Quick Start guide?

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tcat007
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Quick Start guide?

Post by tcat007 »

Is there a thread or somewhere that might have a brief explanation of software required, what's on the Max v2 and what's on a PC? Browsing the User manual, it mentions several items to load to your PC (Rambo, Arduino, Repetier, Mattercontrol), then there's slicing software (3 or 4 favorites here). I was thinking all my software could be on my PC (indoors), and any programs transferred to V2 via SD card (in garage). So I need a PC in the garage with USB to upload initial software to V2, but after that I can do everything from a PC in the house? Just trying to get my ducks in a row before I receive the kit and get carried away assembling.

My thoughts on a "brief" description:
1. All software at beginning of user manual gets loaded to printer via USB (Rambo, Arduino, Repetier, Mattercontrol), one time.
2. Slicing software (on any PC) takes STL file and converts to gcode that can be transferred to printer via SD card (or USB if PC is nearby). Thinking of Cura or Slic3r.
3. All other operations are done from printer display (control knob).

Help me if I'm wrong :? . Thanks!

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by geneb »

MatterControl includes three slicing engines - MatterSlice, Slic3r, and CuraEngine.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

This has been written about several times over the years. Perhaps we'll make this post a sticky...

First, printer assumes a stock Rostock Max or Orion. PC means any Windows, Mac or Linux computer.

On the printer, the RAMBo is the controller that is basically the computer that runs the printer. It uses an Arduino processor. The firmware is similar to the operating system on a computer (e.g. Windows, Mac OS, Linux). These printers run the Repetier firmware. That's the ONLY software required on the RAMBo. Unless you intend to update the firmware (Repetier) you will not need to use the Arduino IDE (development environment that runs on the PC) to recompile and upload the Repetier firmware. Compiling and uploading the firmware is a more advanced topic so we'll leave it for another post.

On the PC you basically need two pieces of software. Sometimes these are combined into one so it might seem confusing to newbies. These are:

A slicer program
A control program

The slicer takes the model (STL file either downloaded from a place like Thingiverse or one you created using a CAD program) and "slices" it into layers and generates the programming code that "draws" the layer on the printer. This programming code is called g-code and it's what tells the printer (actually the firmware running on the printer - Repetier running on RAMBo) what to do like set the hot end temperature to 195°C, the bed to 55°C and actually move the nozzle from point to point. There are many g-codes to do things like turn on/off fans, extrude, retract, etc.

The control program connects to the printer (actually, to the firmware running on the printer). It loads the g-code and sends it one line at a time to the printer to print. It also monitors the temperatures to display to the user and provides manual controls to do things like turn on/off fans, change temperatures, speed up or slow down and other things.

There is an alternative to the control program - some firmware has the ability to execute g-code from a local flash card. Repetier does. The LCD display (if installed) connects to the RAMBo and is controlled by the firmware. It has many of the same features as the control program, like changing temperatures, speeding up/slowing down, starting/stopping a print. You can do everything you need directly with the LCD display on the printer and eliminate the need for the control program - although it is usually easier (I think) for newbies to get used to using the control program first.

Now let's circle back and put some names to these...

The common Open Source slicers are Slic3r, Cura, MatterSlice. There is also a free version of KISSlicer. Slic3r and KISSlicer are applications themselves and can be run with their own user interface. This interface DOES NOT allow controlling the printer. You use the slicer to slice your STL model and save it to disk or compact disk to either load into your control program or print from the flash card.

Common Open Source control programs include Cura, MatterControl and Repetier Host (and Prontorface). All of these control programs also allow you to slice your STL model directly from their user interface as a convenience. They also usually allow you to use one of several of the open source slicers. I've lost track over which supports which. This is why it is sometimes confusing to people. Here is a quick over view of some of these:

  • Slic3r by itself is ONLY a slicer.
  • Cura is both an integrated control program and slicer. The Cura slicer can also be called from some other control programs too.
  • MatterControl / MatterSlice is an integrated control program and slicer. But, Matter Control can also call Slic3r and CuraEngine as Gene stated.
  • Repetier Host is a control program. It come integrated with Slic3r and Skeinforge for slicing (no one uses Skeinforge any more!)

The control program is what you actually see and use and it is calling the slicer program behind the scenes. A lot of folks don't even realize which slicer is being used. It's good to get into the habit of thinking about these steps separately - slicing and printing/printer control - so you will be clear in your description if you need help.

So there are several software tool chains that look like this:

Case 1 - the most common case
On the computer - an integrated control program with a slicer (typically MatterControl with MatterSlice OR Repetier Host with Slic3r as the most common).
On the printer - Repetier firmware running the g-code program.

Case 2 - separate slicing and controlling
On the computer - using a slicer (KISS or Slic3r) to create the g-code program. Then loading that g-code into a control program like MatterControl or Repetier Host to print.
On the printer - Repetier firmware running the g-code program.

Case 3 - separate slicing and printing from flash card on the printer
On the computer - using a slicer (KISS or Slic3r) to create the g-code program. Then loading that g-code into onto a flash card to print.
On the printer - Repetier firmware with an LCD display and flash card reader to load int he g-code program and run it.

