What am I missing? Cura and OctoPrint do NOT play nice

I got a new Ender 3 and love it. 3D printing has come a long way since i first tried it about 3 years ago. However, I still must be missing something.

I took an unused Raspberry Pi and converted it to use Otoprint. Octpprint connects to my wifi just fine and I can even see the view from my camera. I can even see the temperature profile as I print from the MicroSD card.

That's where the fun stops. I have spent hours trying to find a way to actually print from Octoprint. (Or from Cura using Octoprint)

One post will say I need to use Cura with the plugin for Octoprint but then another will say I need to use a very old version of Cura and NOT the v. 4 version I have installed.

Cura says "OctoPrint error Cannot upload to SD card, not yet initialized"
But clicking "Initialize SD card" in OctoPrint does nothing. (Yes, the card is in the printer and the printer sees it AND can print from it.)
Octoprint also asks for a "slicer profile" but will not accept one from the version of Cura I have.

Honestly, does this even work?
So far simply using the slicer software that came with the printer and plopping the slided filed on the Micro SD card seems to work just fine. I just got tired of running up and down my basement stars to check on print progress.

At this point am I better off just using a wifi camera to watch the printing and just stop killing myself trying to make this primitive software function?

Take one step at a time.

First create a gcode file like you do when you put it on an SD card, but save it locally on your computer. Open the OctoPrint interface in a webbrowser, and try uploading that file. If that does not work, you need to fix this first.

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Thanks for the quick reply! Yes, that works.

Having selected the (newly-uploaded) file in the Files side panel widget of OctoPrint, can you print it?

Yes. I can print it.

In the Cura connection plugin, visit the settings page for your printer (or for the plugin itself) and look for a checkbox Store G-code on the printer SD card.

And uncheck that checkbox.

The beauty of OctoPrint is that you don't need to use the printer SD card. The G-code file is uploaded to the filesystem on the Raspberry Pi (which usually is also an SD card), and then is sent to the printer via the USB connection (and monitored at the same time).

The G-code files are generated on desktop(s) and transferred using a browser on each desktop. The printing can be monitored (and controlled) using the browser on any desktop (or tablet or phone). Many slicers (Cura included) actually have the ability to "act like a browser" to control and monitor the progress of OctoPrint directly. This control and monitor feature of the slicer is an extension of their ability to do so when the printer is connected to the desktop directly with a USB cable.

When you Store G-code on the printer SD card you are transferring the G-code through the USB connection and using the firmware of the printer to write on the card. The performance of this path is often very slow. If you were going to print a large quantity of these things, then maybe it would make sense to use this path.

My normal mode of operation is to use the "Save G-code to a file" option in the slicer and then use a browser to upload the file to OctoPrint. After starting a print via the browser, I can close the slicer or move on to another slicing project. If I have nothing else to do on the desktop, I can move to the living room to watch TV or read a book while monitoring the progress of the printer with my cell phone or tablet.

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Thanks so much for the detailed explanation from everyone. It helps a lot as things are starting to make more sense.

I use the Creality slicer software that came with the printer to create the G-code (as it seems to work much better than Cura) and save the output to my PC then upload it via the browser. I have not had much luck with Cura let alone getting to integrate with Octoprint.

I love new technology and have been waiting 50 years for this technology but I still like to hit the ground running and then later on tweak things. For me, what I can print is the goal, not the printing process.

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Thanks for your help!

Thanks for your help, much appreciated.