3d printers are both incredibly fast and obscenely slow. They are fast in the sense that what would in the past take you days to create using traditional tooling now takes you only a few hours and the end result is in millimetric precision. Though it’s also slow in the sense that the average print still takes at least an hour or more. As this technology is still in it’s early stages each print takes a good amount of baby sitting. I’m sure anyone who’s had a printer and left it unattended has come back to see this multiple times. From nozzle clogging or simply print board adherence are some of the common causes for such print failures. So what does dropcam have to do with this. Well I don’t have a fancy new makerbot so I can’t just launch an app and see how my print is doing. Also I didn’t want to drop a couple hundred dollars on a dropcam just to see my prints were progressing or failing. I found this incredibly useful piece of software called YAWcam(Yet Another Webcam Software http://www.yawcam.com/). The app I written in Java and is far from beautiful but what it lacks in beauty in makes up for by far in simplicity. You can simply launch your app and create a streaming webserver on the fly like this. I use it with my Microsoft webcam which is aging by the day.
Pretty cool though make sure you open your ports on your router so you can access it externally.. No more worrying and thinking “did my print fail”. Now I need to figure out a way to stop my printer if I see something wrong and feed the cats. Alp