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Keep an Eye on Your Prints

4 Best 3D Printer Cameras to Monitor Your 3D Prints

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If you can't be next to your 3D printer during the entirety of a print, you'll want to monitor it with a camera. Here are some great options for a 3D printer camera that'll let you watch your prints while you're away.

3D Printer Camera Why You Need It

A close-up view of a 3D printer in action
A close-up view of a 3D printer in action Source: CC0/Pixabay/lppicture

If you’re going to be printing things that take more than a few hours, you’re probably going to be away from your 3D printer for a while. If your print fails, you’ll want to know about it as soon as possible. That means you’ll need a camera so that you can monitor your prints while you’re away.

Or maybe you’re someone who’s interested in documenting the print process. In that case you’ll also need something to take videos or interval shots.

There are a number of things to look for in a camera, like price, size, and resolution, to name a few. Depending on your situation and needs, you may value these features differently. In this guide, we’ll show you the best four options for a 3D printer camera.

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1

3D Printer Camera Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2

Image of: 1. <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/106126/limit/0/">Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2</span>

Price: $25

One of the most popular ways to control and monitor 3D printers is through a web browser, using OctoPi to run OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi. If you want to set up OctoPrint, see our guide. While the popular microcontroller can support most USB webcams, the Raspberry Pi Camera is the only camera which is specifically designed for it. Measuring in at 25 x 24 x 9 mm³ and weighing a mere 3 g, its size can’t be beat. Its resolution isn’t too shabby either, supporting 1080p video at 30 fps.

The popularity of the Raspberry Pi makes it a great choice for a 3D printer camera. A large community of people use this camera, and they have designed many stands and mounts for it. Some are designed to directly mount to specific printers, like the Prusa i3 MK2 or the Anet A8. Directly mounting your camera to your printer can give you a close view of your print’s progress.

Raspberry Pi Camera
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2

3D Printer Camera Logitech HD Pro C920

Image of: 2. <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/106129/limit/0/">Logitech HD Pro C920</span>

Price: $50

The Logitech HD Pro C920 one of the most well-regarded webcams available. It shoots in full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second. Combined with its five-element glass lens, this makes sure that your views of your printer will be crystal clear. If you also want to make timelapses of your prints, this potential 3D printer camera will guarantee they look great.

Logitech C920
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3

3D Printer Camera Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

Image of: 3. <span class="link" data-action="modal-open" data-modal-ajax="/en/product-overlay/106133/limit/0/">Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000</span>

Price: $23

If you don’t need super high quality recordings of your prints, this is the 3D printer camera for you. At $23, its price cannot be beaten. It’s no slouch, either: The LifeCam shoots video at HD 720p and up to 30 frames per second. Its built-in stand makes makes positioning it near your printer simple. This is a great webcam choice if you want to remotely monitor your printer without breaking the bank.

Microsoft LifeCam
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4

3D Printer Camera An Old Smartphone

A smartphone camera can do a fine job monitoring your prints.
A smartphone camera can do a fine job monitoring your prints. Source: CC0/Pexels/Fernando Arcos

Price: —

Some might say that the best webcam is the one you already have. A lot of us have old smartphones lying around, so why not put them to good use? You’ll just need to install a webcam app. There are a lot of other choices available, but some options are IP Cam ($1.99) on iOS or IP Webcam (free) on Android.

While an old smartphone can be a great 3D printer camera for many people, they come with a caveat. They are good to use as webcams, but they are not very good for controlling your printer. It is possible to set up OctoPrint on Android, but it is rather complicated. There are no good solutions for iOS yet.

If you’re going to use a smartphone as a webcam, you’ll want to be close by, like in another part of the house. If something goes wrong, you need to be able to tend to your printer.

License: The text of "4 Best 3D Printer Cameras to Monitor Your 3D Prints" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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