OctoPrint is one of the premier programs for 3D printers. The open source platform allows you to control your device no matter where you are, which makes the overall process much more convenient. It’s quite nice to be able to start up a new project without having to get up and go to your printer.
However, Octoprint doesn’t work on its own. There are several additional pieces of hardware you’ll want to make sure the platform works smoothly. One such item is a webcam. In this guide, we’ll go over the best webcams for OctoPrint to explain why they’re great and how they’ll help you get the most from the excellent tool.
- The eMeet C960 is an OctoPrint webcam perfect for users who want a well-rounded camera. This machine supports full HD video at 30 fps, is eye-friendly, and works great in low-light environments.
- The Microsoft LifeCam is a solid device for users who need versatility. Not only does this shoot in 720p, but it comes with a universal attachment that you can stick just about anywhere.
- If you’re looking for a budget camera, the PlayStation Eye is the way to go. Not only is it incredibly cheap, it also takes up little space and is incredibly simple to use.
Who Should Get This?
These webcams are obviously for those who utilize OctoPrint. Anyone who actively uses the platform to control their printer remotely will want a webcam to help them keep track of projects and make sure that nothing goes awry during the printing.
Another bonus of these webcams is they let you keep an eye on your printer when you aren’t in the room. As such, if you’re someone who stores their printer in an odd or hard-to-get-to place (such as the basement or garage) these are great because you won’t have to get up and cross the house to see how your creation is coming along.
Best Webcam for OctoPrint: What to Consider?
A webcam is a visual device. As such, you want yours to have excellent or advanced optics. Favor ones with HD resolution that shoot at a high number of frames per second. That will ensure all of the footage comes through crisp and clear. The entire point of the webcam is so you can keep updates on your printing. That isn’t possible with a blurry screen.
Something else that’s important to take note of when getting your OctoPrint webcam is the base. Every camera model has a different base, as well as a specific surface that it can attach to. Make sure whatever your webcam can attach to fits your setup. If you need to put it on a desk, you want a flat, stable base, but if you want to stick it to the side of a desk you want a clamp model.
As mentioned, there are many great webcams on the market. However, not all of them work with OctoPrint. You don’t want to shell out money on what you think is a great model only to find out you can’t use it. Most USB cameras work with OctoPrint, but not all of them. The same goes for devices that are compatible with Raspberry Pi. Always double-check for that functionality.
Best Webcam for OctoPrint: Our Picks in 2020
1. eMeet C960
The eMeet C960 is a solid webcam with a lot of features that make it perfect for OctoPrint. First and foremost, it’s designed for both video streaming and gaming. That might not seem like a big deal, but it means it has a lot of premium features other more basic webcams lack. Not only does this have full HD video streaming at a solid 30fps, but it comes with low-light correction technology so you can always see no matter how dim things get.
This model also comes with 4-layer glasses, which makes the device eye friendly, and premium color no matter where your subject resides. Though it’s not quite as important as the visuals, this small model also has two stereo omnidirectional microphones so you get the best possible sound. Add on the 90-degree wide view and you have one of the best OctoPrint cameras that money can buy.
What We Like:
- Full HD quality video
- Great audio
- Easy setup
- Good in multiple lighting conditions
- 90-degree wide-angle lens
What We Don’t Like:
- Directions could be more clear
- Low fps
The Microsoft LifeCam may be a bit older than some other popular OctoPrint cameras, but it still has all of the right hardware in all of the right places. The number one reason to choose this model is the widescreen 720p camera. You won’t have to guess what your printer is doing or how your creation is coming along when using this. In addition, the hardware and software both easily work with Raspberry Pi to create a truly excellent user experience.
To complement that, Microsoft equipped the LifeCam with a universal attachment base. That’s particularly useful if your 3D printer is stored in a remote part of your house or somewhere where you don’t have a lot of space. The camera’s eye can also swivel side-to-side thanks to the fully adjustable frame, and it is incredibly easy to set up.
What We Like:
- Universal attachment base
- TrueColor technology
- Bright video
- 720p HD video
- Noise reduction microphone
What We Don’t Like:
- Not the best for low light environments
Many might be surprised to see the PlayStation Eye on this list, but it is a popular budget webcam for those who use OctoPrint. Originally made for the PS3, this small device does not take up a lot of room and can be easily placed into some tight spaces. Not only that, but it is able to capture 480p video at 60 fps. That should be more than enough when working with your printer.
The number one reason so many choose the Eye is the incredibly low price point. While this model doesn’t have the latest hardware, the cheap price tag more than justifies the purchase. It is also incredibly easy to set up and you can install numerous drivers from Sony’s website for additional functionality. The microphone does a good job as well.
What We Like:
- Shockingly low price point
- Small table presence
- Strong microphone
- Solid tracking and frame rates
- Zoom capabilities
- Background noise reduction
- Reliable and well-made
- Motion control
What We Don’t Like:
- Basic stand
- Uses older hardware
Useful Tips and Information
OctoPrint has many advantages, and one of the biggest is the numerous plugins available for the platform. The add-ons provide you with extra versatility, but there are quite a few to choose from. Rather than search on your own, this post outlines the best ones and explains what makes them special.
Many people love OctoPrint. However, as useful as it is, it can be a lot if you aren’t familiar with the interface. Though you can try to learn it yourself, it is typically better to consult a guide (such as this one) to make sure you’re getting the most from the platform.
A webcam can do a lot for your 3D printing process. While it’s easy to overlook when setting up OctoPrint, it makes your life much, much easier. There are a lot of great webcams out there, but only a select few work for OctoPrint in the way the ones listed above do. You simply won’t find a better way to keep an eye on your printed creations.
Do you have a 3D printer? What do you print the most and why? Let us know in the comments below.
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.