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coofercat

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Everything posted by coofercat

  1. Just to say, my TMC2130s arrived, so I hurriedly tried to get them to work. They're not quite a 'drop in replacement' for the UMO's own drivers, although they're quite easy to get going if you want a bit of a project. The bulk of the work of getting the electronics sorted is nicely documented here: The TMCs have a larger heatsink and are a little bit thicker than the originals, so they don't fit under the wooden electronics cover. To resolve this and complete the project, I did the following: - Remove the top piece of the wooden electronics cover, whatever fan you have and the cardboard fold-up thingy - Drill some holes and fit a 70mm fan onto the bigger (bottom) sheet of the electronics cover. I used the rubber washers that came with my fan to get it another millimetre or two away from the electronics. - Dremelled off the tops of the higher heatsinks so that they fit under the fan This then means that the electronics + fan sandwich is too tall to fit under the ultimaker. You'll need some feet to lift your UMO up by about 15-20mm. I used some wooden blocks to get going, but am printing up some feet to do a more permanent job. On a more positive note, the bigger fan blows so much air, so directly that everything runs really cool, which means no missed steps and no 12V issues. I also found firmware a bit of a problem. The robotfuzz site seems to be down, so I used https://bultimaker.bulles.eu/. It's easy to make a firmware that reverses the X/Y/E/Z motion. You can't fiddle with the steps-per-mm for the Z-stage on there though, so your Z will move about half of distance its supposed to. I had a crack at compiling up Marlin from source, but didn't get anything working properly. Until I can work that out, I've put the original stepper driver back in for the Z axis. That's a shame because it sounds like it's moving by compressed air (a sort of 'pfff' sound) when it's driven by a TMC. After all that, I've got to say the TMCs are almost magical. They cut the noise your printer makes by so much it's almost difficult to know your printer is actually running. It's really amazing how effective they are. Thanks for the tip - it was well worth doing this.
  2. Wow folks - thanks so much! I'm loving those pictures. It makes me wonder if I should paint my printer!? I had no idea changing a stepper driver could reduce the noise of the stepper, although now I think of it, it makes sense. I'll look into getting some of those in. An Ulticontroller does look like a good idea - I seem to remember it being a bit too expensive way-back-whenever, which is what lead me down the path of using a Raspberry Pi instead (my plan there was to run CUPS and make my Ultimaker look like a regular printer on the network - way back, I wrote a gcode sender as part of this: https://github.com/coofercat/bytetrain). If I can source an ulticontroller, I think I'll get one in and save me a job or two though (or failing that look into Octoprint or something). As for more physical things, I like the idea of a new z-stage and at the very least a 3-point level (versus the 4 point I have). I have a threaded switch arrangement, so that side of things works quite well, but I do find the bed does seem to change angle a bit here and there (which causes the brims to either be too thin or blobby as the backlog of filament comes out). By the looks of things I have a similar heated bed as @tommyph1208, in my case a bit of borosilicate glass on top - although I can never get my butterfly clips on as fully as in those pictures without getting in the way of printing. The Geo Hagen extruder looks interesting - I find my Bertho extruder mod needs something to hold the white 'stick' in place otherwise it moves upwards and the 'squeeze' on the filament is lost. I'm using an elastic band at the moment, but I feel like I should be able to print my way out of this problem. Lastly the electronics... I'm not sure if I want to replace them or not. As there isn't a obvious upgrade path, maybe I'll leave that one to another time. New stepper drivers and power supplies would be quite a change on its own, so I should probably do that before I look at anything more serious, but it's an area I think I need to 'invest' in sometime. Just to summarise everything in this thread (and a few other bits) so far (just in case anyone else is in the same situation as me), here's an approximately prioritised list of 'big items': Heated bed Hot end upgrade/replacement to UMO+ standard Bertho or Geo Hagen extruder modification/replacement Ulticontroller or similar to 'untether' the computer from the printer Upgrade stepper motor drivers to TMC2130 stepstick Possibly switch out the electronics for something else And for smaller (mostly printable) items: Make the z-limit switch screw-adjustable 3-point bed levelling Electronics fan replacement (as the supplied fan doesn't work for very long) Hot end fan shroud replacement (the fold-up thing isn't very good) I'd also add an "Owen Clamp" onto the bowden tube, but I suspect the newer hot end negates the need for it.