These are the most common cases so I'll leave it at that for this introduction.

A couple of other comments. The commercial Simplify3D product is an integrated slicer and control program. You can slice your models using S3D and save them to disk or flash card to print from another control application or from flash card on the printer. You can also load g-code created by other slicers and use S3D to control the printer.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by tcat007 »

Thanks! Very helpful (be a good opening to the user manual). I had been confused about the main functions of the PC (and "Repetier Firmware" vs "Repetier Host"). I assume the LCD you refer to is the optional tablet and not the blue screen on the printer. Do you need a card reader (if you plan to transfer files via SD card) or is there a slot on the printer? I will get an old PC set up next to the printer, sounds like it will make life easier. It's an OLD Dell Vostro 200, XP, but should do the job fine.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by teoman »

Lcd is the blue one.

The v2s have a slot on the side to insert an sd card.


Tha tablet type thingies are running something like repetier host or mattercontrol (or the embedded versions of these, repetier server / octoprint / matterWhatnot).
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by tcat007 »

What's the "best"(easiest) software to use for a noob? I like the idea of one program (Mattercontrol/Matterslice or Repetier/Slic3r), which is most popular with Maxv2?

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Xenocrates »

Mattercontrol is popular, because it has 3 slicers (ok, Slic3r is broken for now) in it
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

The combination of Repetier Host + Slic3r is the tried and true here. It is what we used from the start.

MatterControl has gained in popularity after Repetier threatened to close source Repetier Host. Frankly, I don't know what the current state of that is. In any event, it is free and no one I know compiled their own.

I will say that Slic3r is a more capable slicer so it might be best to use Repetier/Slic3r until MatterControl integration is fixed.

Gene, what is the recommendation in the User Guide?

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by geneb »

The user guide is for MatterControl.

RepHost DID go closed source and should be treated like the pariah he is. :) (Not because of what he did, but because of how he went about it...)

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by tcat007 »

Thanks! Anyone use Matter with Matter slicer? Or best to just start with Matter and Slic3r? If Slic3r has issues with Matter I may just go for the all in one Matter package to learn from.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

MatterSlicer has some nice features and is getting better fast. If you are just starting out, keep it simple and use MC and MS combo. You'll be off an printing fast and lots of folks here to help (except me, I use KISSlicer!).

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Xenocrates »

I routinely use matterslice with mattercontrol. It does pretty well. Although it does have an interesting glitch where it doesn't do Z lift when printing a raft. So you might have issues from that (I had a number of prints do weird things like that.) I've had some other interesting screw-ups, but most seem to be eliminated by netfabbing the model, then hitting arrange in matter control. (I had one dome try to print an annular raft)

It's easy to set up any of the slicers in matter slice (Geneb covers pretty much anything for a stock Max), and seemeCNC has a largely pre-configured version available. They all use the same settings, where available, although some are named different things, the values for any given thing seems to remain the same, even if the name on it changes.
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Johncoffee »

Awesome explanation mhackney!

It helps to understand some principles :)

Best regards

*John*

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Eaglezsoar »

I recommend that someone who has built a printer or who is thinking about buying a printer purchase this book from Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-3D-Prin ... nting+book

It has a 70% approval rating from those who purchased it and will tell the 3D printer operators what the basics are, how to get started then some higher level
progression. It is $40 and I think that is worth it for those who are interested in 3D printers.
Please do not let this become a fight between the Delta and other printers. Everyone should know by now that the worlds best printers are produced by SeeMeCNC.com
but these type of books are excellent for learning new skills.
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mhackney
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

Thanks John!

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Start Here:
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Captain Starfish »

One point to bear in mind regarding occasionally screwy behaviour with MatterSlice or MatterControl: the guys at Matter Hackers are really responsive.

If a print goes runny on you, tell them. Export your MatterControl (which includes the slicer) settings and send that with your part file as you brought it into MC and a description of the issues to them ([email protected])

They may have a suggestion or two if the issue is caused by you misunderstanding exactly how their settings work.
They may have a workaround.
They will usually add the issue to their dev board, which is good for you and for the rest of us in the long run. It may not get fixed then and there. It may not get fixed for a few releases, even.

But if they don't know about it, it'll never get fixed.

You don't need to worry about being a PITA if all you're doing is helping them identify an issue - be it a bug or a feature request. Most developers actually like to hear back about ways to improve their stuff, if it's not an attack.

It's the difference between 'Hey guys, thought you'd like to know there's a potential issue to add to the list. More details below." and "OI U FERKWITS UR CODE IS FRKED. IT DUSNT WORK AND I HAVE TO HAVE THIS PRINT FINISHED IN THE NEXT 18MINS SO YOU BETTER FIX UR CRAP RITE NAOW!!!!1!."

As a developer (not of 3d print stuff, but it's all the same at this level) myself, I can tell you exactly what's happening to that second "request".

