Poce - Printer operation and control engine

Inspiration

Using a 3d printer of the DLP type ourselves we quickly noticed that there is no usable software in the wild. Usable in this case means web-based multi-platform compatible, clean coding style, creating reproducible results, pretty and intuitive ui, so basically solid but lightweight and fun to use. Plus a major requirement of ours is an open-source solution. None of the available software was able to fulfill this wishes. Something had to be done...

What it does

Poce puts the entire functionality of your printer at the tips of your fingers - wherever you are. Use it with your computer, your iPad or just any mobile device of your choice. Start prints and monitor your printer even when you are not at home. Get Twilio notifications about status, errors and success.

How we built it

Having a DLP printer and its firmware (which is ours as well but not part of the project) we utilized a Raspberry Pi 3 as a webserver hosting Poce and managing the communication between the web-interface and the actual hardware. Poce runs in Javascript / React exclusively, is as lightweight as possible and intended to be usable intuitively while not restricting the user's access to the printer's functionality.

Challenges we ran into

The first hassle after the start was the configuration of a network suitable for the development on the R'Pi. As always on an event like that time was of the essence and even minor interruptions can become problems. A merge conflict here and there or the occasional debugging of a function that worked just 2 minutes ago become a challenge when having a constant eye on the watch.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Seeing the scope of the task, we are proud of having a working system to be presented. We are proud to be committing this project to the open-source community.

What we learned

Without a doubt it pays to invest the first two hours of the time on planning, drawing, drinking coffee and thinking ahead...

What's next for Poce

Poce is definitely to be continued. This is the only open-source project of its type so we hope, in the next couple of months, to be able to push it to a point where the community will take over and help us create something useful and even more fun than we had getting it started here at jHack2016.

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