  3. Hmm... definitely worth thinking about. I'm in the UK, and found this: https://3dgbire.com/collections/spare-parts/products/hot-end-pack I can't remember ever having a teflon part - I've got a PEEK part, but from memory, the Bowden pushes straight into it (there also seems to be an additional brass part I don't have). I believe in mine it goes Bowden -> PEEK -> (alu block) -> nozzle. By the looks of things, there's been a bit of a design adjustment that could help me out - I'll bash the credit card ? The saga of printing continues - I tried to print a 7.5 hour print over night, and it failed because the Y motor had moved a little bit, making the small belt slack enough that it could skip on the teeth. A load of grease on the bars and a bit of adjustment has got it back working again. It's been printing a few things today, so I've just kicked off a repeat of last night's job. Elsewhere I'm trying to print a box that can hold a couple of Buck Converters. I figure I can use the 24V supply for the bed (which is a whopper) and drop it down to 19 for the main electronics, drop it to 12 for the 12V stuff (so no need of the regulator) and possibly drop it to 5V to run a raspberry pi as well. I'm already getting fed up of having to leave my laptop tethered to the printer for hours on end, so would prefer the Pi sent the gcode for me. That's probably an area that needs a whole load of looking into in itself, regardless of the state of my printer though. Thanks for the hotend tip - I'll get a new one in and see where it gets me. Last time I tried I couldn't get the heater or thermocouple out of the alu block, but I' sure there's a way!
  4. I've just had some extrusion problem. By the looks of it, the filament got thickened up in the hot end and then blocked the extruder. Not terrible to fix, but obviously means a failed print and a bit of tugging filament out of the hot end. However... I guess what I really wanted to know is if there were any developments in the last few years that could help me - and by the sounds of it, there haven't really been. I wondered if maybe the electronics had grown in power and complexity, or if the feeder had had a few redesigns (I see a few on Youmagine, some including different stepper motors, which reminds me I should probably calibrate my feeder at some point). I've been roped into doing a 'demo' of my printer at the kids school - wish me luck!
  5. The Marlin Builder seems to be the way to go - I more or less used the defaults, apart from guessing the temperature sensor of my heated bed. I built the firmware and uploaded it, and now the 'jog' functions all work, the heated bed is reading a sane value and the hotend (and bed) heat up when asked to do so. I haven't actually tried a print with it yet - that'll have to wait until the weekend. That worked out a lot easier than I thought it would - although I wonder why Cura's UMO firmware didn't at least make the basic printer work...? (I'd excuse it not working with the heated bed, as that's a bit custom/3rd party). Either way - thank you very much for your help - much appreciated.
  6. Great advice - thanks very much. In terms of use, I've got a couple of ABS prints in mind (some stuff that'll go outside, so PLA won't cut it), but nothing too complicated. After that, PLA is probably the weapon of choice for most jobs I'll end up doing. One day I'd like to try and get a Team UnLimbited arm out of it (http://www.teamunlimbited.org/) - something for my kids and their school to learn about. My fan shroud is actually printed, although it looks a bit melted, so I think it's time for a new one! I actually do have a Bertho feeder mod, and a couple of things to stop the feeder tube popping out of the hot end. I guess my main aim is that whenever anyone asks, I can say "sure, let's print something right now" - which hasn't really been my experience, generally I've had to say "er... okay, let's see if I can get it going". I've had some good success with it, but a lot of failures for various reasons too. Since you're not saying to do anything major, I guess I really just need to spend some time getting it all working as well as possible and fix up any minor niggles. Thanks folks - appreciate the advice ?
  7. I've got one of the very early Ultimaker Originals. It's had a few tweaks and tucks here and there, but let's assume it's pretty much as sold. The one exception is that I do have a heated bed (3rd party Alu sheet + glass top). I haven't used it in a couple of years, but am looking to get back to 3D printing. My experience was that I could get some good stuff out of it, but that I needed to fiddle with it quite a bit to keep it running smoothly and to 'optimise' prints. Let's assume limitless budget... what upgrades, tweaks or customisations should I look into? I'm really looking to make it as low-maintenance as possible, to get maximum printing quality and reliability from it. After that, it's all about showing off! (truthfully, the budget isn't limitless and probably won't spring to another printer, but let's see... ? ) To start the conversation off, I know there's been a lot of work done on the hot ends. Should I get a new one? There's also a move away from having to plug my computer into the printer by USB. Should I look to something there? The feeder was always a conversation point too, is that worth replacing?
