Pengpod controller step-by-step

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The Pengpod is a low-cost tablet with an open bootloader and the possibility of running a full GNU/Linux operating system.

It can easily be used as a controller for the Solidoodle as it can run a full (optimized) version of Pronterface.

In the proposed setup, a customized version of pronterface is used to send to the printer GCode that can be copied to the tablet via a Samba (Windows-compatible) network share.

In order to better set up the tablet, a basic Linux knowledge is advisable and a USB keyboard and mouse set is useful for the initial configuration.

Since during the configuration some windows might be bigger than the screen resolution, a useful tip to know that a window can be dragged from any point by holding the Alt key and dragging with the left mouse button.


[edit] Obtaining the latest Linaro image

It is important that the latest Linaro image available from the Pengpod site is installed, either in the internal flash or on a SD card. Follow the instructions on the Pengpod wiki to do so. If you bought the Pengpod recently, there is a high chance that you already have the latest version.

There is also a preconfigured image available, where you just need to set up the wireless connection. See here:

[edit] Setting up the network

The first step is to set up the wifi network. Configure it by clicking on the application button in the bottom-left corner of the screen, selecting Preferences->Network connections. Click on the "wireless" tab and "Add". Fill in the information regarding your network (especially the SSID, ie the name of your network in the first tab and the password in "Wireless security). Use the alt-key together with clicking and dragging the mouse to reveal the bottom part of the configuration window. Click on "remember settings" to make the connection permanent. Tick "Available to all users" and then click "Save". I prefer to assign a static IP address to the tablet, which can be done from the IPv4 tab.

[edit] Updating the system and installing the required packages

Once you are connected to the network, open a system shell (click on the application button, System->Terminal (?)) and perform an update of the system software to the most recently available packages:

sudo apt-get update

(use the default password "linaro" when asked). This updates the package database

sudo apt-get upgrade

This upgrades the packages.

Then, install the required packages to run Pronterface and Samba:

sudo apt-get install python-serial python-wxgtk2.8 python-pyglet samba git

[edit] Installing the optimized pronterface

You can install Pronterface just by cloning the git repository, it does not require compilation or further installation:

git clone

This will download Pronterface in the subdirectory Printrun-pengpod700 and the file can be directly launched from that location. From the desktop, you can click (or tap via the touchscreen) on the small blue folder, navigate to the Printrun-pengpod700 directory and click (or tap) on

[edit] Configuring pronterface

Launch pronterface. It can be configured as usual, from the menu. The menu disappears when the "fullscreen" button (the one on the top-left corner). Set the desired ABS and PLA temperatures, and bed temperatures.

This version includes some code to handle pause commands correctly, so that the extruder is brought back to the last known position. Read about it here. It is very important to configure the bed size correctly for this feature to work. In the case of SD2, it has to be:


For SD3, it should be:


[edit] Configuring Samba

  • From the shell opened before, create a directory inside your home, which you will share:
mkdir /home/linaro/gcode
  • and give full permissions to everybody:
chmod a+rwx /home/linaro/gcode
  • Edit the samba configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
  • Add the following code to the end of this file:
   path = /home/linaro/gcode
   guest ok = yes
   browseable = yes
   read only = no
  • Save and close (with Ctrl-O Ctrl-X)
  • Restart Samba
sudo /etc/init.d/smbd restart
  • From windows, if your share doesnt show up automatically, point your windows explorer to:

I suggest saving the above URL as a shortcut on the desktop or something.

Windows will also find the gcode share if simply pointed to the ip address. I think after "noticing" it once, windows should find it always.

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