OctoApp is a popular app for controlling your 3D printer via OctoPrint. Learn all about it, as well as how to get started with it!
If you’ve been in the 3D printing space for a while, you’ve probably heard OctoPrint mentioned a few times, but you might not necessarily know what it is. OctoPrint is software that runs on a dedicated device connected to your 3D printer, allowing users to upload files to print, remote control, and remotely view their 3D printer without needing to be in the same room.
In this article, we’ll look into an OctoPrint plug-in (and app) called OctoApp that allows a simplified way to remotely manage your OctoPrint client. One of the main limitations of OctoPrint alone is the lack of access when not connected to your home Wi-Fi network.
While there are some solutions (like OctoRemote), in this article, we’ll recap what OctoPrint is and how it works before looking at OctoApp, its features, how it compares to OctoRemote, as well as how to get started.
What Is OctoPrint?
OctoPrint automates the time-consuming process of having to use SD cards in the 3D printing process, by instead allowing the sliced files to be uploaded to the OctoPrint instance (in most cases, a Raspberry Pi running OctoPi OS or an old capable Android phone), where the dedicated hardware connected by USB to the printer will then control the 3D printer via G-code commands.
OctoPrint allows you to install many different plug-ins to augment further features and functionality, which is why it’s become very popular. Its open-source nature means that there are plenty of plug-ins developed for it, and it’s widely used by thousands of makers.
Just to name a few, you can add cameras to get remote streaming, set up the visualization of bed meshes, work with custom dashboards, and even have AI-driven print failure detection (formerly known as the Spaghetti Detective and recently replaced by Obico)!
There are plenty of other great options for plug-ins and OctoApp is one of them. Let’s take a closer look.
What Is OctoApp?
Users typically install OctoApp because they want to be able to monitor their printer from anywhere, set prints going, and do so without needing to use OctoPrint’s web UI, which isn’t optimized for mobile. You can of course set up to view OctoPrint remotely via a browser, but options like OctoApp tend to offer a nicer user experience and are better suited to mobile phones.
As mentioned earlier, while there are solutions like OctoRemote, OctoApp is becoming more common among users owing to its better interface and more secure features.
OctoApp “talks” to your OctoPrint to receive information and control your printer. OctoApp also has a companion plug-in for your OctoPrint instance, which improves the app’s abilities and supports smartwatches too. In a nutshell, OctoApp allows remote access to your OctoPrint instance via an intuitive app.
It has three main functions:
- Connect: Automatically pick up any and all OctoPrint instances available.
- Prepare: Select from uploaded files to print, delete specific objects from builds, and see usage history.
- Print: Set prints going, view real-time data about them, and alter temperatures on the fly.
OctoApp hosts many of the features that OctoPrint has, except designed for smartphone viewing. The most comprehensive amount of features are available on the main app, while there’s also a WearOS app if you want to view the status of prints from your smartwatch, as well as a companion plug-in.
Below we’ve put all the features available in the three offerings as of November 2022. Note that to access the WearOS app or companion plug-in, you need the smartphone app.
The Smartphone App
- Automatic scanning of networks: Pick up any and all OctoPrint instances.
- Remote monitoring: Print remotely, modify temperatures, machine parameters, view status updates and estimates of remaining time left.
- Remote viewing: View livestreams from your printer, download and save time-lapses, and get print progress photos.
- Live updates: Get live updates via notifications, view live G-code progress, and cancel objects mid-way through prints.
- Remote control: Power on/off machine remotely, turn on/off lights, install OctoPrint plug-ins. This can be done over 4G via OctoPrint or your smartwatch.
The main features are the ability to manage printing on multiple printers, with live notifications of print time and footage. Another handy feature is remotely powering on/off the machine (if set up to do so) and canceling objects midway through prints, especially if they become unstuck.
At the time of writing, the WearOS version of the app is in beta. This means that the app isn’t quite polished, but the majority of the features work fine in normal usage. If you encounter issues, the developer is open to receiving feedback. If you’re curious and want to try it, you don’t need to be a tester to use the app.