How to create the BEST 3D Printing TimeLapses! OctoPrint, Octolapse Guide

How to create the BEST 3D Printing TimeLapses! OctoPrint, Octolapse Guide

For an upcoming project I had to design this 3-way corner fitting for PVC pipes. So, I exported it as an .STL file. Sliced it with my slicer software of my 3D printer and finally used my well-working Prusa i3 MK3 to -obviously- print it! But coming from a videography point of view, isn’t it kinda boring to see different time-points of the printing process and finally having me remove the printed parts I think, it is way more appealing to record either a very long video or tons of pictures with a fixed time interval between them. Then speeding this footage up to create a sort of time-lapse effect. Only problem is that neither the 3D printed object nor the printer had stayed in place. Which makes this time-lapse horrible to look at. To solve this problem, I will show you in this video how to use Octoprint with Octolapse and install a small modification to my 3D printer to create intriguing looking time-lapses. Which look like a 3D print grows on its own over time. Let’s get started! First of all let’s think about the theory of such time-lapses. Whenever the 3D printer finishes one layer of te 3D print we want the hot end and pad to move to a specific place. Which always needs to be the same and wait there for a second. During that time we take a picture with the camera. And afterwards the printer continues printing the next layer before repeating this process. We do this for all layers of the 3Dprint and then use an editing software to turn our still images into a small time-lapse video. Now, to do the picture taking process there exist 2 popular options. The first one is to inject a special G-code into the slicing software and then using a camera wit ha remote trigger to take a picture after every layer change. This method was actually recommended to me by Josef Prusa over Twitter. And the attached tutorial guide offered all information about how to activate the remote trigger feature and create a suitable electronic circuit for it. As well as where to hook up the wires to the 3D printer and what kind of code we would have to inject after every layer change I’m pretty sure this method works perfectly fine but I wanted to try the Octoprint and Octolapse methods. In case you don’t know yet Octoprint is a remote control and monitoring software. That you can install -for example- on a Raspberry Pi. But feel free to learn more about it From the video that I had created back in 2016. Anyway, after grabbing myself a Raspberry Pi 3 model B that I had laying around I removed its micro-SD card and plugged it into my computer and downloaded the latest OctoPi release. Afterwards I used Etcher to burn the downloaded image file onto the SD card. Edited the OctoPi WPA Applicant’s text file with Notepad++. So that the Pi connects to my Wi-Fi network. Removed the SD card, plugged it back into my Pi, connected my 3D printer through its USB port to it and finally powered the PI with 5V through a micro USB cable. After then connecting to my RaspberryPi through my browser, I did a pretty self-explanatory first time setup and finally go to the Octoprint user interface in less than 5 minutes. Here we can connect to the printer, control its functions, start prints and all of that good stuff. But what we are mainly after is Octolapse. Which is a plugin that creates time-lapses of your 3D prints. Which also comes with tons of awesome features. That you can have a look at on their website. To implement it, I opened the Octoprint settings, navigated to Plugin Manager Searched for Octolapse and simply installed it. That’s it! After restarting the Octoprint software, we got and extra Octolapse tab where we can fine-tune this plugin. But what I noticed right at the start that I got no webcam connected yet! That is why I got myself this RaspberryPi camera module, version 2. Whose Flat Flex ribbon cable was a bit short for the intended application. So, after replacing it with a 1 metre one, I hooked up the other side of the cable to the RaspberryPi. Powered it and thus got a working webcam stream through the Octoprint software. But placing it in a permanent position, next to the printer was still impossible. That is why I downloaded this camera stand designed by “attleberg”from Thingiverse. and 3D printed all of its 3 parts in less than 3 hours. After assembling, the stand with M3 screw and nuts, placed the camera inside it, secured its lids with a bit of scotch tape and finally hot glued it to a sturdier pedestal. Then all I had to do was to position the camera properly to get a decent looking still image. At this point, I started adjusting the Octolapse settings and finally deciding on these. Which eventually spat out decent looking time-lapses. But feel free to experiment because there are tons of options to fine-tweak. But anyway, as soon as I uplodaded the G-code, of my 3-way fitting, locally to the Octoprint software and hitting print the 3D printer did the usual heating up and leveling procedure. But as soon as the actual print started, I noticed that the Octolapse software was working properly. Since it was moving the head and pads properly to a fixed position after every printed layer. And after waiting for around 2 hrs and 45 minutes, it was only longer than the slicer software calculated. Obviously, due to the time necessary for the fixed time-lapse position, the print was finally complete! And the Octolapse software spat out a finished video file that I could download. And let’s just say, we are not done yet! Because this time-lapse looks blurry, and only features a resolution of 640*480 The reason is that forgot to set the resolution of the Raspberry Pi camera to 1920*1080 pixels in the OctoPi.txt file. As well, as adjusting the focus of the camera. With those fixes, the streamed image looked way better and thus I didn’t have a test round with the Octolapse software. Which ultimately created a time-lapse which was not half bad. Nice! But I was still looking for better image quality. Thus I turned to my DSLR camera. The Cannon EOS 700D. By utilizing 2.5mm audio jack cable. Connecting one side of it to the external trigger port of the camera and shorting the other side’s sleeve and tip contacts, the camera takes a picture if the manual focus is selected. So by using this small switch, which I salvaged from a microwave, I cut off the 2.5mm plug Soldered the 2 required wires, directly to the Normally Open contacts of the switch and thus I got and external trigger for the camera. Luckily, my 3D printer got a screw to its right side. Close to the Z-axis. Which I removed and replaced with a longer M3 screw. To secure the switch to the printer. The only problem was that in the fixed time-lapse position the print-head does not activate the switch yet. To solve this, we can go with my favourite solution: By simply adding a bit of hot glue to the switch. And just like that the head reaches our switch now, without a problem. So, I added a tripod to the camera, positioned it properly. Next to my 3D printer. Connected the external trigger switch. And started the 3D print with Octolapse activated. As you can see, the camera did its job without a problem. As soon as the print was complete, I removed its SD card and imported all of its pictures into Adobe Premium Pro software. Which functions nicely, when it comes to creating time-lapses. Due to the high resolution of its pictures, it is easily possible to add some movements. So, as a comparison, here is the time-lapse from the Raspberry Pi camera and here is the DSLR camera time-lapse. Which, in my opinion, truly looks stunning! Last, but definitely not least, I searched for more interesting to look at 3D prints on Thingiverse. And found this skull pencil holder. Designed by “philnelson”. Whose time-lapse setup was a bit hard to prepare. Since you never precisely know how big the object will be. But in the end, the picture taking process worked out smoothly. And as you can see, this is how you can create some really awesome 3D printing time-lapses. I hope you enjoyed this video. So, don’t forget to share, like and subscribe. STAY CREATIVE AND I WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME!

