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OS Causing Significant Print Quality Difference?

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Hello Everyone!

I am fairly new to the 3d printing scene at home and what I consider to be "user grade" 3d printers such as the Printrbot and other low cost printers. I purchased a Printrbot roughly one year ago and started attempting to print utilizing Cura, with a few decent prints (two to be exact) coming out of the machine. I finally decided that my print issue was with a warped print bed and proceeded to store the machine in a cupboard and give up.

Turn the time dial forward to this week and I have upgraded the print bed on the Bot and gave it another go. My primary printing system is a laptop running windows 7 and originally Cura 15.04. I began attempting to print calibration cubes and returned to the same issues seen before, all layers look OKAY at best and the top of the print is transparent/bubbled. I decided to upgrade Cura version to 2.3/2.4 and began running into issues printing via USB which prompted me to borrow my work Mac computer, install Cura and try a print. Lo and behold.. I have the best quality print of the bots life.

This then prompted me to investigate potential causes between the machines (bad com ports, bad USB driver on the windows laptop, etc...). Testing numerous laptops with Linux Mint, Debian Jessie, a second windows 7 machine and a windows 10 machine all showed something that strikes me as odd.. The Windows machines cannot print with the same quality and settings nor are they as easy to connect the printer. This has brought me to the point of questioning the true meaning of life, why the sky is blue and why windows simply sucks at 3d printing. Mind you the original 15.06 Cura connected to the bot fine and allowed me to tune my Z height for the auto level probe.

I'm curious if anyone else may have ran into this type of issue before, I am unable to find anything using the trust Google for similar noted issues, is there a disclaimer out in the wild that I missed saying "Hey, you should really use a *nix variant to 3d print with."?

Now I sit after 10 hours of successful prints more confused and angry that I had wasted so much time trying to get the printer working to match what I had seen others report, perplexed as to how this was my issue the whole time spanning across numerous slicing software versions.

I am genuinely curious how an OS could make such a difference, even when swapping to older *nix versions of cura, the print quality remains incredible.

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The OS should make no difference. I've done a thousand prints with Cura and never tried a mac but the quality is excellent. I think it's a coincidence so far. Please provide some photos. Cura 15.X remembers settings from previous prints so you could take the gcode file from a mac, and (if it's cura 15.x) do "file" "load profile from gcode..." to get the exact same settings copied into the pc.

A photo of your print and settings might help us diagnose the issue also.

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When you have a print sliced with fine details, the host need to send a lot of GCode to the pinter. If your USB connection sucks (for whatever reason) and the host can't send GCode fast enough then the print quality will suffer as the printer will have to wait for the next GCode (you won't really see the printer stopping but the quality will be bad).

So if your Windows is too busy doing other things, or if the driver is cursed, you will get bad prints.

I had that in the past with Octoprint running on a Raspberry Pi Model B (first generation). It worked fine for most prints, but the hardware could not keep up with the load for detailed prints.

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I had that in the past with Octoprint running on a Raspberry Pi Model B (first generation). It worked fine for most prints, but the hardware could not keep up with the load for detailed prints.

Yes, I have found the same. Octoprint on a Pi 2 definitely reduces print quality because it can't ship the gcodes out fast enough (that was to a Kossel Mini using Marlin). Printing the same gcode direct from S3D on a Linux laptop gave noticeably better results.

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On USB printing, your OS (drivers) and hardware can make a huge difference. On both quality and stability. I have a laptop that simply cannot USB print for more then 10 minutes, no matter what I tried. (FYI, I'm the software engineer that made the classic Cura. If I cannot get it to work...)

This is a core reason why we pretty much stopped supporting USB printing with the Ultimaker 2. SD card printing proved to be a whole lot more reliable and stable.

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Again, a photo would help. If you are printing a cube then the USB should be able to keep up. But if you are printing something with lots of polygons in the STL (say a million or 10 million or more) then you could just reduce the polygons which I do all the time and it improves the quality as who needs 100 points per millimeter in their model!

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