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aaronalai

Just ordered a ^2 and I have been playing with Cura for a great time now, pics and questions within:

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I want to saw I've been perusing the forums for the last few days and am very excited to start testing out my Ultimater 2. I have been learning the Cura and Meshmixer environments by downloading stls and exporting SolidWorks files likewise. I am very impressed by both environments. I also just put two and two together today and realized the SolidWorks Toolbox allows the generation of any standard fastener, of any size, thread type... through a customization wizard. Below is a 1/2-20 2.5 inches long fully threaded socket head cap screw:

F3AoJRa.png

So that was pretty cool, but then I started messing with Meshmixer and couldn't believe the stuff you could do. Most of my practice was manipulating nude_pantherv2-stl by fantasygraph which is why I only have this lame looking bear head on a nut to show you, but nonetheless the bear nut was still a great Cura learning experience.

bear nut in Meshmixer:

HUICYlB.png

This is what everything looked like inside the "box":

UmiM0iF.png

I was doing some layer tests in the software (which I'll get back to in a moment), when I noticed this:

Mo3QduL.png

My poor bear now has a slot in his head, to be honest I was just goofing around in Meshmixer and was testing surface smoothness stuff, and even then it looked a little glitchy. So I remembered my forum training and enabled extensive stitching in the Expert config menu and that seemed to fix the issue.

x6KC8hb.png

So back to my layer height tests; I noticed that when I entered in a layer thickness of around 20 microns and tried to view some pieces with the layer filter on, the piece would cease to render in the screen or render really really slowly but only at a specific height (I have 32Gb of RAM, I don't think it's a memory issue). The camera pans up and down as if the layers were sequentially being rendered, but the piece is not actually being rendered. Has anyone else run into this issue? Will the printer still print the full piece regardless? I'm assuming so because it spits out the Gcode alright. Also, is there a way to pan in Cura? It seems like such a simple question, I should have found the answer by now, so I hope the answer is no, but really I would like to pan the camera around. One more thing, if anyone wants a nut or bolt .stl file just send me a message and I'll go about generating one for you, I'll also post the .stl files. I would like to do tests of different thread sizes at different resolutions with different materials and document how well different combos work. I have access to an Instron machine at work, perhaps I could do this all official like with graphs and such, I can also simulate them in SW using the actual print material to test the print version vs the full solid version in the simulation.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:214891

 

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Welcome, and thanks for the post: I'll be interested to see how you get on when your printer arrives.

There's a rather nice (and quite new) manual for Cura, here:

https://www.ultimaker.com/spree/uploads/38/original/Cura_User-Manual_v1.0.pdf

That confirms that the shortcut for panning is shift-right-click. :-)

20 micron layer height is rather small - although maybe necessary for the sort of fine threads that you're playing with. In theory the printer can go that fine, but prints will take a very long time. For most things, 60 microns is about as fine as your usually need to go, and you can often get away with 100-200 micron layer heights, and still get nice results.

I've been playing with Meshmixer today too - I wrote a http://www.extrudable.me/2013/12/28/meshmixer-2-0-best-newcomer-in-a-supporting-role/ about its support-generation capabilities that you might find interesting.

 

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Thanks, it was some of your photos that convinced me to try out the Ultimaker 2, it's also where I first came across Meshmixer. I found a video about the supports and have been fiddling with the feature since, glad to hear I'm not the only one frustrated with the strange UI.

Those keyboard shortcuts always get me, the ones in Meshmixer were also a bit tricky.

Your blog post was really helpful! I am totally going to try and put Ultimaker 2 through its paces when it gets here, and now I have great place to start when it comes to the more intricate prints I have planned. Do you plan on printing out some of the items from your post, like the dragon. I have some horizontal type overhangs I have made support structures for in both Cura and Meshmixer, and am curious to see the differences in print quality and the ease of removal.

 

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O'Yeah, I was also going to mention that I use the Align feature in Meshmixer when trying to get things orientated correctly. Either LastPlane or AABox seem to do the trick with one of the axes, but this only makes them parallel to the build grid; it seems like I'm eyeballing how close to the surface of the grid the piece to print really is.

 

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when I entered in a layer thickness of around 20 microns and tried to view some pieces with the layer filter on, the piece would cease to render in the screen or render really really slowly but only at a specific height (I have 32Gb of RAM, I don't think it's a memory issue). The camera pans up and down as if the layers were sequentially being rendered, but the piece is not actually being rendered. Has anyone else run into this issue?

 

Yes I've seen that, however, for me it fixes itself when I scroll through the layers after the render is finished. IIRC daid said that the render of layers still uses slow code from an old version of the software so that might be part of it. Personally I wish he'd put in a true top down view and the ability to show one layer at a time.

 

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1) Solidworks is to meshmixer as a smart phone is to a pencil. There are a lot more features and solidworks is used by professionals. Meshmixer is for fun. My opinion only.

