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Wisar

Feedback on Cura 2.3.1

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I am the happy owner of a new Ultimaker 3 that is now sitting beside my Ultimaker 2+.  I think that I may have been the first person in the UK to get a UM3 and because I was so early I needed to use Cura instead of Simplify 3D which I have been using for a couple of years.

I have been happy enough with Cura, and frustrated enough with a couple of S3D idiosyncrasies, that I have shelved S3D and been using Cura exclusively for the past month.   Here are some observations relative to that experience.

Two Things that I miss about Simplify3D

The first thing that I really miss is the ability to manually set where support is to be created.  This can be a truly useful feature.  

The second thing is the ability to create a "factory" that remembers the models and print settings that went into doing a particular job.   Ironically one of the things that I hate about Simplify3D is the lack of a refresh or reload function for the models that comprise a factory (or models that are on the build platform regardless of being in or out of a factory)!   It would be nice if Cura remembered everything about a job, from what files, to what settings, but I would be happy if it just remembered the list of files.  I do a lot of iterating when doing a design and since I design kits of multiple parts Cura can be cumbersome.   More on the multiple parts issue below.

Things that I Really Like about Cura 2.3.1

I have not used Cura for a couple of years so the changes from what I remember to now are enormous and I am not at all sure what features are new versus been around for a while.  One of the things that I like has been alluded to above already and that is the update model facility.  The other, and bigger, feature is the quality of the profiles that come with Cura now.  For the range of nozzle sizes and material types these profiles can not be beaten for getting a leg up on quality.  Finally, I like the cost of Cura!

Things that I would Change about Cura 2.3.1

As I mentioned above, I would like to see a "factory" like concept added.  Initially this could just be to remember the models loaded but remembering the rest of the settings for a job would be great, as would the ability to manually control support placement.  As the latter is probably a lot more of a challenge I would recommend that the first be attacked soon!

My other major gripe about Cura relates to the USB driver.  Why does it do a destructive poll of printers when it starts???  I have deleted the USB driver from the Cura directory structure to prevent this behavior but I do not think that I should have to do so!

The last thing that would make my life easier is to have a little bit larger of a bounding box around the models that are on the build platform.  This might be peculiar to the way that I work but it can be hard to grab small parts to move them around!

Possible Bug in Cura 2.3.1

There seems to be a circumstance where the slicer looses the ability to reset model positions on the build platform.  I have not been able to isolate when this happens but when it does the only solution is to quit and restart.  There are some other things about using profiles that I think may be issues but I have not been able to isolate an issue to be able to describe said issue!

Conclusion

I really like the new Cura!  I have not printed anything using S3D on either of my two printers since I took delivery of the UM3.

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Cura 2.4 will have the concept of a "project" which contains not only the models and all current settings, but also the profile(s) in use, custom machines and materials.

> the changes from what I remember to now are enormous

Cura "the gui" has been totally rewritten from scratch since you last saw it. It is an entirely new application. The CuraEngine (the part that does the actual slicing) has undergone a more evolutionary change, but is still quite a long way from Cura 15.4 and before.

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The USB handling is being worked on by the guys from Aleph Objects (LulzBot). I don't think it will be in the next release, but i expect it to be in the 2.5 release (which would mean that it's in a stable release in about 3 months).

2.4 will have some rudimentary control for removing supports. For those of you that have already worked with Infill meshes, it will work almost the same as those.

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The USB handling is being worked on by the guys from Aleph Objects (LulzBot). I don't think it will be in the next release, but i expect it to be in the 2.5 release (which would mean that it's in a stable release in about 3 months).

2.4 will have some rudimentary control for removing supports. For those of you that have already worked with Infill meshes, it will work almost the same as those.

 

Deleting the USB plugin keeps me out of trouble...right up to the point were I reinstall Cura or decide I want to do something across the USB cable :-o.

Being able to remove supports would indeed help. Has to be a bit of a challenge to have built in all the control that S3D gives. It is the best part of their app given that factories, for me anyway, are brain dead without a reload function.

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Cura 2.4 will have the concept of a "project" which contains not only the models and all current settings, but also the profile(s) in use, custom machines and materials.

>  the changes from what I remember to now are enormous

Cura "the gui" has been totally rewritten from scratch since you last saw it. It is an entirely new application. The CuraEngine (the part that does the actual slicing) has undergone a more evolutionary change, but is still quite a long way from Cura 15.4 and before.

 

A project concept would be awesome...as long as you can reload the models to current state! As I said in the closing...I really like the new Cura. Will have to be hurting S3D revenues.

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A project concept would be awesome...as long as you can reload the models to current state!  As I said in the closing...I really like the new Cura.  Will have to be hurting S3D revenues.

