The Beagleprint by Mintion is a stand alone device that aims to allow you to control your 3D printer via wifi, and automatically film time lapse prints while you’re at it.
The Beagleprint is pretty unassuming looking. Inside the box there isn’t a whole lot, just the camera, a power cable, and a USB cable to connect to your printer. There’s a small manual as well, which walks you through the steps of setting up your device.
Like many items that have a web interface that connects to phones, there’s a bit of a dance you have to do where you connect to the device itself with a temporary hot spot, then feed it the information it needs to connect to your wireless network.
This process isn’t particularly difficult, but feels a bit convoluted and frustrating at times. This isn’t Mintion’s fault, it’s setting up any modern device that is wireless-only is frustrating in this same exact way.
After I got it onto our wireless network, the device had already connected to and accurately determined what printer I had. I literally had to do zero set up on this other than plugging it in and following the process to connect to the WiFi.
I did notice that when re-opening the app after a long while, I had to log into their system. So far I have not tested to see if this allows me to monitor my 3d printer from outside my home internet.
After downloading their app to do the set up (I used IOS version on both my phone and iPad), I was able to connect to the device at any point simply by opening the app and selecting that printer. It would pop up a live preview with all kinds of stats on what was happening on the device at the time.
The interface is a bit rudimentary but it has all you need. You can manually control the printer and see temps for your bed and hot end.
I saw no effect on print quality based on using this device vs not using it, except for a minor annoyance from the timelapse setup shown below.
Out of the box, this thing will record timelapse videos. I love 3D printed time lapse videos, so I like this feature. It does add a little bit of time to your print though, as it moves the extruder out of the way to take a picture on each layer (this makes the video much prettier).
Moving the head can also cause tiny little blobs where some material oozes from the nozzle between actions. This can almost entirely be rubbed off with your finger nail afterwards.
Once your print is done, you can download your video. There’s really not much else to it. There’s an SD slot on the camera, and it comes with a 32GB card pre-installed. Video quality is fine, as you can see above it isn’t the most amazing thing in the world but a little better lighting and framing would help a lot.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Beagleprint. I realize that there are things out there like Octoprint, which would allow you much more expandability and control in a roll-your-own style fashion with Raspberry Pi, but I think this appeals to an entirely different market.
If you’re just wanting to painlessly capture time lapse video and be able to monitor or control your printer via WiFi without having to go through the process of rolling your own, I highly recommend the Beagleprint.