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Posted (edited) · New Here

New here to this "forum" and think it's set up kinda weird. Couldn't use my name or anything close to it. Was told You are not allowed to use that something something or another. Don't like that I'm required to add a tag to the post. What if what I'm posting isn't specifically a request, about a bug or a to report a solution to a problem? That aside I suppose there is a request(s) to be made but I'll ask those later.

 

My name is Brian I started 3d printing around 2011 when I was a member in a MakerSpace. I think the printer there was a MakerBot and we had the Replicator as well though it's fidelity left a lot to be desired. That was a time when the choice of filament was basically PLA or PLA and owning my own printer was out of the question. I became very passionate about the machine and enjoyed and was quickly proficient at tuning the printer. I was basically the best in the place at leveling the bed (kinda a thing to be proud of) in a time before automatic bed leveling.

 

Fast forward to a 2021 and I purchased my own Ender 3. Have since upgraded the (important things) including an aftermarket board (BTT MiniE3), a titanium or stainless heat break, in a few days  single gear all metal extruder parts to be modded for PTFE tube both sides. That's my current set up that has been working pretty well only a couple little parts of incorrect code running on the marlin that was pre installed that I haven't fixed yet but that don't impact function severely. 

 

Have used most of the common slicers and while in my opinion all have prioritized things that I think shouldn't have been and seem to all have a little too much redundancy I have mostly used Cura. Where I'm at right now is I'm at least somewhat proficient in my understanding of advanced functions there are strangely little things that I should but don't understand or what I'm seeing are bugs and I don't realize it. 

 

That's pretty much what's brought me here. To be able to ask questions and share experiences and ideas. I'm very good with hardware, decent with understanding prepared slicer software, but have a very limited understanding of the coding that instructs the printer and software. That is what I need assistance with the most.

 

I'll find where the most appropriate place to post various questions and do that soon if I can't find information already commonly available that'll help.

 

Thank You in advance

 

Brian H.

 

Edited by displaynamenotallowed
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    Hey Brian,

     

    Welcome to the Ultimaker Community 🎉

    So nice to meet you! 

    I moved your post from the Cura channel to the Coffee Corner channel, I hope you don't mind.

    I'm Mariska. I'm one of the moderators on this forum. I mainly work with the Cura team but as a former tester for Ultimaker I do have a lot of experience with questions about Ultimaker printers aswell. 

     

    My favorite print this week is this one to test the new Tree Support Alpha version of Cura.

    image.thumb.jpeg.f202b53d2b5e4e589fda726695bf0f7b.jpeg

     

    What's your recent favorite print?

    Hope to see you around 👋

     

    P.S. If you shoot me a personal message I can see what I can do to help change your name to one that is allowed. 

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    Hello Mariska the fact that you moved my post is fine. Wherever it makes most sense as long as it'll be seen by people. I'm aware of tree supports. I don't have a need for tree supports in my current prints but maybe in the future will use those. I was considered using the used supports instead of throwing them away use them to make other stuff. Or a bunch of maybe miniature figurines that are the supports. Anyway I'm unable to use Cura above version 4.8 I think as the graphics card requirements and/or software requirements are beyond my computer. I'm using Cura 3.6 currently and specifically because it for some reason is the only version that produces tool path that are complementary to the work I'm doing which is Model airplanes that are designed for single wall, minimum retractions and PLA Foam. An issue I'm having is when I save to file a model that's been sliced no Print Setup/Profile/settings are being saved. It seems that they have been sometimes and not others. I've seen a tutorial on this and was told to use an option project.mf file save type. However this isn't an option in my slicer. I'll post this on the main forum area because I recognize that this may be something you aren't knowledgeable about but thanks. As for my favorite recent print/project would probably be a Guitar Pick I made for a friend I went to Highschool with and hadn't seen in maybe 10 years when we reconnected about a week ago. 

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    4.8 suports it - do "file" "save project as..." or something similar.   Key word "project".  That will include your machine settings, profile, settings overrides, STL(s), positioning, scaling, etc of stl.  There is also possibly a different way to save your STL but don't let that confuse you.  I use project files to save all my settings so I can either review them or more likely if I am printing something similar I pick an older project that worked well and use that project file as a starting basis.

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    Are you using a mac?  If not then maybe you just need to update your video drivers and then cura 6.X may start to work for you.  It's possible to have cura 4.8 and cura 6.1 installed at the same time.