  8. Thanks for that - I get zero volts across the two heater terminals - but then, as the light doesn't come on, it means that the board isn't even trying to heat (it took me a few minutes for 'the penny to drop' last night when I was looking at it). I do have 12V available, so when it tries to heat, it'll (hopefully) get some volts though. The most obvious problem is when you get a crazy temperature reading the board doesn't heat because it may overheat the head. However, in this case the temperature reading isn't super accurate, but it is reasonable, and does change with temperature, so it doesn't seem to be that. As for firmware - I just pressed the 'upgrade firmware' button in Cura (which is the latest version I could get (v3.5.1). Not sure I can get a .h from any of that? In some desperation, I'm going to try and resurrect my old computer, which (hopefully) has the old version of Cura on it, which hopefully has the old firmware on it - not sure how successful any of that will be, but it might work.
  9. I've got one of the very early Ultimaker Originals (back when they were just called "Ultimaker"). It's got version 1.5.4 electronics, and has had a few bits and bobs added over the years, most notably a heated bed. It's been packed in a box for about 3 years, before which it definitely worked. Somewhat foolishly, I immediately upgraded the firmware, although maybe I should have tried it before I did that. Long story short: it's not attempting to heat the hot end. There's an LED which lights when the heater is on, and this never lights up. The temperature sensor seems to be working (it reads about 30C, even though the room is at about 21C, but it always seemed to do that) - if I squeeze the aluminium block in my fingers, I can get the temperature to go up a couple of degrees. However, no matter what I try, I don't seem to be able to convince it to actually turn the heater on. I've got a good looking 19V power supply, my 12V line looks good too, the fans are all working, the green LEDs on the board are on, the blue LED strips are on, the little blue LED in the head is on, Cura 'sees' the printer (although I can't 'jog' the head, I can press the home buttons and it moves). I've tried firmware for the UMO, UMO+ with and without the heated bed option. Not ideal, but not a concern right now is that the heated bed (which is a 3rd party 24V alu board + glass bed) reads 1100C - doesn't matter if it's connected or not. It doesn't seem to matter if I check the "Heated Bed" box in the settings or not, it always shows it, and it's always wrong. Once the hot end is sorted, this will probably be my next job to fix... This problem *feels* like firmware/compatibility/my ancient kit, but I can't see any options anywhere to fiddle with those details. Any help much appreciated!
  10. Oh wow - I love that muli-coloured bowl - what a great idea! I also like the heated tube idea - that sounds a bit like the filament clamp project, home-made style. It's such a simple solution, I think I'll have a go at making it myself. In the meantime, I'll try some of the multi-coloured idea. Thanks all :-)
  11. I've been using up some length of filament to make a few things, and so now have a few lengths of different coloured filaments of about 1-2 metres (or a bit longer). Obviously, once the length gets down to about 75cm the extruder can't push it up the bowden, so these lengths don't seem especially useful. I can't think of anything productive to do with the short lengths. There's a filament welder project (http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/6688-filament-welding-clamp/) in the works, but no word on when it might go into production. What do other people do with random short lengths of filament? What cool uses to people have for such things?
