Klipper is an open-source firmware solution for 3D printers that is designed to improve performance, reliability, and control. Developed by Kevin O'Connor, Klipper is a community-driven project that is constantly being updated and improved upon.
One of the key features of Klipper is its ability to use a separate computer, such as a Raspberry Pi, to process and interpret G-code, the instructions that tell a 3D printer what to do. This separation of tasks between the printer's mainboard and the computer running Klipper firmware allows for faster and more accurate printing, as well as increased control and monitoring capabilities.
In addition to its performance and control benefits, Klipper firmware is also highly customizable, allowing users to fine-tune and adjust various settings to suit their specific needs. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced 3D printer, Klipper firmware can be a valuable addition to your setup.
The Raspberry Pi is a small, affordable, and versatile computer that can be used for a wide range of projects, including 3D printing. If you have an Ultimaker 2(+/extended) 3D printer and are looking to improve its performance and capabilities, installing a Raspberry Pi and running Klipper firmware can be a great option.
In this post, we'll go over the steps for attaching a Raspberry Pi to an Ultimaker and running Klipper firmware, as well as the benefits of doing so.
Benefits of Installing a Raspberry Pi and Running Klipper Firmware
There are several benefits to installing a Raspberry Pi and running Klipper firmware on your Ultimaker 3D printer:
- Improved performance: Klipper firmware is optimized for 3D printing and can result in faster print speeds and improved print quality.
- Enhanced control: The Raspberry Pi allows you to control and monitor your 3D printer remotely, using a web interface or other software.
- Increased reliability: The Raspberry Pi and Klipper firmware can help to reduce printer downtime and improve overall reliability.
Tools and Materials
To install a Raspberry Pi on your Ultimaker and run Klipper firmware, you'll need the following tools and materials:
- Raspberry Pi
- MicroSD card
- Power supply for the Raspberry Pi
- Case for the Raspberry Pi, preferably with room to mount a fan.
- USB B cable to suit Ultimaker connection
- Computer or other device with an SSH client installed
- 3M or Gorilla tape to mount the Pi to the Ultimaker
- Zip ties to tidy the cables up
- Cable tie mounts with adhesive backs
Installing the Raspberry Pi and Running Klipper Firmware
Here are the steps for installing a Raspberry Pi on your Ultimaker and running Klipper firmware:
Start by downloading and installing the latest version of
Raspberry Pi Imager
Launch the Raspberry Pi Imager and select the "CHOOSE OS" option.
From the list select “Raspberry Pi OS (other)” and then “Raspberry Pi OS Lite”
Click "CHOOSE STORAGE" to select the SD card you want to use for the installation.
Press “Ctrl + Shift + X” to bring up the advanced menu.
Here we can configure various options to be set when the SD card is first booted.
- The hostname should be set to something unique so that you don’t need to remember the IP address of the Pi.
- SSH should be enabled to allow access to the Pi over the network
- The username and password should be changed from defaults to ensure the device is secure
- Wi-Fi settings can be configured if you are using them.
- Locale settings can be set to ensure the local time and keyboard layout are used
Click "WRITE" to begin the installation process. This may take a few minutes to complete.
Once the installation is complete, click "CLOSE" to close the Raspberry Pi Imager.
Install the SD card into the Pi and connect power. Connect a network cable if you are not using Wi-Fi. Give the Pi some time to finish its initial setup and reboot.
SSH into the Pi and log in with the user name and password you set in step 5c
Ensure git is installed on the Pi by issuing the following command and pressing enter. sudo apt-get install git -y Enter your password followed by enter when prompted.
Next we will install KIAUH a neat little utility for installing klipper and other software related to 3d printing.
Issue the following commands
- cd ~
- git clone https://github.com/th33xitus/kiauh.git
Use the default options for installation unless you know what you are doing
Once you have installed the required pieces of software it is time to flash the firmware to the printer. Ensure the Pi is connected to the printer via USB
- Return to the main menu and select 4) [Advanced] then 4) [Build + Flash]
- Change the architecture to Atmega AVR and the processor model to atmega2560
- Save and exit with Q and Y. Wait for the firmware to build.
- Once the firmware is built select 1) Regular flashing method followed by 1) USB. KIAUH will then scan for the connected printer. It should find a printer named similar to usb-Ultimaker_BV__www.ultimaker.com__Ultimaker_2.0-if00
- Select the correct printer and confirm. Wait for the flashing process to finish.
Connect to the Pi in a web browser using the hostname set in step 5a. You will be presented with the web interface you selected in step 13. Don’t worry if there are errors listed, we haven’t loaded the configuration file yet.
Navigate to the config files and open printer.cfg. You will start off with a very basic configuration file. Overwrite it all with the contents of this file
Find the [MCU] section near the bottom and update the line beginning with serial: to be as follows
Save and restart klipper for the new settings to take effect.
Installing a Raspberry Pi on an Ultimaker and running Klipper firmware can significantly improve the performance and capabilities of your 3D printer. The Raspberry Pi allows for remote control and monitoring of the printer, while the Klipper firmware is optimized for 3D printing and can result in faster print speeds and improved print quality. With the right tools and materials, installing a Raspberry Pi and running Klipper firmware on your Ultimaker is a straightforward process that can take your 3D printing setup to the next level.