 

The reload is going to be tricky with the workspace saving. There are certain model formats (like 3mf) that can save multiple models and transformations. This makes reloading tricky, as Cura might have changed the orientation. Linking a model to a specific model inside a 3mf is also a bit tricky.

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A project concept would be awesome...as long as you can reload the models to current state!  As I said in the closing...I really like the new Cura.  Will have to be hurting S3D revenues.

 

The reload is going to be tricky with the workspace saving. There are certain model formats (like 3mf) that can save multiple models and transformations. This makes reloading tricky, as Cura might have changed the orientation. Linking a model to a specific model inside a 3mf is also a bit tricky.

 

I must be missing something but then I only work with STL's. If I am working on one of my models, and the printer is idle, when I come back to the printer with some updated STL's I hit reload and presto ready to print again.

Wouldn't the same work for a project? Open the project and it restores the printers state and the list of files that were on the build platform. It then goes to the source of those files and reloads current state. Obviously the user has to inspect things as geometry may have changed but this would be really helpful the way that I work. Without a reload capability a project, or factory in S3D, seems like a bit of a waste of time as the only use that I can see for it is repetitive manufacturing (not the strength of a 3D Printer) or just documentation of settings (helpful but overkill).

I must be missing something!

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 It then goes to the source of those files and reloads current state.

...

I must be missing something!

 

Yup. Saving a relative / absolute path to a file in a project is bound to break. If you share a project with another person on another PC, it won't work at all. This is why we chose to use 3mf for project files, which means the geometry of the model(s) is stored in the project file.

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Yup. Saving a relative / absolute path to a file in a project is bound to break. If you share a project with another person on another PC, it won't work at all. This is why we chose to use 3mf for project files, which means the geometry of the model(s) is stored in the project file.

That makes sense. I know that I am dreaming here but a relative or absolute path option would be a REALLY nice thing for those of us that do not have the need to share a project. I suspect that we are a sizeable part of the community.

Does the 3MF format retain the name of the source file as documentation or is there a user extensible attribute that could be used for said file name/pointer? Could you then not offer a refresh option that would be very useful during a models development process and for us tiny little garage or man cave manufactories?

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I like it but I just want to put a little...warning I guess and something to work on in later versions.

I had my printer plugged into my PC because hey, it might be useful when I have to print a small thing.

The thing is now that I was printing a big piece and about 12 hours in I wanted to look at something in Cura.

For some stupid reason, Cura and my Ultimaker immediatly saw it as me wanting to print via USB and just completely stopped my current print. 12 hours and a nice amount of material down the drain.

I really hope other people won't experience that.

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@oddoutput: That is expected behavior and not a easy thing to solve, it is caused by Cura trying to connect to see if there is any printers connected (otherwise it cannot know if there is any printers there).

Then what happens is that the Ultimainboard automatically will reset when this connection happens, this is a necessary feature inherited from its arduino base, or you would not be able to send firmware updates to the printer easily.

Dont keep the USB cable plugged in is my recommendation.

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I like it but I just want to put a little...warning I guess and something to work on in later versions.

I had my printer plugged into my PC because hey, it might be useful when I have to print a small thing.

The thing is now that I was printing a big piece and about 12 hours in I wanted to look at something in Cura.

For some stupid reason, Cura and my Ultimaker immediatly saw it as me wanting to print via USB and just completely stopped my current print. 12 hours and a nice amount of material down the drain.

I really hope other people won't experience that.

 

I am not sure how to do this on Windows but on OSX you can go into the application and move the USB Printing plugin out of the plugins directory. I will probably script things so that I can start Cura with it or without it but have not gotten around to it yet.

Open applications in Finder. Explore the Cura package, the drill into Contents, Resources, Plugins, Plugins.

BTW, this did get me a couple of times and if I am not mistaken you can write a bit of code to see if a resource like a USB port has been allocated to another process before you grab it yourself!

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BTW, this did get me a couple of times and if I am not mistaken you can write a bit of code to see if a resource like a USB port has been allocated to another process before you grab it yourself!

 

For some systems you can, but it still won't fix the issue if your printer is printing from SD.

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BTW, this did get me a couple of times and if I am not mistaken you can write a bit of code to see if a resource like a USB port has been allocated to another process before you grab it yourself!

 

For some systems you can, but it still won't fix the issue if your printer is printing from SD.

 

Yeh, I am not sure what I was thinking there. :-o It would be incumbent on the printer firmware to ignore the attempt to connect via USB during a print and I can see the issue there. Starting Cura with an option to enable the USB plugin will be fine for me. At the moment it is just disabled by deletion.

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