Just as the prophecy prophecized, here's a final photo of my setup. I chose a touchscreen housing that mounts directly to my printer.
Any touchscreen that will work for the Raspberry Pi will work with OctoPrint, but some are easier to work with than others.
Here are some considerations when choosing a touchscreen:
Size and connectivity
I recommend choosing a small screen that connects directly to your Raspberry Pi's GPIO header. You don't need a large screen since the OctoPrint TouchUI plugin we'll be using is designed for very small screens. Additionally, we'll still be uploading new prints from our computer; this screen will primarily be used to start and pause prints, control extruder temps, display print status, etc.
I used this 3.5" screen from Adafruit; if you prefer a larger screen, the official Raspberry Pi 7" screen would work great too. Some larger displays require a separate HDMI and USB connection which makes configuration and setup more difficult.
The Adafruit touchscreen I used costs $45; this is slightly more than other screens, but the benefit is the quality and ease-of-use Adafruit is known for. You can find cheaper, generic 3.5" touchscreens in the $30 range on Amazon, but configuring the screen may be more difficult—and many require the use of a stylus.
You'll need to print a case for your touchscreen. In general, there are a few different types of 3D-printable touchscreen housings:
- Touchscreen housings that mount to the printer
- Freestanding (tabletop) touchscreen mounts
- Housings of either type that also hold your Raspberry Pi (recommended)
Choosing a housing
The exact housing you choose will depend on the size of your touchscreen, the screen manufacturer (in some cases), your printer, and how you want to attach it to your printer. Search Thingiverse for touchscreen models to find one that fits your needs.
My choice for the Ender 3
For my Ender 3, I'm using an excellent model made by designer Tronnic. It mounts directly to the printer for maximum awesomeness and also houses the Raspberry Pi. You can download the Ender 3 touchscreen model on Thingiverse.
Do you have an Ender 3? I also wrote a full guide to adding a touchscreen to the Ender 3 just for you. :)
If you're using the Adafruit 3.5" PiTFT display and want a freestanding touchscreen mount, I recommend checking out this great design by brothers Pedro and Noe Ruiz, the official Adafruit 3D print crew (who, coincidentally, I went to high school with!)
If your touchscreen mounts directly to the Raspberry Pi's GPIO header (as mine does), you'll need to connect and configure it.
If your OctoPrint setup uses a camera, attach the camera's ribbon cable to the Pi before connecting it to the screen.
Then, carefully push the screen onto the Raspberry Pi's GPIO header. Some screens don't take up the entire Raspberry Pi header; this is okay, it just means they're compatible with older Raspberry Pi models too.
We'll use an OctoPrint plugin called TouchUI to make OctoPrint mobile-friendly and responsive, allowing it to display properly on our small screen.
Put your SD card back into your Raspberry Pi and boot it.
Next, open OctoPrint in your browser by navigating to
http://octopi.local. If an update message appears, update OctoPrint.
Then, navigate to Settings > Plugin Manager, click Get More, and install the TouchUI plugin.
I recommend updating your Raspberry Pi before continuing.
Open Terminal (Mac) or Command Prompt (Windows) and connect to your Raspberry Pi by running the following command:
Then, update your Raspberry Pi using the following command:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade --yes
When you're finished, restart your Pi:
If your touchscreen connects via GPIO, you'll need to tell your Raspberry Pi to a) output video to the touchscreen instead of HDMI, and b) use touchscreen input as a mouse.
If your touchscreen came with configuration instructions, use those instructions to get things working. If you're using the same touchscreen as me—or a similar one—you can use Adafruit's touchscreen configuration script by following the steps below.
Connect to your Pi once again and run the following commands to launch Adafruit's setup wizard:
cd ~ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/adafruit/Raspberry-Pi-Installer-Scripts/master/adafruit-pitft.sh chmod +x adafruit-pitft.sh sudo ./adafruit-pitft.sh
Select the appropriate option for your screen. In my case, I selected PiTFT 3.5" resistive touch (320x480).
