To get the most out of your AstroPrint Cloud account, you will need to connect your 3D Printers(s) to your account. Lucky for you, this is a pretty easy task!
If you have a 3D Printer that came with AstroPrint pre-installed, you can simply log into your AstroPrint account on the touchscreen of the 3D Printer.
For everyone else, you’ll need an AstroBox. Each AstroBox will connect a single 3D Printer (wirelessly) to the AstroPrint ecosystem. For a list of known compatible 3D Printers, click here.
To connect your 3D Printer to the AstroPrint ecosystem, you have three options:
All three solutions will connect your 3D Printer to the AstroPrint ecosystem, letting you access the printer from your online AstroCenter Dashboard and the AstroPrint Mobile App. However, when it comes to how you interact with the device itself, there are a lot of differences.
1) AstroBox Touch (RECOMMENDED)
This is by far the preferred, and easiest way to get connected. If you are just starting out with AstroPrint, we recommend using an AstroBox Touch for your FIRST printer. Then, if you wish to try something more complex, try one of the other options for your second printer.
The other options (AstroBox Gateway and OctoPrint Plugin) are for tech savvy users that have tech skillz such as: configuring networks, working with command line, etc, whereas the AstroBox Touch is a more simple, plug’n’play device that is much easier to use. Actually, a lot of tech savvy folks use the AstroBox Touch as well, simply because it's easier and it has a bit more functionality.
There are two ways to get an AstroBox Touch:
- This is the fastest and easiest way to get started.
- Source your own parts, purchase the software, and build it yourself.
How is the AstroBox Touch different from the other options?
The touchscreen interface of the AstroBox Touch adds A LOT of functionality the other options do not have. Including:
- From the touchscreen you can run the initial setup, connect to networks, login to AstroPrint, access cloud files, restart/reboot, configure cameras, access printer controls, preheat, and much much more.
- With the AstroBox Gateway or OctoPrint options, you would need to use a browser interface with the device’s IP address to access much of this functionality. This adds quite a few steps to the process.
- There is some functionality that is ONLY accessible on the Touch and is not available on the other options.
- Such as using the device to: Access Print Queues (ex: Click “Print Next in Queue” from the touchscreen), print directly from Thingiverse and MyMiniFactory, register feedback on print success/failures, and more.
2) AstroBox Gateway
Note: Building and managing your own AstroBox Gateway requires technical skillz. As mentioned above, this device is for developers and other tech savvy folks. If that doesn't sound like you, or you just want a more plug and play solution, please consider the AstroBox Touch instead.
Why choose the Gateway over the Touch?
- If all you need is cloud connectivity and are ok with more cumbersome processes around setup, printer control, restarting/rebooting, etc, then the Gateway may work for you.
- The Gateway is cheaper and is therefore sometimes used for large Printer Fleets in which purchasing numerous AstroBox Touch units may be cost prohibitive. In these Printer Fleets, the printers are accessed almost solely through the AstroCenter Online Dashboard, and the operators are tech savvy enough to interact with the AstroBoxes through IP address, when necessary.
There are two ways to get an AstroBox Gateway:
- The kit has everything ready to go, you just need to assemble it.
- Source your own parts, download and install the software, and assemble.
3) OctoPrint Plugin
This is for existing OctoPrint users that wish to add AstroPrint functionality to their OctoPi build. If you are not familiar with OctoPrint already, this is likely not the solution for you. To learn more about the OctoPrint plugin, click here.