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Printing on multiple machines using CURA


Max-_Eley
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Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

Hello,

 

I would like to plug multiple printers in the pc and use cura to directly control them, using one or more open applications of cura.

 

I have seen posts asking about this, and i have seen some solutions, non of which properly work for my application, even rolling back to 4.0 and using the COM port selector does not work reliably, EG: once you connect them you cant really connect them again, its like a 15% chance it works, this is the multiple application way.

 

My question, is there an actual way to print with multiple printers over USB in cura, or is it still not a thing..., 

Please do not tell me that this is an "unstable way" or something along those lines, i know the risks, if you disable all the stuff that messes with shit in bios and leave the pc on you will never have an issue.

 

 

Best regards,

 

Max

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    This is an unstable way...   Ha - just messing with you.

     

    I recommend getting some raspberry pi's (version 3) and putting octoprint on them.  They only cost $37 each.  How many printers are we talking about?  10?  4?  Each raspberry pi will connect to one printer and will be on your network.  You can connect to each of them through a web browser (including your phone or an ipad or whatever).  You can upload jobs to them (gcode files) through the wonderful octoprint web page or you can use the cura octoprint plugin.

     

    Another way to do this is if you have Ultimaker printers: S3, S5, UM2+Connect.  These all have network capability and cura lets you print right to them.  Prusa printers also have some kind of factory software I think for controlling multiple at a time.  I think they use the same software in their factory as they have hundreds of Prusas making Prusa parts.

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA
    1 minute ago, gr5 said:

    This is an unstable way...   Ha - just messing with you.

     

    I recommend getting some raspberry pi's (version 3) and putting octoprint on them.  They only cost $37 each.  How many printers are we talking about?  10?  4?  Each raspberry pi will connect to one printer and will be on your network.  You can connect to each of them through a web browser (including your phone or an ipad or whatever).  You can upload jobs to them (gcode files) through the wonderful octoprint web page or you can use the cura octoprint plugin.

     

    Another way to do this is if you have Ultimaker printers: S3, S5, UM2+Connect.  These all have network capability and cura lets you print right to them.  Prusa printers also have some kind of factory software I think for controlling multiple at a time.  I think they use the same software in their factory as they have hundreds of Prusas making Prusa parts.

    : D, 

     

    I should of mentioned, its 10 printers, all of them being creality, big plans for expansion too, no networking, no need as ill be in the same building 99% of the time, i have octoprint, i just dont like it, cura is simply the best in my opinion.

     

    I would like to use USB on cure if possible,

     

    Best regards,

     

    Max

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA
    12 hours ago, Max-_Eley said:

    I would like to use USB on cure if possible,

    Don't expect that to happen, sorry.

    Pretty much all Ultimakers run on SD cards (and all models after the UM3 have a built in network connection) we don't spend time on the USB connection. Pretty much all changes to the USB connection handling in the past few years have been made by community contributions. Even if it would get regular updates, printing over USB to multiple printers at the same time is hard. Supporting 10 printers at the same time is even harder. The architecture of Cura isn't realy set up for that. Even if it would; i would still strongy recomend you to not do this. There are too many things that can fail (you are essentially creating a single point of failure for all your prints!)

    So your best bet is to start loving services like Octoprint.

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    You could try pronterface/printrun.  It's free.  I'm pretty sure it's better than Cura's printing-through-usb interface (although I haven't tried that on Cura in a few years).  You can probably launch an instance of pronterface per com port:

     

    http://koti.kapsi.fi/~kliment/printrun/

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    I'll stick my nose in here for a minute...

    I play around writing software and I've written a little Windows App for controlling my Ender over the USB.  As I scribbled the code I did give some thought to running multiple printers simultaneously.

     

    The app doesn't print via the USB, but rather from the SD card.  The file selection from the SD card, print start, pausing, and print tuning, as well as adjusting printer settings and leveling, is all from the Windows application.  It's just sending specific GCode commands and/or scripts over the USB (and getting the responses from the printer which Cura does not do).  My object was to avoid having to use the LCD button for anything, and in that I succeeded.  Everything that might be displayed on the LCD as well as all the LCD menu items, can be queried and the printer responses are displayed in a textbox in the application.

     

    The application can have multiple instances running and each could control a different printer over a different port.  In the case of two printers, it's likely OK.  In the case of 10 printers, with each instance of the app looking exactly like every other instance, it would rapidly get confusing - even if you had 10 USB ports available for the printers.

     

    On the other hand, simply opening and closing a port does not cause an external reset of the printer (connecting a USB does cause an external reset and that reset is hardwired into the mainboard) so it may be possible to control all the printers from a single instance of the app.  You would open the correct port for a particular printer, then select the file from the SD card and print the file.  You could then select the next printer, the previous port would close, the new one would open, and you start a print on a different printer.  If all of this was actually difficult, a hack of an amateur coder couldn't have done it.  I'm sure you can find someone to write an application for you.  It's possible that the physical length of the USB cables and the number of available USB ports would be your limiting factors.

     

    Or you can get used to Octoprint which I believe does the same thing and has the added bonus that it already exists.  You're going to have to make an investment in this.  The investment will likely include software, hardware, and support.

     

    When you get all that up and running, we can discuss a pick-and-place system to remove a build plate that has a finished print, and replace it with an empty build plate, and then restart printing.  A seventh axis robot could slide back and forth and service multiple printers.  Add an indexing conveyor to move the finished plates/parts to a removal station and you're in serious business.

     

     

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    @GregValiant - that's great.  Have you made your code open source and put it on github by any chance?

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    If I do that how can I make a buck?  Being retired means no more pay checks ya know. Besides, dumping it onto GitHub is another learning curve, the program is Windows only (VB.Net is what I know) so no direct porting to Mac or Linux, and I don't have to support it.  If you'll recall gr5, we had this talk last spring.  It's the same piece of software although it has grown a little bit.  The latest addition is automating the combining of multiple gcode files into a single file.  Think solid base with a spiralized upper portion.

    Up next is calling a file from within a first file and jumping to a specific location within the second file.  It's possible I'll be the only person on the planet using M32 (because it's really pretty useless).

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    Posted · Printing on multiple machines using CURA

    Well if you keep it to yourself you won't make any money either.  If you publish it, other programmers might use it and submit "pull requests" which are code changes you can accept or not.  Not likely but quite possible.  github is usually more about making the world a better place versus making money.

     

    Regarding learning github - well it's not so bad.  And you get free backups and version control so you can trivially see every change you ever made - it shows you easily what line(s) of code you changed.  If your house burns down, the code is still backed up.

     

    It also shows your ugly code to the world which can be embarrassing.  🙂

     

    And it's free.

     

    Personally I love git and I love github.  So easy.  Whether you are writing an novel, creating a cad model, or writing software, it's great to have a nice versioning system with backups and it just takes a click or two to update.

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