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fredz

Printing via USB

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Why is printing via USB such a pain or "not a good thing to do"? We're 2016 now, and the recommended way is to physically take a SD card, put a file on it, then put it in the printer. Why is that? It seems so old fashioned and not needed. USB (even 2.0) is fast enough to transfer a file - why can't 3D printers do it properly that way?

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USB printing is possible with the Ultimakers it's not recommended because the amount of data to transfer is important. It seems that USB printing can be un-reliable because there can be some small disconnections that can create errors in printing.

Also (that's my personnal opinion), SD card is not so painfull as it seems to be. Just copy your gcode to it, plug it in the printer and let it print. I don't want my laptop to stay connected to the printer for 36 hours without being able to move or it or fearing a windows update will restart my computer during the night.

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Incorrect press I am afraid. I have used the USB connection on my printer since the day I started, over two years ago - not a single problem. I go over wifi to the Solidworks laptop, transfer the stl to the 3D print laptop and print.

Edited by Guest

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Not incorrect as there were quite a few people who had issues with it even back in the UMO only days which is why Ultimaker decided not to support it officially on the UM2. Why would they remove a feature (another box to check in the marketing material) from their printer unless there was a reason to?

That said, I too printed happily from USB for a couple of years on the UMO without any issues. At first I was very against the SDCard solution on the UM2 but now I prefer it :)

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I don't see that printing over usb has a relevant benefit. on the other hand, a single hiccup wrong keypress can ruin a print, rendering hours and meters of filament useless. so in my opinion sdcard is a musthave, usb might be convient for some.

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Running over USB means you have a computer involved which means you can use Repetier Host to control the printer which is a lot easier than using that wheely thing :). It also means you can rapidly change the slicer settings and reprint, easily check the gcode in RH if that turns you on,  and whilst baby sitting the print you can get your next model sliced, and of course watch a movie etc

Edited by Guest

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Running over USB means you have a computer involved which means you can use Repetier Host to control the printer which is a lot easier than using that wheely thing :).

 

Does this work with UM2? Did you try it? How to set it up?

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I don't see that printing over usb has a relevant benefit. on the other hand, a single hiccup wrong keypress can ruin a print.

 

How can a "keypress" ruin a print? Where would you press the key?

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I don't see that printing over usb has a relevant benefit. on the other hand, a single hiccup wrong keypress can ruin a print.

 

How can a "keypress" ruin a print? Where would you press the key?

 

(oh, I left out the "or" between hiccup and wrong keypress.) I thought of all those things that can block your pc for a short moment. Maybe you start something that demands admin rights and the UAC dialog blocks your system. I have an AV receiver and a beamer connected to my pc. Whenever I turn the beamer on, the PC blacks out for a moment as it detects the beamer as a new monitor. I didn't try, but I could imagine, those events might interrupt the transmission for a moment and then the print is ruined.

I have to admit, I never tried it and might be completely wrong.

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Running over USB means you have a computer involved which means you can use Repetier Host to control the printer which is a lot easier than using that wheely thing :).

 

Does this work with UM2? Did you try it? How to set it up?

 

I have a 3ntr not a UM. I think that UM, for whatever reason, had problems in getting their USB interface to work and now do not support it - I could be wrong. @|Robert| seems to have had success with the UM USB interface.

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Hi @avogra, well I can only say that I think you are wrong. What is there to do - load the gcode. OK you could load the wrong gcode but equally you could copy the wrong version of the model to the SD card or load the wrong model from the gcode - and I always check the layer display in RH first to make sure I do have the right gcode. Miss the start button and press the wrong button - but then you could do that with the wheely thing. Press a wrong button/control slider during the print - well I guess so but the same applies equally to he wheely thing. For me running Repetier Host as the controller, using the usb interface is a no brainer. For example if I am configuring the correct nozzle to bed distance then all I need to do is display the gcode in RH, change the z-offset and restart - so much easier than going back to Cura and changing it.

Edited by Guest

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@yellowshark, I understand that USB printing does not transfer the gcode once and then starts printing, but it has to continuously provide the next instructions as soon as the UM2 has executed the previous ones. The microcontroller has only a small internal buffer of maybe 200 instructions onboard.

But I get the feeling, that might be a misunderstanding on my side :D

Another issue: Once when I removed the USB cord from the running UM2 after a firmware update, it did a complete reset. That seems to be a known flaw of the electronics board but can be avoided easily.

Edited by Guest

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Interesting, you may well be right about the microcontroller ( I assume that is the wheely thing :) ) but it is not something I have every looked at. Maybe Repetier Host would overcome that for you - I think George uses RH on his UM

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I think that UM, for whatever reason, had problems in getting their USB interface to work and now do not support it - I could be wrong.

 

Yep you are :) We did got it to work quite nicely for the UMO. However, we noticed that a lot of users did not use this function. There are big differences between operating systems in how usb stuff is handled. All of this leads up to: Spend a lot of resources on getting something to work, but that is hardly used and can in some cases give worse results (bandwith of USB is also an issue in some cases).

The choice is quite easy imho.

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The microcontroller has only a small internal buffer of maybe 200 instructions onboard.

 

Actually it's 16 instructions.

 

Another issue: Once when I removed the USB cord from the running UM2 after a firmware update, it did a complete reset. That seems to be a known flaw of the electronics board but can be avoided easily.

 

Connecting with the board causes a reset. Its a silly arduino ish thingie.