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    I'm using a Mac it's an older 2012 MacBook Pro. I don't think any version later than 4.8 will work I could try updating one thing or another but the primary reason I'm using 3.6 is the tool path generated by that version in particular. I've tried 4.0-4.7 and the tool path deviates from that desired. Basically the model is designed as a solid with a surface that is theoretically a effective vase mode or should print in a vase mode style tool path. 3.6 will generate a continuous path but subsequent versions interpret model differently I'm guessing for some reason and generate a tool path that is discontinuous in each layer. I wonder if my installation wasn't corrupted by a recent add on and has saving anomalies related to that. I have had add ons cause performance issues including crashing in the past. Perhaps a fresh install without add ons?

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    Occasionally a newer version of the Mac is incompatible with older software.  cura 4.8 is the newest that works with mac os 10.12 and older.  At the bottom of this page is an explanation.  Cura uses qt creator to make the same software run on windows/linux/mac and certain libraries all of which can have compatibility issues.  Unfortunately.  But it seems worse for the mac.

    https://support.makerbot.com/s/article/1667337917781

     

    Regarding vase mode - the feature I think you are talking about is spiralize outer contour.  Did you enable that feature in 3.6 and 4.8?  Maybe you have it enabled in 3.6 but forgot and didn't know to enable it in 4.8?

     

    If you want to explain in more detail I guess you should post a screen shot in PREVIEW mode that shows an issue with one of the layers.  That shows what you are talking about in 4.8 and in 3.6.

     

    Is the "continuous" issue when it changes layers?  Sometimes cura jumps backwards when it goes up to the next layer which was very annoying.  I know that bug was adressed eventually.

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    Ok the spiralize outer contour is perhaps a factor I overlooked. I'm going to confirm and compare and get back on that. If that's the issue that'd be nice because layer view is very slow to render on 3.6. 4.0 up layer view doesn't slow anything as much. Now a matter of figuring out saving print settings with models/sliced file. I'm going to reinstall 3.6 and see if the add on for linear Advance corrupted it as well as also look at 4.8/version 4.0 or above. If spiralize outer contour disabled is in fact the reason why I didn't have positive results before thus being able to use those versions is there a good any reason why I may want to use say 4.5 instead of 4.8 or should I use 4.8 because it's the most complete feature rich version available that my computer can run?

     

    Thanks very much if Spiralize is the issue I'm going to feel pretty dumb but thankful.

     

     

    I'm using a Mac it's an older 2012 MacBook Pro. I don't think any version later than 4.8 will work I could try updating one thing or another but the primary reason I'm using 3.6 is the tool path generated by that version in particular. I've tried 4.0-4.7 and the tool path deviates from that desired. Basically the model is designed as a solid with a surface that is theoretically a effective vase mode or should print in a vase mode style tool path. 3.6 will generate a continuous path but subsequent versions interpret model differently I'm guessing for some reason and generate a tool path that is discontinuous in each layer. I wonder if my installation wasn't corrupted by a recent add on and has saving anomalies related to that. I have had add ons cause performance issues including crashing in the past. Perhaps a fresh install without add ons?

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    You say "discontinuous on each layer".  I think I know this bug.  I referred to it earier.  Basically it is going around clockwise and then when it changes layer it backs up a cm or so?  If so then this is a known bug and I think it eventually got fixed but I don't know which version.

     

    I see this in the release notes for version 4.8:

    Fix off-by-one error that could cause horizontal faces to shift one layer upwards.

     

    So maybe it was fixed in 4.8?  I'm not sure if this is what they mean but I definitely remember the bug where, when it changes layers, it jumps backwards by quite a bit.  Very annoying.  Especially when spiralize was on.

     

    Basically when it finishes a layer it has to start the new layer somewhere and it tries to start it at the closest intersection.  But there was an off-by-one bug or something that made it go back to the previous intersection above where it finished the layer below.  Which may be a few mm away or 100mm away depending on the model.

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    When I wrote discontinuous I wasn't referencing the bug you mentioned. I haven't seen that one before. No I was saying the tool path. The part I'm working on is an airfoil shaped wing part it was designed to print in a vase mode like tool path where along the path the wall comes close enough to itself where ideally the wall fuses to itself forming a spar or in effect an infill that is retraction-less. The filament is LW PLA that is very prone to stringing. That basically necessitates a tool path with no to as few retractions as possible. In Cura 4.8 and other slicers was that when the tool path would "cross over" at the places where the wall was in close proximity to itself. Meaning instead of continuing along the path of the upper wing surface the path would when it came close to the bottom of the wing surface change path to follow the bottom of the wing surface. I can post a screenshot/screen picture later perhaps that way you could get a better idea. I tried the spiralize outer contour and I didn't see that as changing the slicer algorithm to counter that.

