work too. You want a high and wide enough viewing angle to see the entire print bed.

STAT: A 2019 Global EY study showed that 83% of the worldwide construction industry already considered or adopted 3D printing practices for their businesses. (source)

How to Monitor a 3D Printer Remotely FAQs

Can I make a custom 3D printer?

Making DIY printers is a popular pastime in the 3D printing community. While you can make a printer from scratch, most experts recommend buying a DIY 3D printer kit to ensure a smooth build.

Is it OK to leave a 3D printer on overnight?

Quality 3D printers shouldn’t have any issues running for multiple hours or days. That said, you should print in a well-ventilated area to minimize any risk of overheating.

Can I queue multiple 3D printing jobs?

The professional 3D printing experience usually involves tons of successive prints. You need enough room on the print bed to support multiple copies at once. That said, if you have the space, you shouldn’t struggle with 3D print queues.
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