This week’s selection is the “Raspberry Pi Cookbook: Software and Hardware Problems and Solutions 3rd Edition” by Simon Monk.
The Raspberry Pi is one of the most notable computing platforms worldwide, having sold more than 30M units around the world by the end of 2019. They’re used for all types of purposes, ranging from robotics to weather monitoring to audio/visual processing and much more.
One of those uses is in 3D printing.
Actually, there are a couple of ways Raspberry Pis are used in 3D printing:
Controller: In some 3D printers the controller board is actually a Raspberry Pi unit. While most have some form of Arduino board, the Pi is also quite popular for this use.
Set Top Box: “Dumb” 3D printers can be made more intelligent by adding a set top box that controls the printer operators through its USB port. This is often done using software such as Octoprint that’s running on a Raspberry Pi.
Project Control: Many projects using 3D printed parts also use Raspberry Pi computers as the controller for the device being built.
That last point is perhaps the most interesting use. An assembly of 3D printed parts can become “alive” when powered by additional hardware such as motors and sensors, and controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Many 3D print projects make use of Raspberry Pi platforms for this purpose.
There are plenty of Raspberry Pi models available, and the most current version Raspberry Pi 4, which sports a number of powerful features:
USB-C, USB-2, USB-3
Dual 4k Micro-HD HDMI
Up to 4GB memory
Quiet, finless design
There are also countless add-ons and peripherals specifically designed for the “Pi”, including cameras, mounts, sensors and much more.
Raspberry Pi Cookbook
The Raspberry Pi Cookbook by Simon Monk is a comprehensive resource that should be owned by anyone using a Raspberry Pi.
The book begins with a segment on basic setup, including the important question of selecting a Raspberry Pi: there are several to choose from. In addition, Monk explains the essential peripherals such as power supplies, microSD cards, and the critical process of loading software onto the Raspberry Pi. These are things every Raspberry Pi implementation must handle.
Once that’s out of the way, Monk explains every dimension of Raspberry Pi use, and you can choose which section your project makes use of. Sections covered include:
Python scripts and scripting
Hardware interfaces (for buttons, controllers, etc.)
One of my favorite features of the Raspberry Pi is the wealth of existing software available for the platform. In many cases the programs you require already exist and you simply need to download and install them. The OS used on the Raspberry Pi is typically Linux, which opens up the possibility of vast libraries of standard software for use in your tiny Pi.
If you’re thinking of working with a Raspberry Pi on your 3D print project, I strongly recommend this book.