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Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto


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Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

Hi folks,

 

I'm new to Cura, but after finally upgrading my OS (I use Ubuntu Linux) I found that Makerware is no longer offered for Linux, which means suddenly I couldn't drive the 3 Replicator 2's that I have. This gave me the push I needed to get into Cura as I'd heard such great things about it.

 

The only problem is, is that it seems not many who use Cura have Replicator 2's, and the built in profile is for a Replicator 1 and needs some tweaking. Furthermore, the X3GWriter seems to want to detect it only as a Replicator 1, which has different numbers of steps per mm so all printed items were turning out a little bigger than they should have been.

 

I've written a blog about it step by step for those in the same boat as me here:
http://jessestevens.com.au/2019/10/20/configuring-cura-4-3-for-makerbot-replicator-2/

 

But to also make sure in case my blog disappears etc to help others I'll put the steps here:

 

First up, I’m using it in Ubuntu Linux (18.04) so locations of files might need to be changed for your config files as needed. This is for Cura v4.3.

 

Step 1: Set up your printer

I chose Makerbot Replicator from the printers page, and made a couple of changes to the settings:

 

xwidth: 225mm

ydepth: 145mm

xheight: 150mm

build plate shape: rectangular

origin at centre: yes

heated bed: no

heated build volume: no

gcode flavour: makerbot

 

I also renamed the machine name to “Replicator 2” just so I would remember.

 

Step 2: Start and end GCode

You’ll need some custom Gcode so here it is (picked from various places and organised after some testing).

Start Gcode:

 

; — start of START GCODE –
M73 P0 (enable build progress)
;this next line won’t work, but has the steps command
M92 X88.8 Y88.8 Z400 E101 ; sets steps per mm for Rep2
G90 (set positioning to absolute)
(**** begin homing ****)
G162 X Y F4000 (home XY axes maximum)
G161 Z F3500 (home Z axis minimum)
G92 Z-5 (set Z to -5)
G1 Z0.0 (move Z to “0”)
G161 Z F100 (home Z axis minimum)
M132 X Y Z A B (Recall stored home offsets for XYZAB axis)
(**** end homing ****)
G92 X147 Y66 Z5
G1 X105 Y-60 Z10 F4000.0 (move to waiting position)
G130 X0 Y0 A0 B0 (Set Stepper motor Vref to lower value while heating)
G130 X127 Y127 A127 B127 (Set Stepper motor Vref to defaults)
G0 X105 Y-60 (Position Nozzle)
G0 Z0.6 (Position Height)
; — end of START GCODE –

 

End GCode:

; — start of END GCODE –
G92 Z0
G1 Z10 F400
M18
M104 S0 T0
M73 P100 (end build progress)
G162 X Y F3000
M18
; — end of END GCODE –

 

This of course all assumes you don’t have a heated bed (also makes sure it doesn’t send heated bed commands which make the machine complain).

 

Step 3: Install X3G file converter

Go to the “Marketplace” button at the top right of your Cura window and in the marketplace search for “X3GWriter” and install it. Restart Cura so that it comes live.

 

Step 4: Modify X3GWriter so that it always detects “Replicator 2”

There seems to be a problem with X3GWriter in that with the above setup it always detects the machine to be a replicator 1, which is a problem as they have different amounts of steps per mm. You’ll know this because if you have a Replicator 2 and you try to print an object, it’ll keep printing larger than it should be. I’m sure there’s another way to make it detect “Replicator 2” but in the mean time I just changed it to always be Replicator 2 as that is all I have.

Locate your plugins folder – for me it’s in /home/username/.local/share/cura/4.3/plugins (where username is your username).

Go into the X3GWriter folder (and again into it, it’s nested twice – the path for me is: /home/username/.local/share/cura/4.3/plugins/X3GWriter/X3GWriter/)

Open “X3GWriter.py” with your favourite text editor. Be careful in here, it’s a python script so you want to use spaces, not tabs to indent, and indents matter. If you destroy it you may have to just remove the plugin and install it again.