     

    On the same project but another note I'm currently working on retraction settings. My question is in the advanced settings functions on my printers firmware I can change things like acceleration values. Do these values effectively manage or limit those that are set in Cura? Meaning if my excelleration on the printer firmware is set to say 1000mm/s but in Cura I ask 2000mm/s the operation will be limited to 1000? Is that correct?

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    If you set a limit in the printer using M201 then that will be the upper limit.

    Let's say you set a limit of M201 X1000 Y1000 in the printer.  In Cura you ask for 2000mm/sec.  That would go to the printer as an M204 S2000 in the gcode.

    When it gets to the printer the printer would impose the M201 limit of 1000.  (Think about what that means for Cura's "Estimate Print Time" when the actuality of the printer is different than the theoretical of the gcode.)

    This is part of my printers response to M503.

    echo:Maximum feedrates (units/s):
    echo:  M203 X500.00 Y500.00 Z50.00 E50.00
    echo:Maximum Acceleration (units/s2):
    echo:  M201 X3000 Y3000 Z100 E1000
    echo:Acceleration (units/s2): P<print_accel> R<retract_accel> T<travel_accel>
    echo:  M204 P1000.00 R1000.00 T1000.00
    echo:Advanced: S<min_feedrate> T<min_travel_feedrate> B<min_segment_time_us> X<max_xy_jerk> Z<max_z_jerk> E<max_e_jerk>
    echo:  M205 S0.00 T0.00 B20000 X10.00 Y10.00 Z0.40 E5.00

     

    You can see that my limit in M201 is 3000 for X and Y.  In the M204 line you can see that I had Cura set for "Print" and "Travel" acceleration both at 1000.  In this case the printer would use 1000 since it is below the limit set in M201.

    If you set a limit in the printer then the printer won't go over it, but you can set Cura to whatever you want.

     

    You can change the limit by adding an M201 line to your startup followed by M500 which would save the setting to make it the new default after which you could remove the lines from the StartUp.

    If you don't enable Acceleration and/or Jerk in Cura, then the printer will use whatever it has in M204 with an eye on the limit set in M201.  For Jerk it will use whatever it has in M205.

    Jerk is different in that there is no way to set Jerk except by changing the Maximum limit as M205 is the only command that applies.  If you tell Cura you want Jerk at 100 it will gladly tell the printer to use 100 and the printer will gladly accept it.

     

    My printer is an Ender 3 Pro so it's a bed slinger.  If I'm printing something tall and thin I will manually add a M201 Y350 line at about layer 300.  That will soften the starts and stops so the print doesn't break free of the bed.  When I shut the printer off and turn it back on the default of M201 Y3000 is back in place.

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    I'm not familiar yet with gcode commands naming yet. I'll look at a chart that'll have them described that way I can more easily follow advice that other more technical users are telling me. I'm on a series of tests that I'm trying to use for settings refinement specifically for the purpose of reducing stringing/oozing with PLA Foam Filament. I can see likely answers based on what you were saying about Cura estimated print time vs. actual or as recorded by the printer. On the last test I ran Article Test13 I saw 9min Cura v.3.6 and 15m 24s Ender 3 SKR Mini E3 V3. What that tells me is firmware is limiting Cura Print Setup. As there is a significant discrepancy there. I'll post a photo of actual printed test as well as the STL and printer settings in a bit. Not asking for anyone to severely scrutinize (spend a bunch of time analyzing) what I'm doing but if anything particular stands out that could be changed or added and you'd like to let me know that would be great. Sure would be nice if A.I. with machine vision would be made available for crunching slicer settings. So many variables yet still not enough settings/functions.

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    Posted (edited) · New Here

    Back in the day I was very into U-Control and then RC airplanes and I still maintain some interest.  Now I'm retired.  I'm too much of a wus to go fishing when it's 40 degrees outside and so I wander into my office a few times a day and check here to see if I can add something useful (or at least humorous).  I started working with Gcode in 1969.  This allows me to claim that I have some understanding of it.

    You can find the listing of the Marlin Gcode commands HERE.  The RepRap WIKI is a bit more extensive and is HERE.  You don't need to know all the G and M codes but some come up a lot and those you should be familiar with.

     

    When you install a printer in Cura, Cura uses a "Printer Definition File" which was put together by either a member of the community, or supplied by a printer manufacturer.  That file sets certain "maximums" and "defaults" within Cura.  Many of those settings can be found when you load the "Printer Settings" plugin from the MarketPlace.  Those "Maximums" and "Defaults" assume that the settings within the printer are also the defaults.  But many of those settings can be changed in the printer and so the Printer Definition File may not be up to date and so Cura may not be up to date.

