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astroprint_logoEven the most artistic of spirits are sometimes forced into the confines of this fast-paced world with a premium based on time, and the ticking time bomb that the daily schedule can turn into while working on important projects. And while we all struggle with that balance from time to time, streamlining processes wherever you can will make a substantial difference.

With 3D printing, we’re all aware that one could go to sleep and wake up the next day and a complex print might still be steadily in progress, layer after layer—with absolutely no mind for your day full of appointments or looming deadlines. This is why monitoring has become such a big deal, along with being able to issue remote commands to your machine, even if that’s just because you have become glued to the couch and challenged by gravity for the day. Generally though, while one can dream, most of us do not have the luxury of lolling about—and this is probably a big part of the reason that the AstroPrint team found themselves reading and listening to such an outpouring of feedback regarding the need to see their 3D printers in action, from anywhere.

And indeed, they are delivering. While live video streaming is currently in testing with a small number of users only, after June 4th, everyone will be able to try it out. With live streaming, you will be able to view your 3D printer live, directly from your AstroPrint dashboard. It is important to note that this will only work with Raspberry Pi based AstroBoxes.

featureupdate-streaming-videoAstroPrint just gave us an early heads up on this soon-to-be-released feature, which is being made possible via WebRTC as a foundation. WebRTC is a free, open-source platform and project supplying real-time communications through APIs. It also yields some pretty serious credibility through support from Google, Mozilla and Opera, and more. The AstroPrint team points out that because WebRTC is a fully decentralized in terms of transferring data, there is no middleman.

“Since we are not a proxy between you and your video stream, you have complete control over it,” states Dilanka from the AstroPrint team in a blog regarding the new streaming feature. “This is a huge feature for AstroPrint and as far as we know, we are the first 3D Printing Cloud Platform to incorporate WebRTC in such a unique manner.”

Testing is still ongoing as they explore some of the limitations associated with WebRTC and warn that users may find a few bumps along the way due to a lack of native support in some browsers—noting that support for H264 is currently not optimal. AstroPrint warns also of the slight possibility that you may experience lag time during streaming. They state that while this is usually due to issues with acceleration, camera, network performance, and other things, you should not worry about it greatly.

“We chose WebRTC for a reason and we are confident that it will be a great choice for our users as we move forward,” says Dilanka.

monitor1When you are ready to try out the process, it’s very simple, but again, it is recommended that you have both the Raspberry Pi based Astrobox and a recommended camera (USB and Linux compatible). Following are the few simple steps:

  1. Find the monitor app on your dashboard.
  2. Select the camera/controls for your AstroBox.
  3. Switch to Video Mode by sliding the switch on the bottom right corner of your monitor panel, and click on the camera icon. Streaming should begin, although sometimes it may take just a little while before streaming begins.

 

monitor2And with that, you are on your way to live streaming, and watching your print in action, from literally anywhere. Hopefully, you’ll be monitoring a print on its way to success! Dilanka has also told 3DPrint.com that later this week, AstroPrint will be releasing Raspberry Pi 3 support.

This is just one more helpful feature from AstroPrint, a company we’ve followed a great deal recently as they’ve both entertained as well as kept us all on our toes, teaching us about everything from their new file management features to a fantastic cheat sheet for 3D printing that you’ll forever want to keep handy. While those are just a couple of examples, what you will find is that the AstroPrint team is driven by the needs and requests of their users—and they are quite talented in finding creative ways for coming through. Is this a service you’ll be using? Discuss further in the AstroPrint Video Streaming of 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.

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