We’re looking for the line like this:
return machine if machine in X3GWriter.known_machines else None

Note again that it’s indented with spaces in front. Put a # in front of this line to comment it out so it doesn’t get read like this:
#return machine if machine in X3GWriter.known_machines else None

Now go to the next line, press space until you’re lined up with the line above and put in:
return “r2”

Save the file and close Cura, then restart it. If all is well, you’ll find you can now export files that will print properly and be read by your Replicator 2.

If you find the X3G file option has disappeared from your list, then the plugin is broken. Check your syntax in the plugin file and try again.

 

Is this a little hacky? Yes, and I realise it may not be for everyone, especially if you're working with multiple printers, but until I can find a way to pass along to X3GWriter to filter the output through a Replicator 2 profile, this has been the only way I've been able to make it all work.

 

Funnily, using Cura has massively improved the reliability and quality of the printers and improved my faith in them again. It seems Makerware wasn't doing as good a job as I thought it was, and was leaving these older Gen4 printers behind a little with their slicing algorithms.

 

I hope this has been useful for people like me that were pulling their hair out trying to make it happen - don't throw that printer away!

 

Jesse

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Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

Thanks to your write up, I was able to get x3g files written!   I'm on Windows 10 and used Notepad to edit the py file.  Note, I had to make sure that when I commented out the "return machine if machine..." line the '#' symbol was lined up with other lines that were being commented out, and got the text of the line lined up with other such lines.

 

You helped a ton, kind human.

 

 

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Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

Sorry DarthJenius, I should have said look for the plugin because yes it appears there's no search function in there. No problem - I like to help where I can. Especially when it comes to being able to use equipment that has been orphaned by the company that made it.

 

I've gotten a response from the developer of the plugin with some further info on how to force the plugin to use the Replicator 2 profile so will write another post when I've got a chance to do that so that people don't have to hack up the plugin to make it work.

 

In the mean time I'm happy to have been able to help

 

Happy printing!

Jesse

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    • 5 weeks later...
    Posted (edited) · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    oh man, if i would have had this months ago it would have saved me a lot of time. anyway, i am using similar settings and got Cura to work and love it other than the larger than actual print size. used your fix and now my prints are the exact size they should be which i have been trying to fix for months, thanks for sharing!

     

    took some searching but the X3gwriter.py file is located at:

     

    C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\cura\4.4\plugins\X3GWriter\X3GWriter

     

    for me on windows 10. ended up having to search through the whole comp to find it. hope this helps someone else save some time.

     

     

    Edited by pmullins
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    • 4 weeks later...
    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    Hi Jessecake,

     

    Thanks for the detailed writeup.

    I'm reviving an 'old' replicator2.

    The files that were on the SD-card still print nice enough, but I can't seem to find a method to make it print new files...

     

    I love cura, and I found the plugin. I tried uploading with and without adaptations on gcode(begin, end) and the ones in the .py file.

     

    The replicator recognizes the x3g-file, but when I try to pint the file, it just ignores it.

    Anyone any ideas?

     

    tnx

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    • 4 months later...
    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    Hi i wan to contect a replicartor 2 based 3d printer and the g code works well but my printer has hbp and it doesnt heat the bed. I have checked the box of heated build plate but when the print starts the temperature of the hbp begins to decrese. Any Advice?

     

    Thank you Great tutorial

    Printer.jpg

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    Hey folks,

     

    Apologies, I'd completely forgotten to keep checking in here and missed your replies. Thanks for the kind words, but no need - we should all be sharing our fixes and assisting in improving software where we can.

     

    I should say that this was quite a hacky fix, and there's a better way recommended by the author of the X3GWriter plugin rather than ruining the plugin itself.

     

    So what I didn't understand was that Cura can pass metadata from printer definitions to assist with conversions like this. Because the definition that I started with (Replicator 1) had metadata of indicating it was a replicator 1, the X3Gwriter plugin would of course convert it using that profile.