100 thoughts on “How to create the BEST 3D Printing TimeLapses! OctoPrint, Octolapse Guide”

  • Before watching the rest of the video…. Of course you place your camera on the x-y table or mount it to the print head.

  • When it comes to remote-controlling DSLRs to make awesome timelapses, you should check out the Rymdreglage guys. In some of their videos, they are even presenting their setup, although not with that much amount of details.

  • please help me, i want to build diy 3d printer, most part i already have, but still confusing for me that no one to guide me

  • Dude! I was actually just brainstorming how to do this exact thing YESTERDAY! Way to have perfect timing haha

  • lmao youtube decided to show me this vid in 144p and i was like "yeah great video quality you have there "

  • Thanks so much for the video. I had installed Octolapse but didn't quite finish the setup. Then I couldn't understand why it wasn't moving the extruder out of the way. Your video showed that it was possible. I kept looking at settings until I found the correct one: It's the Stabilization Setting: Fixed – Extruder at Back Rght. Still getting the error about Absolute/Relative positioning. I thought I had the correct code put in, but then Octoprint failed. The timelapse still worked perfectly. Thanks again!!!!!

  • I always wonder how 3D printer timelapse was prepared, And my guess was right, that it moves the head to the side and snaps a photo. Now I can die in peace.

  • You can attach the Pi camera to the Z-axis and have the illusion that the build plate moves down.
    Sample video:

  • This is a really cool method of triggering the shutter, however, I'm a little worried that mounting a switch to the top of your Z axis is going to cause it to crash too early when you calibrate your z-axis since the Prusa machine drives the z-axis to the top of the print volume to level it. It will throw off the alignment of the two lead screws and at worst could break some of the printed parts. Maybe attempt to mount a smaller momentary switch to the side of the plastic part or even grab the STL of the part from the Prusa website and add your own mounting holes for it?

    Either way, I'm going to spend this summer messing around with this idea to try and find the best settings to use for myself!

  • Who else always cringes at the end of Great Scott videos when he says: "… and I will see you next time" with that excited and enthusiastic voice?!

  • @GreatScott!
    Consider getting a camera with an electronic shutter.
    The lifetime of a 700D is stated to be around 100,000 actuations.
    I guess thats not much if you use it to take around 1000 pictures per project.

  • Hello, mister scott. I was wondering if you have your "stay creative" design from your tshirts as a digital image format. I would really like to have on my phone background because it's very imspiring.

  • Nice and SIMPLE solution for DSLR timelapse 🙂 I would've used the software to trigger the camera, but your Hardware Option was awesome.

  • I stil l prefer using octoprint rather than using external camera since I won't need to setup the camera every time I turn on my 3D printer.

  • sir can u ful fil a small wish of request is to make a spy long-range fm transmitter without any ics,simply with npn transistors..

  • GreatScott, can you make an ISP Programmer for Arduino/AVR based on DTISP 1.0?

  • Nice video, thanks for sharing!

    Question: Did you try triggering your DSLR via GPhoto2 as is suggested in these three tutorials below:

  • The problem I've had with Octoprint – Though technically; the RasPi – is I've never been able to get it to connect to my network, which does not have a password. I use MAC addressing, which the Pi hates. Otherwise, I'd just use my ZeroW plugged directly into the Einsy.