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Hi @Nallath, may thanks for clarifying the position and explaining why you felt it was not worth getting usb to work on the UM2, and presumably the UM1. It is off no consequence to me, running a 3ntr - but I think the Forum is just wonderful :) , but I wonder why people do not use it; maybe

Everything thing I have read on the forum over the past two years+ suggests it does not work or now work well. That "rumour" or whatever it is will put people off.

Quite possibly for a lot of people using the USB could require another laptop and that may be too expensive to be justified. I run a dedicated Windows 8 laptop that only has Cura, Repetier Host and slic3r loaded.

I know that |Robert| above said he has gone the other way and moved from USB (which was working) to SDcard but for me, if I were to buy another printer, I would not look at anything that did not have a working and supported USB interface - for my setup it is just so much easier.

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Running over USB means you have a computer involved which means you can use Repetier Host to control the printer which is a lot easier than using that wheely thing :).

 

Does this work with UM2? Did you try it? How to set it up?

 

@fredz - google repetier host to learn more. You can also use octoprint (again google). You can also run octoprint on a raspberry pi which is a 25€ computer.

Running a print from a laptop that you intend to watch movies on while printing - very bad idea. You really want a dedicated computer doing that like the raspberry pi.

But if you want to do this with a windows or mac computer it's very simple, just connect the USB cable. Even Cura will do it for you. Or pronterface. These are all great programs (well not so much cura) for controlling your printer through the usb. When you slice it's important to tell cura that your "machine" does not accept ultigcode - you want regular reprap gcode as ultigcode doesn't go through the USB properly (has to do with temp settings, filament diameter, and so on).

Note that for some people it works fantastic and other's they have to swap computers, USB cables, add USB buffers, and all manner of frustration until they get it working and only then it works great for years.

I have ruined several prints due to windows office updates, windows updates, windows crashes, screen savers, power saver, etc. Windows sucks for this kind of thing. Mac also. I even rebooted the computer on purpose once and forgot that it was the only thing keeping my printer going. That was very stupid of me. And very annoying. Another ruined print.

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George, now you know you need to turn Windows Update off! And by the sounds of it you also need to get rid of that win 95 OS ad move to Windows 10 :) I am actually only using Win 8 on the print laptop but it has only glitched once in 2 years

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Why is printing via USB such a pain or "not a good thing to do"? We're 2016 now, and the recommended way is to physically take a SD card, put a file on it, then put it in the printer. Why is that? It seems so old fashioned and not needed.

I fully agree to that. It's great that the UM2 printers are able to work autonomous (without connection to a acomputer), but it's really annoying that there is no reliable alternative to taking out the SD card from the printer, putting it into a card reader on the PC, taking out the SD card from the PC and insert it into the printer.

I understand that there are problems to keep a continous data stream flowing through an USB connection. The first CD-R recorders two decades ago has similar issues, because they had no sufficient buffering yet. However, the UM2 has a huge buffer. And that's what I don't understand.

All modern USB-capable devices I know can be connected with a desktop PC through USB; the file system of the SD card is mapped on the desktop PC, meaning: a file browser windows pops up. After this, you can just drag & drop (preprocessed) files from the desktop PC to the SD card on the external device. That's how my digicam, my smartphone, my tablet, and my audio recorder works. Just with an USB cable I can transfer files from and to these devices.

This USB mode is called "mass storage" or class 08h. There are other USB modes like "human interface device" (class 03h, e.g. a computer mouse). From what I understand, the SD card reader in the Ultimaker 2 can not be accessed as mass storage device, and the USB cable is used only to send data to the printer, not preprocessed gcode files to the SD card.

I think this would be a feature request for future version of the Ultimaker as many desktop PCs and notebooks do not even have card readers built in anymore. If the SD card reader in the Ultimaker printer could be accessed as a mass storage device through USB, it would make handling a lot easier.

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OK, the microcontroller has a small buffer, but it's not very difficult to program Cura in such a way, that it FIRST sends the complete file via USB to the SD Card in the UM, and only after this the printing starts. Seems logical and simple to me... (but then again, I may be wrong)

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OK, the microcontroller has a small buffer, but it's not very difficult to program Cura in such a way, that it FIRST sends the complete file via USB to the SD Card in the UM, and only after this  the printing starts. Seems logical and simple to me... (but then again, I may be wrong)

 

I don't think it's at all possible to do this. If it is possible, it will probably be very slow and will probably ruin your SD card in record time.

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OK, the microcontroller has a small buffer, but it's not very difficult to program Cura in such a way, that it FIRST sends the complete file via USB to the SD Card in the UM, and only after this  the printing starts. Seems logical and simple to me... (but then again, I may be wrong)

 

I don't think it's at all possible to do this. If it is possible, it will probably be very slow and will probably ruin your SD card in record time.

 

Technically, it's possible. It won't ruin an SD card at all (one write of the file while sending, then one read of the file while printing). I suppose nobody has thought of it or everyone just likes swapping SD cards from computer to 3D printer ;-)

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Technically, it's possible. It won't ruin an SD card at all (one write of the file while sending, then one read of the file while printing). I suppose nobody has thought of it or everyone just likes swapping SD cards from computer to 3D printer ;-)

 

Lol not me, that is why I use USB

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Technically, it's possible. It won't ruin an SD card at all (one write of the file while sending, then one read of the file while printing). I suppose nobody has thought of it or everyone just likes swapping SD cards from computer to 3D printer ;-)

 

If there is a connection fail while writing, your card is ruined ;) As the writing is a lot slower than doing it on the PC, there is a far greater chance of it going wrong.

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