  12. Just a couple that spring to mind... 1) attachments to comments in the ideas section. The idea being that I can leave a comment with a picture or stl of what I'm talking about. 2) RSS feeds on just about everything. Also 'follow' optiins on designers, designs, ideas, categories etc. 3) Thingiverse import? 4) Link to other site's design? The idea being to make YM the authoritative site for all designs anyone ever made, even if they were done for some other reason 5) button to turn off the animated render gadget - sometimes the still picture is more useful. Ideally I'd be able to select a 'north', 'south', 'east' or 'west' view in the still pictures too. Just a thought - it's already a good site, which I'm sure will become great in the future :-)
  13. I don't consider myself any sort of 'pro' and so I generally want cheap/free software for my 3D printing needs. I've been a long-time user of Sketchup. I've done some fairly advanced stuff with it, but it does have some horrible bugs that get really annoying. It's easy to accidentally leave a hole in your object, or to leave some internal geometry inside your object, both of which screw up printing in weird ways. Things get a lot harder when you want to use curved shapes, or intersecting complex shapes - and let's face it, 'boxy' objects don't show off the great features of the 3D printing process, so I have been trying to use as many curves as I can :wink: Making things like screws and cogs is a pretty tedious affair with Sketchup - it can be done, but I've never actually made it through the whole process without giving up. Recently, Google sold the Sketchup software, and since then it's turned into more of a proper "product", with license keys and features that don't work without one (sadly bug fixes don't seem too evident). It seems to be aimed at architects and such like, so it's got a bunch of features you won't need (some of which are license locked). I suspect that it'll gradually turn into a non-free option, so that + bugs means I'm looking to get off it. I've been looking at Blender. I've seen some interesting objects created in Blender, some with complex shapes like interlocking cogs and screws and some textured ones too. Making more interesting shapes is partly what's drawing me to it. Blender's not for newbies, but it does seem to have some amazing features. It's primarily aimed at 3D artists rather than printers, so has a whole world of features you won't use. There are loads of video tutorials on how to use it, so you can easily spend a couple of hours just watching those before you even try making something. I'm yet to really design something and print it in Blender, so not sure how easy or hard it really is. Designspark Mechanical looks interesting. I just downloaded a copy so I'll have a play and see what it's like. If it turns out to be Sketchup-like, then it'll be good for quickly producing things - and sometimes that's all you need, and you don't want (by design) any funky textures or shapes. OpenScad is another interesting one - in a left-field sort of way. It seems like it'd be good for making "boxy" objects that are based on cubes, cyclinders and such like. I'm not so sure you can make "free form" object so easily with it, but again, it might be good for making objects quickly. I dread to think how you'd describe the object they have on their home page, but clearly some people can, and it does seem pretty cool that you could parameterise your object so that you could make it slightly different based on a few preferences. In that sense, OpenScad looks pretty unique, as the best you can realistically do elsewhere is simple scaling. I found this thread while looking for "best CAD software for printing", and seem to have answered my own question: Some packages are good for quick, simple objects, some are good for intricate complex ones, and one is good for mathmatically describing objects. It depends what mood you're in, and what you want to do as to which one is best. I'm looking forward to broadening my skills out to a few of them...
  14. Ian: You've definitely made a very good looking feeder :smile: I wonder how it copes with a few turns of loose filament dumped on the floor (which tends to over-tighten and kink unless you use a lazy-susan)? I only have a UM1, so I can't directly contribute, but there are two things I've wondered about: 1) The knurled bolt - if this was more of a knurled wheel (say 100mm diameter), then more of it would be in contact with the filament at any time. That means more of the 'teeth' would be frictionous against the filament, and so you'd be less likely to 'grind' after one tooth slips a bit. You'd presumably need a correspondingly larger ball bearing opposite it to get the full benefit. 2) On my UM1, I too have large spool of filament hooked on the back of the printer. This is a nice neat design, but now that my reel is getting older and emptier, the curve of the filament is much smaller and harder to overcome. I wondered if the feeder needs a "pre-feeder" that is motorised, but perhaps only uses some rubber wheels to move the filament (so that it can slip if it needs to). The motor could probably be a normal non-stepper motor that can stall if it's already pushed enough filament, and can slip if it's 'out of sync' with the main feeder. The idea here is just to get the filament reel to turn, and to push the filament up to the main feeder. It's primarily a way to offload the work of unreeling the filament from the main feeder, which needs to concentrate on getting filament through the bowden and hot end. I also wondered if there should be a (straight) heated tube between the pre-feeder and the main feeder. That heater could maybe get up to 50-100C, so no where near the melting point, but enough to ease the bend in the filament so that it feeds more easily. My 2 pence :smile:
  15. Should the network processor and the stepper processor be separated? I'd hate for my print to go slow because I was pressing 'refresh' on the web interface :wink: Separating the processors increases the BoM, and means you have to think about how to get gcode from one processor to the other - 250K baud serial isn't enough, unless maybe you binary encode your gcode (eg. http://wiki.ultimaker.com/Ultimate_Binary_Protocol).%20However,%20it%20means%20you%20can%20keep%20most%20of%20your%20existing%20firmware%20and%20have%20the%20ARM%20doing%20all%20the%20networking%20and%20display%20updates. If there's one thing you can be certain of - putting an ethernet interface on anything means you'll need to do lots of security work on the code that works with it (think: IPv6, SSL, etc). I for one would prefer something that has plenty of spare cycles to do that rather than an embedded controller-gone-wild. Just a thought :wink:
  16. I think you've got a solution, but I'll throw this in just in case you need it: I had similar problems a while back, but the head was getting blocked almost every print. I was about to throw the bloomin' thing out the window, but thankfully I didn't. I found that you can get a sort of partial blockage in the head (where PLA gets between the bowden and the hot end, and then cools down). I was finding that it seemed to cause so much friction that molten PLA wouldn't move so well and prints would sometime go really thin and recover, or just stop extruding altogether. The V1 head suffers from the 'popping' problem where the junction between bowden and hot end gets material forced into it, which eventually pushes the bowden out of it's clamp. It doesn't sound like you're quite there yet, but it could be contributory (and raising the temperature will help stop the material hardening when it gets pushed through the junction). If you do find yourself with popping problems, then you can print your way out of trouble with a Pop-Stop (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/ultimaker-bowden-pop-stop). This allows you to get a really tight seal between bowden and hot end without needing some super-strong bowden clamp. I think this is sort of the same design used in the V2 hot end (although I've yet to buy one, so can't say for sure!).
