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So I've been having these connection issues where the UM would just lose connection during a print. So I figured the best way to fix that is to store the Gcode instructions onboard so if the connection fails during a print at least the print will finish properly. I know other people have got these fancy SD card daughter boards (like this reprap.org/wiki/Sdramps) that fit into RAMPS electronics which the UM board is a close relative of, but the problem is those daughter boards are absurdly expensive. $35!? Really? And that's WITHOUT an SD card too. The components for that board wouldn't add up to $2, how do they get away with charging $35, for a surface mount board even (that's supposed to be cheaper, right?).

Anyway, I found this

http://jjshortcut.wordpress.com/2011/03 ... extension/

So it's definitely possible to make an SD card extension without needing fancy ICs (and those ICs from the SDramps page are just resistors basically...). So I got a bunch of resistors and some perfboard and soldered headers directly to the SD card's pins. I figured, it's going to act as the UM's onboard memory so I won't need to remove it ever, right?

some advice doing this: DON'T FORGET TO FORMAT THE SD CARD before soldering it in. I had to desolder the card and format it and solder it back. And when I mean format I mean... format it for FAT, and delete all previous files on it.

Here's some pics of my work:

6932946916_a3962424b7.jpg

7079021297_ef0067f363.jpg

6932947022_ac011bf915.jpg

I've printed one object from it so far and it worked fine. It was a bit slow to upload a gcode file to it but way better than waiting 1.5 hours and having the printer lose connection and fail an otherwise beautiful print. Will have to test for longer runs to see if the "connection losses" I'm experiencing actually reset the printer, because if they do then this might not help at all. At least it supposdely increases quality. We'll have to see about that.

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I like the microSD idea, should've thought of that ;)

The mega can write onto the SD card as well as read. In Pronterface there's an option for "upload to SD card", what it does is sends M28, which tells the arduino to write subsequent gcode commands to the sd card. Then M29 to end the write. You can probably just write that into your gcode files to automate the sd card process.

Good call on that cheap card reader. I wonder if the pins are in the right places though.. but you'd need to connect it to a wire anyway because the RAMPS board has male pins. I used a plug from inside an old computer case, like the kind that you use to plug the audio ports into the motherboard.

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I have ordered one of those cheap ones on Ebay, I like the idea of having it accessible, so I will probably put it on top of the machine and use an extension cable to plug it on the board.

My question at this point is: did you have to add a screen and a rotary encoder too in order to do a standalone print from the SD Card?

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My objective was not to do stand alone prints but to be independent of the PC connection for long prints. SO I did not bother with any input devices, that's another reason why I decided to solder the card in place instead of making it removable.

I don't think I will make the lcd display, because in my mind the 3d printing process is still under development and I intend to tweak my prints' settings a lot in the future. I don't see why standalone printing will be useful if I still need my computer for designing the 3d models, slicing, etc. Just makes me walk across the room to put an SD card in instead of just hitting upload on my computer.

The encoder though, would be super useful to perform jogs while also watching the head (aligning). For that I'd want something like a big wheel that clicks (mousewheel?) and a bunch of buttons/LEDs to select between jog modes, like you see on real CNC machines. I might try to do something like that but for right now I've got the machine pretty level and the z height is pretty much spot on so, low priority.

Now attaching a small computer to the UM would be a cool idea. Maybe have a mount for a slate PC or a netbook in the front/underside? That would be totally awesome. And it might solve the "encoder" problem too because you could just use the pronterface control pad (with your fingers!) while staring at the head position. Although the encoder is still useful for tactile feedback.

I don't want to get TOO caught up in working on the mechanics of the machine and not 3d printing stuff, ya know :D .

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If you still want to add an encoder in the future I bought a bag of these a while ago for another project and they seem to work well enough. Not exactly super quality but for a buck a piece you can't ask for much. I've got some code for them lying around if you need it (for PIC though so you'll have to adapt it a bit for the Arduino environment).