     

    So, with that said, I'm working on a temporary fix by editing the cura printer definition file, so that the X3Gwriter plugin doesn't get trashed by us. This also means we can update cura and x3gwriter without these things being undone.

     

    What we need to put in is:

    machine_x3g_variant = r2

     

    into the machine definition file in your cura settings under the metadata heading. This isn't through the GUI, it's by hand in the filesystem. (I used nano, but you could use any text editor)

     

    My machine runs linux, so the cura settings hide in: /home/username/.local/share/cura/4.6/machine_instances

     

    I'm going to try it out and let you know how I go with some testing. It's a much neater thing to do.

     

    Of course this still isn't ideal, so I've submitted a feature request and a possible fix to the Cura github to add a profile for the Replicator 2 to Cura so that we can just choose this in future and bypass doing any manual editing.

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto
    On 5/19/2020 at 5:13 AM, ricardolt said:

    Hi i wan to contect a replicartor 2 based 3d printer and the g code works well but my printer has hbp and it doesnt heat the bed. I have checked the box of heated build plate but when the print starts the temperature of the hbp begins to decrese. Any Advice?

     

    Thank you Great tutorial

    Printer.jpg

    Hi there,

     

    Yes in my start gcode there I think there's a line explicitly disabling the heated bed as my non heated bed printers just complain and stop if any commands are given relating to the heated bed.  I'll have to have a closer look, but I'm pretty sure that's where it was being disabled. Sorry, I don't have a heated bed R2 to test with though

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto
    On 12/23/2019 at 5:22 AM, endless said:

    Hi Jessecake,

     

    Thanks for the detailed writeup.

    I'm reviving an 'old' replicator2.

    The files that were on the SD-card still print nice enough, but I can't seem to find a method to make it print new files...

     

    I love cura, and I found the plugin. I tried uploading with and without adaptations on gcode(begin, end) and the ones in the .py file.

     

    The replicator recognizes the x3g-file, but when I try to pint the file, it just ignores it.

    Anyone any ideas?

     

    tnx

    Hmmm this could be that updates have happened since I wrote this stuff. Check out my latest work in a reply above to make it neater to operate these printers in cura

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    Posted (edited) · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    Thanks! This also works for MakerBot Replicator 2X, but you have to select the Heated Bed option. I also skipped Step 4.

    Edited by Catoo
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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    So I'm having what appears to be a different problem. The plugin works fine with the latest fixes and I can export the .x3g files no problem. However, when I put the SD card into my Replicator 2, it doesn't seem to see the files at all.

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    I have found this to happen when my file name is too long or contains invalid characters.

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto
    On 8/27/2020 at 5:13 PM, joeborrello said:

    So I'm having what appears to be a different problem. The plugin works fine with the latest fixes and I can export the .x3g files no problem. However, when I put the SD card into my Replicator 2, it doesn't seem to see the files at all.

    Well, now I can see the files, but I can't run them and they show up with the .x3g extension in their filename in the Makerbot menu

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto

    Hey guys!
    Same issue here... replicator 2 and followed all steps in your manual.  .x3g gets written to SD card, is visible in printer menu but does not start printing (and no error message either).

     

    Did anyone manage to get CURA working?

     

    I tried v4.62 and recent v4.7, both on MAC.

     

    Thanks,

    André

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    Posted · Makerbot Replicator 2 and X3GWriter plugin howto
    On 8/27/2020 at 5:13 PM, joeborrello said:

    So I'm having what appears to be a different problem. The plugin works fine with the latest fixes and I can export the .x3g files no problem. However, when I put the SD card into my Replicator 2, it doesn't seem to see the files at all.

    I had the same problem I could see the file in windows 10 but when I was putting the card in the printer, the printer couldn t see the file. I rename the file with a smaller name and then the printer saw the file. The file name was too long for the printer to process it. Hope it help You.

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