For rotation, select 270 degrees (landscape). If you choose 90 degrees (landscape), your screen might be upside down.
When asked "Would you like the console to appear on the PiTFT display?", select No. When asked "Would you like the HDMI display to mirror to the PiTFT display?", select Yes.
When you're finished, accept the reboot prompt to restart your Pi.
Next, we'll need to configure the Raspberry Pi to launch a browser and load the OctoPrint/OctoPi interface on boot using the TouchUI boot to browser setup scripts.
To do this, run the following commands:
git clone https://github.com/BillyBlaze/OctoPrint-TouchUI-autostart.git ~/TouchUI-autostart/ sudo ~/TouchUI-autostart/helpers/install
Once you're prompted for autologin, enter your OctoPrint username (not your Raspberry Pi username). When you're finished, reboot and test out your touchscreen.
Disabling TouchUI screen sleep
This is optional, but if you'd like you can disable the TouchUI screensaver so that the screen won't sleep.
Fixing touchscreen rotation issues
For some reason, there was a conflict between the screen and touch rotation after setting up TouchUI. In other words, the screen rotation displayed correctly, but tapping the bottom-right of the screen would result in a tap in the top-right of the screen; the screen was rotated 90°. After hours of troubleshooting, it turns out it was a simple fix.
If you have this issue, simply do the following:
Install xinput and get your device name
Run the following commands:
sudo apt-get install xinput FRAMEBUFFER=/dev/fb1 & DISPLAY=:0.0 xinput list
If you're using HDMI or the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen, you may need to substitute
The second command will show a list of device names. In my case, the device name for
Virtual core pointer (slave) was stmpe-ts.
Create a TouchUI calibration file
Paste one of the following lines into that file, substituting
stmpe-ts with your device name, if it's different. These vary based on how you want to rotate your screen.
su $TOUCHUI_USER -c "xinput set-prop 'stmpe-ts' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 -1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1" # Rotate clockwise 90 degrees su $TOUCHUI_USER -c "xinput set-prop 'stmpe-ts' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' 0 1 0 -1 0 1 0 0 1" # Rotate counterclockwise 90 degrees su $TOUCHUI_USER -c "xinput set-prop 'stmpe-ts' 'Coordinate Transformation Matrix' -1 0 1 0 -1 1 0 0 1" # Rotate 180 degrees
For my screen and rotation issue, I used the first line above. You can learn more about the values above on the InputCoordinateTransformation Ubuntu Wiki page.
The exact calibration procedure may vary for your touchscreen, but for the Adafruit one I'm using simply run:
sudo TSLIB_FBDEVICE=/dev/fb1 TSLIB_TSDEVICE=/dev/input/touchscreen ts_calibrate
Then, carefully tap the 5 crosshairs using a plastic tool or stylus.
After assembling everything, mount the housing to your printer and reroute your wiring. If you're using your 3D printer to power the Raspberry Pi, you may need to solder a longer USB cable onto your buck converter (or run a micro USB extension cable such as this one).
A fan isn't completely necessary unless you're using a Raspberry Pi 4 or if you print in a hot location like a garage. I still recommend adding one to ensure you always get the highest quality prints.
I recommend buying a small USB fan such as this one and connecting it to one of the Raspberry Pi's USB ports. Normally you could power such a fan directly from the Raspberry Pi's GPIO header, but the header is now in use by the touchscreen. Mount the fan so that it sucks air away from the Pi and use a bit of Kapton tape to prevent the fan's screws from shorting against the Raspberry Pi board.
Now that your screen is up and running, you can mess around with some of its features! At the top, you'll find the same tabs that you find on the desktop version of OctoPrint.
Behold your latest 3D printer upgrade! With your shiny new touchscreen, you can 3D print all the things.
Access your 3D printer from anywhere by setting up The Spaghetti Detective!
I'd love to hear from you! If you run into any issues, post in the comments section below and I'll do my best to help you out.