    The only thing those Max's and Defaults affect are the settings boxes in Cura.  If a box turns red when you enter a number then you have made an illegal entry (according to the definition file).  There is no interaction between the printer and Cura other than a gcode file.  If you go to Printer Settings and change the Maximum XY Acceleration the printer will not be told.  You would however be allowed to enter a higher number in the Speed / Acceleration settings boxes and it would be accepted by Cura.

     

    The only way to tell what the printer settings actually are is to send an M503 to the printer and to view the response.  You can do that with "Pronterface/Printrun" or with my "Greg's SD Print Tool" that is a Windows App that I'll include below.  Either way you need a working USB connection to use them.

     

    I wrote the app for Marlin but many commands cross-over with RepRap.

    Greg's SD Print tool.

    Let me know if you come across any issues or bugs.  I was only a 3.8 student.

     

     

    Edited by GregValiant
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    Posted (edited) · New Here

    Huh you seem like a cool dude Mr. Valiant. I was just thinking about a 3d printed control line airplane about a week ago. Thought ah that'd be cool I'm not the first person to think of it but if nobody else has done it I will. Did a Google search and found that a number of people have though it isn't nearly as prevalent as 3d printed R.C. free flying models. I understand that control line is a smaller group in the hobby. I had the first production/commercial electric control line model back in the late 90s a COX Bear Cat. It was pretty neat but low performance by other standards (nitro powered or modern electric) it was plastic and kinda heavy with a brushed motor and the flying control wires were also the motors power wires. I was unaware until maybe a year ago that it was possible to do loops and inverted flight or anything other than go in one direction with nothing more than a little climb to level off or a little dive. Once I saw the type of flying that can be done with performance control line I wanted to give it another go. Also found (after having been gone for 10+ years) that my local R.C. Flying Club had built two control line circuits, Pads, I don't know what they're called. Control line Circles? Decided after seeing that I would probably give it a shot. 

     

    As far as the other info you mentioned. I understand that there are things possibly not correctly represented in that in my slicer I have printer defined as an Ender 3 but it's basically not an Ender 3 being with SKR board. 

     

    I liked how you said "This allows me to claim that I have some understanding of it." In reference to when you started working in the field. Funny many people try to convey that time spent in a particular field or with a particular thing automatically proves proficiency with such. You're basically saying hey I've did this for quite a while and (maybe) that means I know a little about it. (The other person) "Bla, Bla, Bla, I've been doing this for x amount of time Bla, Bla Bla") 

     

    I've made a little progress with test prints but dang. Like I was saying so many variables that even small changes to one can effect at least one or many others that then need to be changed in compensation. Sheesh! What I've found so far is that to reduce the effects of nozzle oozing Travel Acceleration and Speed being as fast as possible helps. I would like to use the optimal combination of settings like Retraction Distance, Retraction Speed, Prime amount, prime speed, linear Advance, and coasting but even such optimal combination may not mitigate the oozing of the particular material ya know? If you have a lot of experience and understanding of Cura settings and testing with various designs and printers and wouldn't mind having a look at my struggle I could use the help. I don't want you to invest very much effort/time as I have already defined elements of the models design that I'm working on as being a contributing culprit to the need for such intensive slicing scrutinization. Don't want you necessarily be a victim of that. I'll post a link here to the page where and when I upload photos of my test prints and slicer settings.

    Edited by displaynamenotallowed
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    22 hours ago, displaynamenotallowed said:

    In Cura 4.8 and other slicers was that when the tool path would "cross over" at the places where the wall was in close proximity to itself.

    I think you can fix this!!!

     

    So when cura "slices" what it really does is mathematically intersect a plane (the current layer) with every triangle in the STL file.  This results in an unordered list of line segments and then cura tries to put them back together into "loops" or "islands" and then it tries to figure out which side of each loop is plastic and which side is air.  Unfortunately STL files have unordered triangles so you have to guess which triangles are connected to which other ones, or, once sliced, which line segments are associated with which loops.

     

    When it is creating the "loops" you can get a crossover as you describe such that one loop (island) becomes two.

     

    I'm not sure which parameters help you fix this but I suspect you should look at:

    maximum resolution

    maximum deviation

     

    And maybe lower those values. Or maybe there's another variable somewhere else that expresses tolerances when creating the loops.

