So you've got a bunch of 3D printers, some Print Farm Hubs, maybe some webcams as well. Normally, connecting all of those devices together is no easy task.
AutoFarm3D makes it super simple to connect Hubs together. Let's go!
Connecting Hubs Together
This example will show how to connect hubs together using Command mode and Worker mode.
- At least two hubs running AutoFarm3D software
- Each Hub should be connected to the same local network (WiFi or Ethernet is fine)
- Each Hub should have it's own IP address and be in standalone mode (default)
The farm structure is the way that all of your hubs are connected together. It's like a tree, with a single Hub at the top, and all the other hubs connected to it. The Hub at the top is called the command hub. The other hubs are called worker hubs.
In general, the command hub controls the worker hubs, and the worker hubs control the printers.
The command Hub is not physically connected to any other hubs. It just needs to be connected to your local network through Wi-Fi or ethernet. The communication between the command Hub and the worker hubs is done across your local network.
By default, each Hub will run in standalone mode. This means that it will manage all printers and webcams connected to it. This is fine if you only have one hub, but if you want to connect multiple hubs together, you'll need to set one to command mode and the rest to worker mode.
To get started with connecting hubs together, you'll need to set one Hub to command mode. Hubs in command mode manage all the worker hubs on the same network.
This Hub many duties:
- Stores all gcode files and timelapses
- Serves the AutoFarm3D web page
- Distributes print jobs to worker hubs
- Records print job history
- Collects printing stats
- Manages remote access
- Manages user accounts
The command Hub must be on a device with at least 2GB of RAM. Our Print Farm Hub and the Raspberry Pi 4 are both good choices.
To set a Hub as a command hub, click the button "Logs" in the top right of the main dashboard to open up the Hub Settings page.
Choose Command mode. Click "Save And Change Modes", then restart the hub.
Hubs in worker mode receive print jobs from the command Hub and manage the printers and webcams directly connected to them.
Worker mode allows you to connect more devices to a single hub. This is because much of the resource-intensive work is offloaded to the command hub. This means that you can do one of two things:
- Connect more devices to hubs in worker mode
- Use lower-powered devices like the Raspberry Pi 3 or the Raspberry Pi Zero.
To learn more about how many printers & webcams you can connect to each hub, check out the multi-printer control page.
For every other Hub in your print farm, go to the Software Management Center, and set them to worker mode.
By default, it will automatically find the command hub. If you have more than one command Hub on your network, you can specify the exact IP address it should connect to instead. In this case, my command hub's IP address was 192.168.1.121.
Once you've changed modes, restart each Hub to apply the changes. When they boot up again, they'll connect to the command hub.
If your command hub's IP address seems to change occasionally, you'll need to set it as a static IP. Log into your WiFi router and search for 'static IP' or 'DCHP reservation' settings, and choose an IP address for your command hub.
Access the Farm Dashboard
Once you've restarted everything, go to your command hub's IP address. In my case, it's 192.168.1.121:8080. All your printers should now be accessible from a single screen!