TH3D Studios's EZPi Pro V2 now comes with The Spaghetti Detective preinstalled, and is available as a secure plug-and-play octoprint setup if you're looking for one. It's been a pretty cool road getting here, though, and it started back in...
Wait, hold on, disclosures
The Spaghetti Detective and TH3D have no monetary relationship with each other. We and they both sponsor Octoprint, and there's a Teams chat where we ask each other questions we might have about each other's products and services, but no money changes hands between us and no links attached to this article are affiliate links.
I also own this one of their shirts in purple, but can you blame me?
Now on with the story.
As I was saying, it started back in
January of this year. Tim Hoogland, owner of TH3D, reached out that one of customers was trying to set up The Spaghetti Detective on an ezpi using their EZCam, it wasn't working for that customer, and he hoped to furnish whatever information we needed to troubleshoot and make sure our software worked with TH3D's camera.
Wade Norris of TSD suggested that, since TSD isn't in hardware and TH3D is, he "realize[d] this might be a really great collaboration opportunity." Tim agreed, saying "I think we can help each other out. I am working on a new image for our Pi kits, and one thing I could do is bundling your plugin in the Pi," asking if there were any OS-level customizations that would improve the TSD experience on EZPis, and we were off to the proverbial races.
But that's not really the beginning
Tim Hoogland got into 3D printing back in 2016, when he bought and started tinkering with an Anet A8. He bought the printer so he could make enclosures for his various homebrew electronics projects, built on Arduinos and other hobbyist development boards.
Even in the beginning, Tim would mod his printer with printed upgrades from thingiverse and electronics mods to add features, and soon he found a niche making auto-bed-leveling kits that would add ABL to Anet, Creality, and other printers. He made them on perf boards originally, with bundled firmware that worked on the Melzi boards that Creality used.
Tim learned PCB design so he could scale up production of the EZABL kits. He quickly found that his 3D printing hobby was becoming a full time job. At the time he'd been an IT manager; in November 2017, Tim quit his job, and went fulltime with TH3D, a name he'd come up with the previous month.
As an IT manager, Tim had always had a lot of network equipment at home and took network security and safety seriously, so it pained him that people were insecurely setting up port forwarding to their printers or exposing their printers to the internet directly, so he started making EZPi kits to prevent some of the easy self-setup SNAFUs that can happen.
Which brings us back around to TSD
The Spaghetti Detective allows users to tunnel into their printers without needing to set up port forwarding or maintain their own VPN tunnels, lowering the barrier of entry for safe, secure remote octoprint access. Wade was right back in January: We could help each other out by putting our software on TH3D's prepackaged software. I hope you enjoy the story of the collaboration that resulted.
Tell us your stories
You can read more about TH3D's early years and how Tim got started, in his own words, on TH3D's blog here. It's a fun and fascinating read.
If you don't follow us yet on social media, we're @thespaghettispy on twitter, thespaghettidetective on facebook, and the.spaghetti.detective on instagram. Tell us your stories about how you got started in printing and how your hobby grew into whatever it is today. We'd love to hear them.