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dreadedhill

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About dreadedhill

  • Birthday 09/05/1957

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  1. Still getting notifications on this topic, so adding a bit... 🙂 For context, I write software for a living. Mostly developing for Windows and Unix (since the 1980s). Found that I - as a developer - much prefer Unix as my day-to-day working environment, so bought a fully loaded MacBook Pro in 2013 to get a laptop with a Unix command line. (Do Windows development in virtual machines.) So well-acquainted with Windows and Unix (or Linux). Printing via shuffling SD cards is a tedious, though reliable. Printing via USB connected to your PC seems like a good idea. USB certainly works well with common paper printers. Plug in a USB paper printer and your PC can introspect the newly connected device, and (in many cases) load appropriate drivers automatically. From your PC, you have great control over the printer. Problem is, most of the current low-end 3D printers on the market are dumb as a rock. The USB support on the printer side is ... not really USB (cheap/dumb/unreliable/barebones). This means there are lots of problems you do not have with common paper printers on USB. The end result is less reliable. (I have not used an Ultimaker printer. I suspect they are better sorted .. but still using primitive controllers, last I checked.) The better alternative is to setup OctoPrint, using a Raspberry Pi. In effect, you get a $35 Linux supercomputer dedicated to the singular task of making your printer smarter. It works. The Raspberry Pi uses that half-assed USB to the printer. That means OctoPrint bends over backwards to allow for cranky/dumb printers ... and does a very good job. Yes, it takes some work to setup OctoPrint (or OctoPi). I was several months into my 3D printing misadventures, before I got around to setting up OctoPrint. Oh boy. Was it ever worth it. OctoPrint is so much nicer. I have zero interest in debugging PC-to-printer USB issues. Get started with OctoPrint. You can thank me later. 🙂
  2. As I eventually discovered, if you are using MacOS, connecting a printer via USB is a bit not obvious. Some(?) printers use a USB chip that MacOS does not support. Unlike Windows, MacOS does not(!) tell you when there is an unrecognized USB device. You have to dig up the correct drivers to install (bit tricky) ... then (for me) Cura worked, pretty much automatically. Then I (finally) got around to setting up OctoPi (OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi). Much, much better than using USB. Very highly recommended. You do not want to be printing via directly connected USB.
  3. First, I just arrived at this discussion. Also, I know a bit about software. The USB connection to the printer has value in allowing Cura to introspect the attached 3D printer. Cura could in principle do exact auto-configure to match the attached printer, without user intervention. Also that same introspection could - in principle - tell us the exact state of the printer, and the progress of any print job (however started). If the printer has mass storage (a memory card in the usual case), that storage could be introspected. The data for a print job could be transferred to the printer storage (again, in principle). Prints would then occur through a single code path (off the memory card). Once a print job was started, the computer could go to sleep, or be detached, and the job would complete normally. At least this is what I expect, as a software guy. Whether the printer firmware and Cura support this, I do not (yet) know.
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