For technical reasons, each 3D Printer you connect to the AstroPrint platform will need to have an AstroBox connected to the printer. This is what allows the printer's data/images/status/etc to be accessible through your AstroPrint account (via web portal, mobile app, desktop software, etc). At first, it may seem like this would be very expensive, but there are ways to do this efficiently and inexpensively.
You have two options for hardware. The AstroBox Touch (ABT) or the AstroBox Gateway (ABG). For each of these, you can purchase plug and play units from our store, or you can download the software and make your own (you source your own hardware components).
- AstroBox Touch (ABT) - Purchase - The ABT is by far the preference of most users. The unit includes a touchscreen which increases the functionality of the AstroBox dramatically. Most 3D Printer Farms simply purchase AstroBox Touch units directly from AstroPrint. Currently they retail for $199, however we offer bulk purchase discounts for 3D Printer Farms. Please reach out to us for bulk pricing info. :-)
- AstroBox Touch (ABT) - DIY - For a lower cost option, you can download the ABT software ($40/unit, bulk discounts are available), then source your own RPis, touchscreens, power adapters, and enclosures (or just print your enclosures). This will run you $80 to $100 per unit total. You will need to source your own hardware, flash software, assemble units, etc.
- AstroBox Gateway (ABG) - The ABG provides the same networking functionality of the AstroBox Touch, but without a screen. This actually makes it much more technical to set up and maintain. Retail kits are $99. For a DIY version, you can download the software for free and source your own RPi, power adapter, and wifi dongle. This means you could make one of these for ~$60.
- Honorable Mention - OctoPrint Plugin You can also use AstroPrint’s OctoPrint Plugin. The hardware cost is identical to using the AstroBox Gateway. Basically, you can use OctoPrint on your own RPis, with the AstroPrint Plugin installed. We do not charge for the plugin. This plugin will connect your OctoPrint box to the AstroPrint Cloud.
Please note: Due to limitations in OctoPrint there are some features that will likely never be available, such as out-of-network video streaming. Also, updates and bug fixes are released for AstroBox software before they are released for the OctoPrint plugin.