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The SD card solves USB serial issues, which is great. I've moved my printer away from my computer, and I've been printing with SD for 100% of my prints now. I only attached my laptop a while back to update the firmware.

Uploading to SD from USB is too slow to be useful at the moment. And there is an issue with SDHC cards. But having an LCD and SD card is really more useful then you would think. At first I didn't think I would use it much. But now I use it all the time. It also moved the noise away from my living room, I only hear a faint buzz now. (funny, as you notice that the noise changed at the end, signaling the end of the print)

Long prints have zero chance of interrupting, there is no longer any buffering issue with detailed prints, and you can quickly reprint previous prints.

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I've had some help in building an Ultipanel, which is an 4x20 LCD with SDcard reader. This one:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:15081

I hope Ultimaker starts selling them soon, as I think that was their plan.

Once you have that one it's a simple case of attaching 2 band cables (which I could take from my work), upload the firmware with the Ultipanel configure, and it's self explaining from there on. I'm not a 100% happy about the menu structure, but it works.

Once you have this, it's simple, put the SD card in your PC, put GCode files on there, put SD card into machine, select file from LCD panel, and it starts to print.

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Do you think it would be possible to run the rotary encoder with just a 16x2 generic LCD instead of the Ultipanel?

I wonder also if there's any difference between the RepG26 Marlin firmware and the one on buildmemarlin

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Do you think it would be possible to run the rotary encoder with just a 16x2 generic LCD instead of the Ultipanel?
I never tried it, but I have a generic 16x2 display, but no rotary encoder for it. But the menus would be hard to use on 2 lines.

I wonder also if there's any difference between the RepG26 Marlin firmware and the one on buildmemarlin
Yes. A lot, the RepG one is more then a half year old I think. While BuildMeMarlin is brand new every time you use it. The RepG lacks the PID controller, which gives a much better temperature, it also has some fixes in the acceleration code I think.

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It should be possible also with a 16x2 as it runs this way on a Sumpod as far as I've heard.

What is the difference between the firmware in BuildMeMarlin and the one in Cura? Are they the same version? I'm so tempted to use BuildMeMarlin but I'm not 100% confident on which settings I have to choose :S

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The BuildMeMarlin is the same as the firmware from Cura. (Actually, the Cura firmware is build with BuildMeMarlin), the RC1 release has an older firmware, and the RC2 has the latest BuildMeMarlin with default settings and the UltiPanel+SD+Click encoder enabled.

You can order the Ultipanel now! (They announced it yesterday at the Ulti-evening)

https://shop.ultimaker.com/en/parts-1/u ... e-kit.html

 

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So interesting! Even tho the price is a bit a turn down considering the price of those parts on Ebay.

I'm looking forward seeing a picture of it tho. That may make the whole difference between a purchased one and a self made one :)

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Raw parts, I guess you could build one for half the price (remember that you do not only need the parts, but also a PCB, and cables). But then you still lack the lasercut parts, and a knob.

I guess you could print those:

http://daid.eu/~daid/IMG_20120311 ... small.jpeg

(I got a "bare" version, without the laser parts, as beta tester)

It's a bit of a shame that it's lacking a photo, because the laser cut parts are pretty nice. You can hang it on the front or side of your machine. And it's not "bulky" like the beta prototype on Thingiverse. I hope we get some photos soon, was they sold a bunch of them on the spot to people.

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I bought and installed mine last night at the Ulti-evening. It works with Marlin firmwares and looks really nice! For me the panel has these advantages:

No need to worry about a stable connection from PC to UM anymore with the SD card

It makes my UM more mobile so I can print anywhere without moving my 24" iMac. Also no need to take your laptop every time.

The LCD screen shows helpful information and with the jog dial you can adjust print settings on the go if you like.

I can imagine it is not a necessary upgrade for all the UM users but for me these function where worth buying.

It's nice everyone can choose if he/she needs this. The machine is still brilliant without it!

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