  • Would definitely recommend just using octolapse with the DSLR. It does all the work for you and just requires a little bit of messing around with scripts to get started

  • “You never know how big the object will potentially be” It litteraly gives you the dimensions in your slicer!

  • Hi scoot
    Can you make a video to us about ac volt step up and down stabilizers that use transformers or servos

  • Sehr cool. Hatte mir letztens die Frage gestellt ob das möglich ist so Zeitrafferaufnahmen zu machen. Hatte denselben Gedanken mit der "Aufnahme" Position. Das es aber schon was von Octoprint gibt wusste ich nicht. Echt klasse. Danke für die Info. Und weiter so mit den Videos thumbs up

    Im asking this question to all electonics geniuses on youtube if they know how to build an extremely low frequency generator, electromagnetic waves ranging from 1hz to 20hz, that would be awesome! here in this link there are more infos about the uses of suck a device,…_and_their_Experimental_Effects_Extremely_Low_Frequency

  • You video really inspired me but I didn't want to use octoprint, so I wrote a cura postprocessing script that allows you to add two lines of gcode between each layers.
    The script is available here: enjoy and dont hesitate (all of you guys) to give feedback

  • OK, Windows 7 is getting beyond retarded now. It lost the audio stream when the YouTube ad break tried (and failed) to happen.

  • nice bro . i need to show me how make charger Lithium bettery and thanks …make a video for us bro

  • Did you make the 3D printer yourself?

    I like the way you make the time lab whiteout the printer head nice work.

    I want to make a printer by my self
    Don’t no where to start.
    Maybe you can get me started

  • Hey, I have made the first Electroboom discord, but you have your own special role in it because well, you are likely the most informative of the big electronics youtubers (sorry diodegonewild). So it would be awesome if you could come. its very small right now as it is only 2 weeks old. Thanks! Link below.

  • Any ideas on how to create a battery powered RGB LED Matrix that fits in a milk glass bottle? Ideally with bluetooth connectivity, tho preloaded patterns would be fine, two. I have a few ideas on how to do the "mechanical" part, but i have nowhere near enough knowledge when it comes to the required electronics.

    I do know that it is quite power hungry and my idea was to use these thick 3.7V 3000mah batteries that you usually get with electric cigarettes tho they might not deliver enough power.

  • I need to build my own devices which it need software and hardware building and I need your help !!????

    Thank you

  • Eventually, in the end, if you are using your dslr for taking the photo. The step for using R-pie is redundant. Just using the code at end of every later in gcode is better(if it can be automatically pasted at end of every layer in gcode)

  • I use the app "Lapse It" with an old cell phone with my DLP printer so I can time the images with the peel sequence. I also use a GoPro with the time lapse feature. I've gotten some really good time lapses this way and don't need any integrating software like OctoPrint. #diyprofessional

  • Hi Greatscott.!

    Can you make a video about brushless motor and how to reduce the noise.
    I build an electric scooter and the motor sounds terrible. I use a hoverboard wheel which use a 36v power source.


  • Doesn't the camera shutdown on longer Prints or longer layers because the time might be too long for the time out of the camera and the battery?

  • Can you make a hand generator from a microwave turntable motor ?
    With a multi value lead, as in a board that searchs the voltage required to power the device, then auto selected. ( so we don't blow up our stuff )
    Maybe a phone charger operated by hand ?

  • Very nice video thank you !
    Note that if you are running Octoprint on a linux device (for example a raspberry pi) Ocolapse can be configured to trigger programmatically your DSLR via usb (using gphoto) and use the snapshots to render the timelapse.
    That way no need to use any microswitch.
    Details on github :

  • Nice quality and interesting demonstration, but for many reasons DSLR is not very practical solution:
    – Interrupting prints after each layer just to position for snapshot – I don't like that idea.
    – Using mechanical switch for triggering by physical contact – even worse idea!
    – Manually assembling movie from images on SD card – hugh.. what a pain in the butt.

    OctoPrint actually allows you to connect almost any USB camera, and does all the work for you.
    And mounting camera on the bed is actually quite bad ass!
    Something like this:
    I don't even think about my timelapses: they get stored on my OctoPi, I occasionally
    check them, download nice and interesting looking ones and flush out the rest.

  • Just a heads up for anyone wanting to use a DSLR with Octolapse.
    The DSLR can be directly controlled by the Raspberry Pi via USB using this:

    I used this method to get a Canon T5i working with Octolapse and zero physical modifications to the printer itself.

  • Hi GreatScott, I was thinking about an idea for a small project that can be reused by many people that own 3d printers – use Octoprint to control a relay to power on /off 3d printer. Seems simple, but I am puzzled how to provide power for RPi and make the solution reliable – eg. that the RPI would not stop the print unexpectedly. It would be great to power it using a single power cord and do all power management on something attached to the printer directly. Maybe you could add it to your todo list? 🙂

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