  17. If it were me, I'd put a 'roller' on the filament feed. That is, put a low friction roller onto the filament before it enters the extruder. If the filament moves, so does the roller and so software can detect filament movement. If the filament stops moving (perhaps because there is none, or perhaps due to an extruder failure, blockage, etc) then again, software can detect this and act accodingly. I guess you could go super-advanced and have the roller built into the extruder (so maybe between the extruder gear and the bowden), but that's more of an in-manufacturing solution rather than an an add on that we could print out ;-) FWIW, I was considering a pre-feed solution because my 5Kg roll of filament is pretty old and now it's running low the filament is quite tightly wound in the spool. This gives the filament quite a sharp 'bend' which isn't ideal to feed through the bowden. Such a device could easily double-up as a feed detector.
  18. I'd just like to say "thanks" to everyone who's responsible for making the Ultimaker so good. Thank you folks - you're doing a great job! I had to pack my Ultimaker 1 (with old hot end + friction extruder, about 2.5 years old now) into a box around about this time last year. I got it unpacked over the weekend, and downloaded the latest Cura to use with it. Installing and running Cura walked me through levelling the bed (still pretty close to level, even after some travelleing about), and upgraded the firmware. It also suggested I either buy or print the upgraded, spring & bearing extruder. Initially I skipped that bit ;-) Within just a few minutes, I was up and running and printed out a couple of small parts. I got confident, so had a look on Youmagine (another nice new feature) and downloaded a lamp shade to print (https://www.youmagine.com/designs/lampshade). I tried it half size just to try it out, but my extruder failed, so I decided to print the upgrade. I just put the upgraded extruder in last night, and have printed some things successfully, so once again, full of confidence I've set the printer to print the lamp shade in full size (fast quality, something like an 11 hour print). I'm at work right now, so can't see how it's getting on - I'll find out tonight when I get home ;-) So anyway, with my old, old printer, I'm back up and running. Really cool things that have happened since I last used it include: - Cura has come on leaps and bounds. It's really good now, and much more what home 3D printing needs. It's so much faster and better looking than way back in the day when I used Replicator G (and even early Cura versions). I can't really comment on the quality of slicing, but so far, it's doing a great job. - Extruder spring + bearing upgrade. This is older than a year, but is great. I love that I can print the upgrades that have come along since I bought my printer. - Youmagine - it's early days for the site, but I've moved all my stuff over from Thingiverse. There are some really nice things on Youmagine, so I'm looking forward to lots more in the future - Firmware - I've upgraded it, but I can't really say what's improved in it, but it seems to be working very nicely - This forum - I'm still subscribed to the Google groups digest, but hey, I'm gonna move with the times and get on the forum from now on ;-) So as I say, for everyone who's been a part of these and other improvements - a big thank you from me. Can't wait to print some more cool stuff in the future :-)
  19. I think I've solved this (at least, it's been solved the last couple of times I've started up the Ultimaker). Short summary: I regreased the fan (replacing it would probably also work, but I didn't find a blower that looked the same in the half hour I spent looking for one). If you want to do the same thing: 1) Switch off the Ultimaker. Remove the wooden cover plate over the electronics and detach the fan power cable 2) Remove the fan from the wooden plate (in my case, this involved unsticking some blue tape I'd put on it to ensure a good air seal) 3) Unclip the case of the fan (this involved sticking a small screwdriver into each of the three clips around the outside of the fan) 4) Unpeel the sticker in the centre of the bottom side of the fan 5) Under the sticker there's a white plastic clip that prevents the fan blades assembly from coming off the fan case - pull that clip off 6) This should release the fan blades from the main fan case. 7) Regrease the metal shaft on the fan blades (I used some bike grease I happened to have - it claims to be good at high temperatures and high speeds, which seemed like it might be good qualities to have, but I suspect any half decent grease would do the job) 8) Replace the shaft into the main fan case, and replace the white retaining clip 9) Reassemble the fan case by popping the top case on and ensuring it locates in all three clips 10) Reattach the fan to the wooden cover plate and reconnect the fan power cable. You may want to test the fan works by plugging in the Ultimaker briefly. 11) Refit the wooden cover plate over the electronics and (hopefully) enjoy noise free printing again :-)
