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Software Questions for UM newb

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I am waiting for my machine to ship. Thinking about how I am going to run the softwares, installing some of the software before it arrives, and thinking about which of my 2 PC's I want to run from. I bought the Netfabb Engine for UM with my machine.

One of my PC's is fairly new with a fast processor, 8gb of ram and a openGL graphics card as well as win7 64bit and SW software installed. This machine is a basically a cad workstation. Due to the machines location, I don't want to do my printing in that room. If I could, I would just install everything on that machine.

My second machine is an older win XP 32bit laptop. It is a has an AMD 2.1Ghz processor and 1Gb of memory. I think this machine should work to print from although it probably is not very able to to do the pre-print processing.

I will use SW, and ACAD (both on my workstation) and other open source software to do my modeling, Netfabb for prepping and slicing the models, RepG or Netfabb to send the prints, and I suppose Marlin for firmware.

Does appear I have a correct understanding of how the programs work together?

Should my older laptop be able to at least send the prints?

Which softwares should install on which machine?

Is there a licensing issue with Netfabb if I wish to install it on both machines?

Thanks for your help

Matt

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#1) Looks like your understanding is about right.

#2) I send the prints from my EEE Pc Asus netbook. Thats the first netbooks to hit the markets however long ago that was if that tells you anything. Sending the prints doesn't take much at all. I've used both RepG and Pronterface on the netbook without issues. After using it I have to say I really prefer Pronterface.

#3 and 4) Netfabb is only able to be put on one machine at a time, heck I put my voucher to use on an invalid serial number let alone one that had already been used and I had to wait for a reset to get past the demo version.I personally have Netfabb installed on my 64 bit machine. Though it doesn't seem particularly intensive I haven't used it extensively enough yet to conclude it doesn't need a better computer to run efficiently.

I just sliced this to check while writing this reply:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12288

I sliced it on netfabb high quality with 2.2mm spacing on the infill.

On an I7 1.6ghz laptop CPU with 6 gigs of ram netfabb stayed at a constant 13% cpu usage and the ram didn't go higher than 165,000k according to my task manager. Didn't check the graphics card usage but I'm running an ATI 5870 mobility with 1gig of ram in this particular machine.

Hope that helps in your decisions!

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Yep, I 2nd that the host PC, the bit that talks to the machine, doesn't need lots of power.. I've got a little stand-alone controller thing that reads from an SD card and sends gcode to the machine over USB. It's 72mhz with 16mb of RAM and it works just fine (except that I need to finish it!) though it's not running a whole OS..

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Can the UM be set up as a network printer? If it can, the host could be almost any PC with a USB port. That way, all the programs can be installed on my work station PC. If possible, I would build or buy a cheap used pc and dedicate it to this purpose. Just thinking...

Seems like Netfabb Engine should be installed on the better pc, but if I want to print using NF, at that point it would be on the wrong machine...

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Can the UM be set up as a network printer? If it can, the host could be almost any PC with a USB port. That way, all the programs can be installed on my work station PC. If possible, I would build or buy a cheap used pc and dedicate it to this purpose. Just thinking...

Seems like Netfabb Engine should be installed on the better pc, but if I want to print using NF, at that point it would be on the wrong machine...

No, it cannot unfortunately. The UM is a machine that runs on a COM-port, and doesnt have any "printer" capabilities of some kind. It just accepts G-code and SD-cards (with a frontpanel upgrade) and "deposits" material. It doesnt "print" like a normal printer would in 2d. (i assume you are talking about using it like normal printer).

However, the software can be adjusted to be a network printer. Onliest difference will be that instead of dragging an USB device around, you can simply send G-code with the software. Will put this one on the to-do list when I am tinkering with the repG software.

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Mr Seeker,

Just to clarify, although the UM can't currently print through windows with the ease of traditional printers, I could use the network to send, or if I understand "copy" the gcode file to the printer with file explorer.

If this is true, in light of my above questions, there is no reason to install any software on my lesser PC. I could just transfer the files. I have read that some people use SDcards, Will a USB thumb drive do the same? I will need to do some more reading before I ask any more questions that I am sure have already been written about.

Thanks.

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Just to clarify, although the UM can't currently print through windows with the ease of traditional printers, I could use the network to send, or if I understand "copy" the gcode file to the printer with file explorer.

Nope.. For that, you'd either need network hardware on the printer or you'd need it to support usb client so that it could act like a usb drive. Most add-ons that supply an SD card require you to physically move to your PC, copy the files on then move it back. I think I've got the only one that doesn't require that but it's a whole little computer (

http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/269

) instead of additional bits on the existing one in the printer..

 

If this is true, in light of my above questions, there is no reason to install any software on my lesser PC..

With a stock Ultimaker, you still need the host program - the stuff that opens up the usb/com port and talks to the printer..

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I think I've got the only one that doesn't require that but it's a whole little computer (

http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/269

) instead of additional bits on the existing one in the printer..

You're not the only one ;)

http://beagleboard.org/bone

this one is slightly cheaper. But I'm interested in your software setup on the board, as mine is very basic right now.

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I could use the network to send, or if I understand "copy" the gcode file to the printer with file explorer.

The ultimaker only has an USB connection and extension pins. At the moment it will only work with a computer running replicatorG (repG) or with the Ultiboard (only SD) will it print objects.

 

I have read that some people use SDcards, Will a USB thumb drive do the same? I will need to do some more reading before I ask any more questions that I am sure have already been written about.

USB thumb drives wont work. The SDcard only works when you attach an upgrade like the Ultiboard.

(i am noting the ultiboard because i know that the firmware works properly with it.)

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