A 3D print in action is a fascinating sight to watch. Watching as an item gets printed right in front of your eyes is quite an experience. It is something worth recording, and a timelapse video is the best way to go about it, instead of normal video recording. We all know that 3D printing is a very time-consuming process, but it is worthwhile to watch. Rather than manually filming the complete printing process in real-time, it is better to use high-speed motion video, or timelapse. This way, you can follow the entire hours-long printing process of a model in seconds. However, with regular timelapse video, the moving print bed and nozzle are always in motion, which can be a bit disruptive. This article will take a look at everything you need to know about making 3D printing timelapse videos.

If you want to record a print that will be completed in eight hours in regular mode, you will end up with footage that is also of the same length. The timelapse video recording is the same as the video, except that the video is recorded at a slower speed, so that, say, an eight-hour print is condensed into a fascinating 30-second video. In the latter, a 3D printed object will be seen appearing out of nowhere, no beak or nozzle in the view. This is called an Octolapse

Uses of 3D Printing Timelapse Videos

First, let’s talk about the uses and benefits of 3D printing timelapse videos.

Entertainment and Marketing

It is magical to see something appear and get 3D printed out of nowhere on the print bed. 3D printing giants have recognized the potential of using such videos to showcase their devices in action. They are using the timelapse clips to connect with their fan bases and promote products on social media. High-quality short videos of the creation of different models is an excellent way of showcasing the prowess of a 3D printer.

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These videos offer much more than quality content for 3D printing enthusiasts, as they Can also be used for educational purposes. Several parameters in the slicer software need to be corrected, and errors can always occur. Timelapse videos can help you better understand the problem and show you when, where, and why it occurred. Was the bed not close enough, or did you ignore the definition of Z-HOP? Yes, real-time footage with sound can give you a slightly better picture, but there is more to it than that: more files, expensive equipment, etc.

Inexpensive Solution

As mentioned above, a successful timelapse provides a better alternative than a slicer software preview to evaluate the suitability of your designs for 3D printing. For creators, this can save valuable time and resources.

3D Printing Timelapse Videos
3D Printing Timelapse Videos

Types of 3D Printing Timelapse Videos Recording Methods

Here are the different types of methods you can use for recording 3D printing timelapse videos.

OctoPrints’ Software Plugin OctoLapse

Presently, OctoLapse offers the best solution for recording timelapse videos on 3D printers. The stability of the video is one of the main reasons behind its success. The extruder retracts before each frame is created, giving the footage a smooth, uninterrupted view.

As for the downside, it can be a little difficult to set up. OctoPrint program and OctoLapse plugin must be installed, and video quality directly depends on focus and light. You will also have to make an investment of about $100 to $200 for a raspberry pie, camera, tripod, and lighting. If you have basic technical and programming knowledge, you can make it work. Otherwise, there are plenty of installation tutorials, and YouTube videos can be quite helpful.

A professional set-up will require a more expensive and sophisticated camera with a buffed-up lens. Secondly, you will need 3 to 4 MB of memory per frame (image), as it will be 5312 x 2988 per frame (image).

Printer Bed Mounted Camera

There are various mounting systems available in the online repositories for different 3D printers. However, the quality of printer bad mounted timelapse videos is not exceptionally well. Erratic motions of the extruder can disrupt the footage, especially in the case of larger 3D models. Additionally, you may have to use video editing software to stabilize footage, which does not always produce great results. Low-quality footage will not garner you any positive feedback on social media platforms.

However, if used correctly, they can produce decent results. The bed-mounted camera’s photos combined with superb video editing can also give the timelapse video of the printed 3D models a beautiful look.

Smartphone Applications

All of the abovementioned methods require additional work to set-up. The difficulty of finding files and software to configure the entire system may discourage beginners. In such situations, using a mobile camera app is the easiest solution for beginners. All you have to do is set up your phone and make sure it stays charged during the entirety of the print. Editing these videos is also a pretty straightforward process. You can use any free smartphone with video editing apps or the old trusty windows movie maker if you don’t have access to advanced video editing programs.

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GIF or MP4?

Finally, we have the recording we have been waiting for… Now what? Before you do anything else, make a plan for the platform where you are going to post these videos. All social networking sites have different requirements. Lighter GIFs are harder to create and to maintain quality and focus, a 10-second GIF averages 10MB. There are not many sites that allow you to upload GIFs of this size. For example, Reddit automatically offers to convert and shrink your GIFs to MP4, which reduces the file size.

So, the ideal video format for your 3D printing timelapse videos is MP4. There are also free, open-source software and websites that you can use to crop and reduce the length of your videos.

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