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by 626Pilot »

Captain Starfish wrote:One point to bear in mind regarding occasionally screwy behaviour with MatterSlice or MatterControl: the guys at Matter Hackers are really responsive.

EDIT: I'm dumb. The following used to say MatterControl, but I actually mean S3D. I had them confused. Sorry about that!!! I've corrected the text.

Simplify3D outputs G-code which, in some cases, tells the printer to move fractions of a micron. It can fill the 3D printer controller's instruction queue (which is only 20-30 instructions long, depending on firmware) with motion commands that are less than the diameter of a staphylococcus aureus bacterium, making it impossible for the acceleration control to "look ahead" in order to do its job properly. (Besides which, no production 3D printer available today, or likely available in the next five years, has any use for motion commands that tiny. Stepper motor resolution and the oozing behavior of the plastic make such tiny moves absolutely devoid of any possible use.) The bug is known to freeze Smoothie controllers, sometimes hours into a print. Smoothie controllers are not stock on the Rostock MAX, but are used by hundreds of MAX owners, and countless owners of other 3D printers. The Smoothie team invested dozens of hours into fixing this hard-to-reproduce bug, but the fix is so messy that they aren't willing to include it in the main branch of their firmware. It would cause too many problems down the line. In any case, the silly behavior isn't Smoothie's fault, but S3D's.

Funny that Smoothie devs would spend so much of their time to fix a bug that's S3D's fault, while they apparently remain silent. If they are doing anything to fix it, they haven't said so. Frankly, their behavior gives me the impression that they don't think it's their bug to fix, and that they may never do anything about it.

There are reports that S3D is actively censoring complaints about this bug on their forums. If true, that seems unforgivably shady to me. If ignoring bugs and silencing people who bring them up isn't off limits to these people, then what the hell is? What other shortcuts might they take, and totally not give a crap that it ruins your day? Well, for one thing, I saw a review on YouTube about how their tablet had a limit on how big a file it could slice, and another that said the app crashed sometimes. In my opinion, they should reasonably have known about these things before shipping. They shipped anyway.

KISSlicer, Cura, and Slic3r all have lower bounds on the resolution of G-code they produce, and their output doesn't have this bug. Also, to my knowledge, the people/teams behind those slicers don't ship alpha-quality stuff for production-quality prices, or (reportedly) abuse their own customers when they rightly bring up these issues.

KISSlicer is my slicer of choice. It generates really good toolpaths, FAST. Slic3r generates okay toolpaths, and is my go-to for single-wall vases, since KISSlicer has no support for spiral (one continuous line of filament) vases. Slic3r is slow as hell, so I don't use it for anything else. Cura is interesting, but the infill generation is not very good. It draws over its own lines, making bumps of excess plastic that you can hear the hot end repeatedly colliding with. (Great thing to hear, right?) You also have to give it extra skin thickness, so that the printer can hide all the mistakes the infill generator made. Otherwise, you get a regular pattern of bumps sticking up through the top surfaces of your object.

For playback, I either use Repetier Host (if it's a small print) or upload the G-code file to the controller. It's faster to take the SD card out and copy the G-code straight from the computer, so I do that on really huge files. Rep Host likes to crash and/or lose its serial connection on my machine, so I don't trust it for anything that matters.
Last edited by 626Pilot on Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by geneb »

I think you're confusing Simplify3D with MatterControl. I've heard of S3D actively censoring issues regarding the Smoothieboard and tiny moves and nothing about MatterControl.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Mac The Knife »

since we`re gonna talk smack, I don`t regret spending $150 for S3d, where as Matter control pissed me off in their beginning with their "updates".
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by geneb »

MatterControl may have some issues, but at least they don't tell you that they own the output of the software.

Get a load of this: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/com ... haring_of/

They're invited to kiss my ass.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Eaglezsoar »

geneb wrote:MatterControl may have some issues, but at least they don't tell you that they own the output of the software.

Get a load of this: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/com ... haring_of/

They're invited to kiss my ass.

g.

Mine ass also. I never owned a copy based on the fact that S3D did not provide a trial version and I am glad that I did not buy it.
I do not care if they have the best software on earth, with no trial and them owning the GCode produced they can go F themselves.
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

And not a mention of this on their forum. Perhaps they are censoring posts related to this like they sensor nearly all of my posts.

I picked through their web site and their EULA is no where to be found. I picked through the installation and the only place the license is found is in the About dialog (Mac OS X). This license does not mention a thing about not allowing distribution of gcode files.

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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Mac The Knife »

geneb wrote:MatterControl may have some issues, but at least they don't tell you that they own the output of the software.

Get a load of this: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/com ... haring_of/

They're invited to kiss my ass.

g.


Sneaky bastards.
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by Mac The Knife »

If we listened to the lawyers all the time, we'd never get anything done,,,, That pretty sums up the problem with Washington D.C.
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Re: Quick Start guide?

Post by mhackney »

The problem is, if you blatantly disregard the lawyers you can loose a lot of money or worse, go to jail.

BTW, I emailed S3D support to explicitly ask if this usage is allowed and to get a copy of their EULA. I have not had a response yet.

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