  20. Hmm... yeah, sounds good to me. Mine's (almost) done it from day one too - and like yours seems to get over it after a couple of stop/starts or a few minutes. I'll check the power connection, but it seems to work okay, so I don't suppose there's a problem there. If I get some time I'll see if there's an easy replacement part (hopefully of slightly more reliable quality). Thanks for the help - and for confirming my suspicions. Have a good xmas/NY :-)
  21. Hi All, My Ultimaker's electronics cooling fan is sometimes *really* noisy. It's not touching anything (I know it a wire touches the blades that can make a lot of noise), and it doesn't do it every time I turn it on. However, sometimes, I turn on the machine and brrrrrrr it makes an absolute racket! This sounds a bit like the bearings are going in the fan - but that doesn't seem right, because the machine is practically new. Has anyone else seen this? Got any ideas what I can do to fix this?
  22. Hi All, I took delivery of my Ultimaker about 3 months ago, and have just upgraded the firmware to Marlin Experimental Build 3 and am using ReplicatorG 0026 Alpha 1 on Windows. By co-incidence, I've got a new laptop, so it's a completely virgin install, with no config changes at all. My Ultimaker itself is pretty much exactly as it was when I first built it (so no changes there either). I'm really pleased to say that I've now achieved what I would describe as "out of the box printing". It's not perfect, but I've successfully printed a few different test pieces (eg. the thin wall test, the 20mm box, etc). I've also successfully printed a couple of things downloaded from thingiverse.com and also a box I designed myself. Since getting this working, I've had the printer working for hours on end getting as much printed as I can!! In short, for anyone who has recently ordered or received an Ultimaker, or anyone thinking of getting one - now is a good time to do so. You're still going to be using alpha/beta software, and it's all subject to a lot of change, so don't expect a fully finished/polished product. However, you can basically do what you'd hope to be able to do: That is, download an object and print it (reasonably well). The printed result may not be perfect (it may not be especially high quality, may have stringing, overhangs may not be quite as good as they should be, etc), but you can definitely print things. You can play with the build speed multiplier to see it feverishly working at colossal speed and the printer still works, and you still get a reasonable print. Much of the hype about this product are true - and it's great to be able to really put it to the test. For me at least, this is a huge relief. For months now, I've been fiddling with my Ultimaker/skeinforge profiles and reading forums and groups and being generally a bit frustrated that I never got very good results, and that I'd had to work so hard to get anything going. Those days are over - I'm really excited and am busily designing boxes for various electronics projects I've been working on, and trying to find fun stuff to make for the Mrs as a reward for putting up with having a large (expensive) ornament kicking around for so long! Thank you Ultimaker, and the community for getting us to (what looks to me like) a great milestone! ¡Viva la Revolución! ;-)
  23. This sounds amazing - but it sounds like it'll end up being a complete electronics replacement for the Ultimaker (although you'll be able to reuse elements of the design). Uploading your design to the printer and letting it print is much more the way packaged printers work, and would (IMHO) be a significant selling point for the Ultimaker if it could do it. If you do end up redesigning boards and the like, how about adding in some sort of "expansion port" that hackers could attach devices to (stuff like LCD displays, control buttons or whatever) - it sounds like you'd have enough power available to be able to handle the gcode and some out of band communications like that sort of thing. Either way, this sounds like a great idea - although could take some time to do, I guess. Good luck!
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