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    Posted (edited) · New Here

    Ok I think what you're saying is perhaps the default computation of versions after 3.6 have a higher (fidelity) essentially and therefore I need to determine how to basically de rate the processing level of the polygons or as you said loop definition at least for handling my particular STLs in a post 3.6 release. Is that correct? I heard someone refer to what you're saying about model interpretation as loops as squares but I presume they were describing the same concept. I know of Arc Commands plug in/computation. Perhaps that could work similarly to other settings changes?

    Edited by displaynamenotallowed
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    Posted (edited) · New Here

    A real concern I have with v.4.8 is that it doesn't have a tool path review function as does 3.6. I would really enjoy using 4.8 or higher as in layer view on 3.6 the rendering is extremely laggy increasingly with the number of layers displayed. If I'm looking at layers 1-10 or so rendering is pretty fast but above that it starts to process very slowly. At around 2-400 layers I basically see a pinwheel continuously any time I move the mouse cursor or anything. It makes it very frustrating to use. 4.8 has no such lag but it also has no layer view tool path review function as I mentioned which is a very important feature for determining how to effectively manage travel moves and particularly with part placement and especially when printing multiple parts and they're orientation for managing stringing and oozing between those parts. These are concerns regardless of if I can determine what settings to change values on in 4.8 that could enable a desired tool path generation. Also I'm still unable to determine now and if it's even possible to get print setup settings saved along with a .mf file. This is extremely frustrating as it basically means I have to take screenshots of my settings for a particular model or configuration for a particular model or write them on paper and re enter those any time I may want to go back to refine a particular model after printing anything that needs different settings. That or I have to slice gcode that is perfected and forevermore rely on only that gcode file for a particular part. 

    Edited by displaynamenotallowed
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    Try to visualize a bow-tie shaped outline for a particular height to slice.  Cura gets these as little lines.  And they aren't sorted.  So cura tries to connect the lines into the bow tie.  You may think the (x,y) coordinates of the end points of each little line should match exactly with another line but they don't always match because the STL doesn't hold lines - it holds triangles.  and when you "slice" you are intersecting mathematically a plane and a triangle and there are tiny tiny errors.  usually smaller than a nanometer.  But the points don't line up perfectly.  And the STL file is no help as it's not a great storage format because it doesn't tell you which edges of each triangle belong to which other triangle.

     

    So you take all these lines and try to connect them into a loop (really potentially hundreds of loops depending on what the print looks like).

     

    So there is a tolerance when creating the loops.  Do you set the tolerance at 1 nanometer?  1 micrometer?  No you have to make it larger or you won't get very many loops at all.  I'm not sure what the tolerance is.  maybe it's .05mm.  Now if the bow tie comes together in the skinny region you might connect the wrong line segment at some point.  and now you have two separate loops by accident.  

     

    This is exactly what you described earlier.

     

    I know this is how Cura works because the original author described it thusly long ago on this forum.

     

    Now what is the tolerance?  I really don't know.  Is it a parameter/setting in Cura?  I don't know.  but that is exactly what is happening.  I'm hoping it's a setting and you can make the settings smaller.

     

    In addition to finding the loops there is another feature of cura where it discards some points.  I had assumed it did this *after* it makes the loops.  If it does it before then I would think you would get these "one loop into two loops" problems much more often.

     

    I could be completely wrong and your problem is unrelated to the "make the loops" step.

     

    By the way, the very next step is to figure out if inside each loop is air or plastic.  Maybe the loop is around an empty region (quite often in fact - for example when printing a cylinder there is an outer loop for the outside of the cylinder and a second inner loop to represent the inner wall of the cylinder.

     

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    Posted (edited) · New Here

    I basically understand the concept. However 3.6 is generating a tool path that is 90ish percent what I would like to see. I can work with that but what I don't want to accept is that my settings aren't saving when I save a .3mf file. If I'm going to use Cura I need to have focused help to address issues in a priority of greatest to least important. I have a test print that looks pretty good. However all the settings were lost because Cura didn't save them even though I saved as a .3mf. I don't know where the hidden box is that I need to check to allow what should be a innate function but I think that is priority #1 related to my Cura experience right now. I can learn more about the theoretical/highly technical calculations or abstract concepts of the algorithm at a later time especially if there is no know way to influence these offered presently.

     

    Thank You and if reading this can directly advise me on this settings saving issue please forward this to those that can or direct me to where I can find that answer please.

     

    Edited by displaynamenotallowed
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    When you just save as a 3mf it just saves your model only.

     

    Save it as a project file by doing "file" "save project...".  This saves everything - machine settings, profile, settings overrides, model(s), model position and scale, mesh modifiers, everything.

     

    This is my preferred (only) method for saving settings.  There is another method.  You can save a profile.  I don't remember how to do that as I last did it many years ago.

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