Cura on R-Pi 3

I’m looking at setting up the school where I’m helping out with a Rapsberry Pi 3 to run their Lulzbot Mini. Since this is a group of 20+ 5/6 graders and one teacher, I’m hoping to not overly complicate their work flow. I just received the R Pi 3, case, and blank 32GB SD card today. I’m going to start poking around over the next few days.

They are running Cura on an ancient laptop now, and some of them know there way around it fairly well. Enough of them are also comfortable with getting STL files out of TinkerCad and over to the tethered computer to slice in Cura and run the printer. Design right now mostly happens on Chromebooks or some of their old laptops, and the STL files are saved to a classroom Google Drive. From there, they access the drive on the tethered laptop to load the STL file into Cura.

Are we better off slicing on Cura in the laptop and exporting the g-code to either Cura, Astroprint, or something else on the Pi, or shoud we just bring the STL right to the Pi? If we ran Cura on the Pi (I think I read it will run there), are we using a non-Lulzbot-ized version that does not have all the Mini-specific print profiles? If so, how hard is it to copy those settings and create our own profiles? Is a manual exercise? (I sort of dread this, because while we do mainly HIPS and some PLA now, it’s likely we will branch out. Setting up all those profiles manually can get to be a pain, not to mention updating all of them when new profiles come out.) Having the profiles all set up and ready to go has been a major advantage for us

Some thoughts I’ve had so far:

  • I’m thinking it’s better to send files wirelessly, rather than having 20 kids yanking and inserting an SD card.
  • Leaning towards using Cura on the Pi, since they are already familiar with it. Would consider using something else if it’s better/easier (maybe Cura on the Pi doesn’t matter much if they are slicing somewhere else?)
  • Slicing on another computer does introduce an extra step: go from the Chromebook, to the slicing computer, then to the Pi (can’t run Cura on a Chromebook AFAIK). However, the slicing computer could also be the one that we control the Pi from wirelessly, so maybe not such a big deal

Any thoughts on how best to proceed would be appreciated. Forgive my ignorance on this. I’ve never even seen a pi run, let alone seen any of the software we’d be using on it to control the printer.

Some of my questios become clear, once I’ve finally gotten the Pi 3 up and running. I’ve been able to export print profiles from desktop Cura to the OctoPrint Cura