Category: Software (page 2 of 2)

Simplify3D Version 4 – What’s New, Part 1 – Variable Print Settings, Process Preview & Position Readout

A while ago I decided to use Simplify3D as my every day slicer and as a new version, version 4, was recently released I thought I would have a good look at what advantages and new features this version brings.

I had a search around on YouTube and found a few videos all talking about pretty much one feature – the variable print settings. I wanted to see if there was more to Version 4 than that, so I visited the Simplify3D website and dug into all of the changes in the latest release.

As I plan to try out all the new aspects to version 4 (where possible), I thought I would make a short series of videos showing these changes. I will cover all the new features and changes listed on their website and, where it makes sense, combine associated functionality into a single video.

This is the first of these videos. In this one I discuss the “Variable Print Settings” feature, which I see as more of a refinement of functionality already in version 3. This is the one feature being discussed most often that I see in other peoples’ discussions on version 4 but I wanted to find out if it truly does something you couldn’t do in previous versions…spoiler – it doesn’t ūüėČ

While doing the Variable Print Settings it made sense to also cover two other new features in version 4, “Preview Your Processes” and “Position Readout”. So I detail these too in this video.

The temperature tower model I use in this video can be found on Thingiverse, here.

Arduino Power Controller for Prusa 3D Printer – Auto Shutdown

In this video I run through the design and build of an add-on for my DIY Prusa i3 MK2 3D Printer that controls the supply of power to the printer’s two power supplies.

I wanted to add this for two reasons. Firstly I wanted an extra layer of security in case any of the electrical components failed in a catastrophic way leading to over heats, particularly the power supplies as I doubt their quality based on the budget prices. Secondly I wanted to be able to add G code (M Code actually) to my prints so that once the print it finished the printer is shutdown, including the power supplies.

More details in the video, but as discussed here is the schematic:

Arduino Power Control Schematic

Arduino Power Control Schematic

I also mention that I am now using Sublime Text instead of the Arduino IDE. I use Sublime Text on a daily basis and it has a lot more editing features than the IDE. When I found this brilliant add-on package for Sublime Text, called Stino, that brings Arduino syntax highlighting, compiling and uploading directly from within ST, I switched instantly. Even if you don’t already use Sublime Text – it might be worth it just for this!

Finally, if you really want to you can download my source code for the project – as it stands at this point. As explained in the video it is very much an evolution from a basic idea – so isn’t that well written. But it does the job.

How to Setup OctoPrint Guide – The Easy Way, OctoPi Tutorial

Up till now I have been using an old laptop to connect to the 3D printer through Pronterface. While this works fine, it does mean having to shift gcode files around on my network and to have to power up the old donkey… which can take a while… each time I use the printer.

From day zero I knew I wanted to get OctoPrint running on a Raspberry Pi so that I could control the printer from any web browser, upload gcode, start prints and as a massive bonus be able to watch how the printer is getting on via remote viewing a webcam.

In this video I run through, step by step, how I did this and how you could too for very little cost. As I discuss in the video there are at least two ways of doing this on a Raspberry Pi (OctoPrint is also available for many other platforms), the hard way which is preparing the Pi yourself, building OctoPrint and installing all necessary dependencies.  Then there is the easy way, flashing an image of OctoPi. In this video I cover the latter method, although I will likely do another video covering the fully manual way.

At this time I see no downside to using the OctoPi image – but we shall see!!!

In order to do this yourself, aside of a Raspberry Pi and cables, you will need some freely available software. Here are the links to download that:-

If you are interested in reading all the documentation for OctoPrint you can find that on the website here.

If for any reason you need to know more about HAProxy you can spend a chunk of your life reading about it here. (Not for the faint hearted. Long story short, among other things, it is a server proxy that runs on Linux that can manage network traffic to and from the machine.)

RepRap Prusa i3 MK2 – One Week In, More Prints & Settings

In this video I go through some of the prints I have made in the first week after building the DIY Prusa i3 MK2, and some of the interim conclusions I have drawn from them together with the settings this had led me to change.

Long story short; it is quite hard to diagnose a lot of issues as they could be caused by a number of different things ¬†manifesting with the same symptoms. It maybe even a combination. I had to single out settings and go wild with them to see what effect they had and then apply that to my baseline. However, apart from filament getting stuck on the spool (my fault) I haven’t had any failures and all the prints have been perfectly fit for the job I needed them for. So really we are only looking at aesthetics.

I also gave Simplify3D a try out…. at this time I don’t really need any of the capabilities it has over Slic3r and found it to exhibit some unwanted artifacts on the prints I tried it out on. It is a little disappointing that they offer no free trial as it isn’t particularly cheap and is very much a piece of software you will either get on with or you wont. You have to first spend your money to find out… You can apparently get a refund though if it doesn’t turn out well. For the time being I am sticking with Slic3r as I get better quality prints and really the only feature I would use right now from S3D is the manual supports.

I have decided to make Octoprint my next upgrade as for the time being the electronics are holding together just fine. So on with that!!!

Old Netfabb, An Embarrassing Discovery

Later versions of Netfabb Basic can be downloaded  from here

Well this is embarrassing. Today I installed the Prusa “drivers” package from their website¬†and, er, it includes an old version of Netfabb Basic!!

About the only thing I can add is that the version I found was newer, at version 7.4.

Ah well.

As a bonus I found the email from 2014 with my registration details – which work fine to remove the nag screen ūüôā

Download the Old Netfabb Basic (Free)

UPDATE: Slightly Embarrassing, version 5.2 is included in the Prusa Drivers Package – read here…
Later versions of Netfabb Basic can be downloaded  from here

Although I am in the middle of building a 3D printer, it has been about a year since I last prepared a 3D model for 3D printing. Part of my process was to use Netfabb for repairing meshes so that I could get manifold parts ready for printing.

At that time there was a version of Netfabb available called Netfabb Basic, or Free – which was, well free! Great tool not just for mesh repairs but the best tool I have found for measuring 3D meshes, specifically STL files.

So, now that I need to be preparing these files again and having installed a new desktop since last using Netfabb, I went to download it…. except it’s not really there anymore.

When I say not really there anymore I mean that Netfabb the company was bought by Autodesk – and they decided to make Netfabb a commercial product. Boo. I noticed that if you persevere you can get an unlimited time trial version, which I did install. But it seems that Autodesk have decided to remove the measurement tools from this version!!! One of the main reasons I used it. I am still not sure if I have gone mad and am just missing something but when I went from the 30 day trial to the unlicensed version suddenly no measurement button….

So I set out trying to find a copy of the older Netfabb Basic – feeling sure that would be easy. Well it is and it isn’t. I thought I might as well get the latest version of Netfabb Basic before it was swallowed by Autodesk. Longish story shortish, I couldn’t find a version history. By powers of deduction I believe that version 7.4 was the last (I find no reference to 7.5……)

It seems someone else thought it would be good to keep these downloads available, and the version I used can be downloaded from GitHub here (7.4.0 – Windows 32 Bit).

I have run it on Windows 10, both on a 64 bit and 32 bit machine and both seem to work fine. You can just chuck the contents of the zip file somewhere and open netfabb.exe.

I will be keeping the zip file tucked away somewhere, so if that link goes dead, give me a shout and I can get it to you.

I also found a copy of the version 7 manual, which can be downloaded here.

As always, hope this is useful to someone, someday.

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