2) Keep in mind that the nozzle diameter of the UM and UM2 is .4mm. Or a radius of .2mm. So your x/y resolution is basically limited to 200 microns. Going below 50 microns in the z direction gets a little silly at some point. If there are any errors in Z accuracy parts may look *worse* at higher resolutions and layers might get more noticeable instead of less.

 

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Yes I've seen that, however, for me it fixes itself when I scroll through the layers after the render is finished. IIRC daid said that the render of layers still uses slow code from an old version of the software so that might be part of it. Personally I wish he'd put in a true top down view and the ability to show one layer at a time.

 

Thanks for the reply, I really like how active the whole Ultimaker community is. I hear there are frequent software updates, so I'll see how this problem progresses over time.

 

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1) Solidworks is to meshmixer as a smart phone is to a pencil. There are a lot more features and solidworks is used by professionals. Meshmixer is for fun. My opinion only.

2) Keep in mind that the nozzle diameter of the UM and UM2 is .4mm. Or a radius of .2mm. So your x/y resolution is basically limited to 200 microns. Going below 50 microns in the z direction gets a little silly at some point. If there are any errors in Z accuracy parts may look *worse* at higher resolutions and layers might get more noticeable instead of less.

 

1. Couldn't agree more, I could model every item in a room to the letter except for the person standing in it. To my knowledge there is no real free-form function in SW. I was modifying Nude-Panther which has some seemingly complex geometry form a SW standpoint. Do you know if SW can do support structures? This is why I got involved in Meshmixer in the first place, I don't intend on making sculptures or figurines with my ^2, I'll probably just use SW for everything and it would be interesting to see if I could skip a few rendering steps. I do though have an artist friend who is already perusing the forums and is very keen on using my printer for the manufacturing of organic shapes, I'll link to stuff he makes.

2. Yeah, through my internet travels I have figured out that the 20 micron thing is pretty extreme on all accounts especially when it comes to functional items vs form items, no need to make it look nice if it's going to work either way. Although, I am interested in using this feature for experimental type stuff on a small scale. I can't help it, I simply want to max the thing out and understand all the settings to satisfy my curiosity.

 

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2. Yeah, through my internet travels I have figured out that the 20 micron thing is pretty extreme on all accounts especially when it comes to functional items vs form items, no need to make it look nice if it's going to work either way. Although, I am interested in using this feature for experimental type stuff on a small scale. I can't help it, I simply want to max the thing out and understand all the settings to simply satisfy my curiosity.

 

Nothing wrong with that at all, although I strongly recommend starting somewhere in the middle ground - 0.1mm layers, 50mm/s, medium to large size objects. That way you can get a feel for how it all works, and hone in on a performance sweet-spot. Then you can start tweaking things and gradually push the envelope and explore. If you start too far towards (or outside) the performance envelope, then you may never find a stable set of settings that work for you.

All of the high quality prints I've done lately have been at 0.1mm layer height, and I can't really find a good reason to go lower for most things... the layer alignment is so good that the layers are barely noticeable at that height, and going any lower would just drive the print times ever-upwards.

BTW, for manipulating organic meshes, 3D scans, etc, you really can't beat Z-Brush. It's not a cheap program, but considering just how capable it is, it's totally worth the money in my opinion. I realize it's for a totally different function and audience compared to high-end CAD tools, but for a similar level of professional power and functionality, it's much cheaper than high end CAD tools.

For CAD applications, and converting scans back to engineered parts, I love SpaceClaim. The free version, 'RS DesignSpark Mechanical' isn't bad either.

 

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Nothing wrong with that at all, although I strongly recommend starting somewhere in the middle ground - 0.1mm layers, 50mm/s, medium to large size objects. That way you can get a feel for how it all works, and hone in on a performance sweet-spot. Then you can start tweaking things and gradually push the envelope and explore. If you start too far towards (or outside) the performance envelope, then you may never find a stable set of settings that work for you.

All of the high quality prints I've done lately have been at 0.1mm layer height, and I can't really find a good reason to go lower for most things... the layer alignment is so good that the layers are barely noticeable at that height, and going any lower would just drive the print times ever-upwards.

BTW, for manipulating organic meshes, 3D scans, etc, you really can't beat Z-Brush. It's not a cheap program, but considering just how capable it is, it's totally worth the money in my opinion. I realize it's for a totally different function and audience compared to high-end CAD tools, but for a similar level of professional power and functionality, it's much cheaper than high end CAD tools.

For CAD applications, and converting scans back to engineered parts, I love SpaceClaim. The free version, 'RS DesignSpark Mechanical' isn't bad either.

 

Thanks for the suggestions! I have some really basic test prints I've found and these sound like perfect settings to start out with. SpaceClaim looks like something I could definitely use for work too. I mentioned to my artist friend I was getting a 3D printer and he started talking about Z-Brush as well, and gave it an equivalently positive review. It looks pretty interesting, perhaps after the manufacturing of parts I'll try some artistic prints.

 

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