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Daid

What do you look for in the Toolpath view?

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So, I've come to the point where I want to add the toolpath view into the Cura-PinkUnicorn edition. Which is one of the major things missing right now.

As I was never really happy with any of the GCode view implementations I made so far, I was wondering. What are you guys looking for in a GCode viewer? Why do you look at it? What's the most important part? What sucks on the current Cura layer-view mode?

 

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Actually, I think the current mode is pretty good! Saying that something about it sucks is harsh...

Some thoughts:

1. Make it possible to step between single layers (currently there's only the slider. With high layer density, slider control sucks). Maybe just add "single step" buttons on top and bottom of the slider, like the standard windows explorer sliders.

2. Make it possible to view single layers only. Let's say I want to inspect a bridging layer closely, without having all the other layers below. Also, it should be possible to see and differentiate the actual lines. At the moment, infill looks just like a yellow face, you can't see where the lines actually go. Maybe make a checkbox where you can switch between "actual line thickness" and "thin line thickness".

3. In Layer view with the full model displayed (top layer selected), it's difficult to see anything because the lines have a zero "layer thickness". Wouldn't it look better if the lines were actually drawn as thick as the layers they represent?

4. Maybe play a bit with the contrast / color scheme.* I'd like to be able to use the layer view like repetier host's Gcode viewer, where you can see the "actual" surface that your model will have. There were some issues with uneven surfaces lately, where Repetier host showed that Cura generated a bad surface. If it were possible to see that directly in Cura - that would be great :)

* Maybe make "all" colors user selectable through the preferences dialog? Not just the model color?

/edit:

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

/edit2:

Not sure what you mean by "toolpath view" exactly. But it would be cool if you could "simulate" the printing process by actually drawing the lines like the printer does it. Some speed control would be necessary of course, and maybe an option to jump to a certain layer height.

I also forgot one thing:

Make a "translation" between layer number and build height. For example, don't only show "layer 100", but "layer 100: 10.2mm"

For technical stuff that needs exact measurements, it would be nice to be able to verify Z-dimensions in such an easy way.

 

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First, Daid, thanks for asking... :-P

The layer view / toolpath is important for me to check is slicing is done in the way I want it to have. This includes e.g.:

- accuracy of vertical walls (all layers well aligned?)

- thin walls: number of lines used (too thick?)

- infill spacing correct?

- combing lines visible?

- small details sliced properly?

- lines vertically aligned in a way which makes the print weak at some point?

Thus, it is important for me to be able to distinguish the individual lines. There is actually an effect on both of my Windows 8 machines that makes it impossible to get a resonable feeling for the lines:

Cura 14.06.1 layer view top

Both graphics chips use the NVidia drivers, i.e. are quite common.

 

What I really, really miss in Cura layer view is a representation of the actual print speed. Therefore, I often use gcode.ws for checking individual layers. Having an idea how fast or slow a layer is printed is important to e.g. set the correct TweakAtZ-layer.

 

I'm also not completely happy with the way travels and retracts are displayed in Cura. These lines are too thin at the moment for my taste. Again, gcode.ws uses bullets for retraction which are well visible (but can be switched off if they cover something important).

Finally, I agree with Jonny for the layer selection. Less is sometimes more... ;)

And really finally: I hope that the layer numbering of the GUI and in the gcode will be the same in Pink Unicorn.

@JonnyBischof: For 1., try Shift+Up or Shift+Down... ;)

 

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Some of these will be repeats:

- A true top-down view with a non perspective view (parallel projection I think it's called?). Sometimes it drives me insane that I can't properly view and move around the layer to inspect it.

- Possible to view all, some, or just one layer at a time.

- An option to show the thickness of the layers

- I often check how well pointy things get filled

- Overlaying the layers over the model could be nice (as in KS)

- Sometimes I want to see the direction of solid infills but in order to do that I have to zoom in extremely close.

- Seeing the order the lines go down (like a playback/simulator function) would be neato

 

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It's quite good as it is. I mainly use it to check that it will print where I expected and not print where I expected - for example to see if walls are too thin to print. I also use it to check if retraction is on for a particular move, and if it will be printing "in mid air".

Changes:

- I'd like it to be more obvious that the first layer is 3X thicker when I have .3mm first layer, .1mm remaining.

- It might be nice to show "height" and rounded end points with radius matching nozzle size instead of squared off lines.

 

don't only show "layer 100", but "layer 100: 10.2mm"

 

Yes!!! That! I guess you show the height of the top of the trace which is also the nozzle height for that trace.

- Instead of showing the vertical line on a retraction move, show a different color.

- Sometime's there are so many lines so close together I can't tell which diagonal the infill is. Black lines to seperate would be nice.

- I don't know how to do it visually but it would be nice to know the travel direction - maybe each line could fade from one color to the next. For example from a grayish yellow to a brighter yellow. Just a very slight fade - enough to tell travel direction.

- Please use less saturated colors. For example for red, start with 255,0,0 as the color and go into HSB mode and lower the S (saturation) and maybe the brightness also. Intense colors should be reserved for small things like text and very thin lines.

 

A true top-down view with a non perspective view

 

That would be great! DSM does this well. When you are in top-down mode and you pan around you stay always straight above the part at the center of the display. As soon as you orbit/rotate the view you lose top-down mode. In top-down view mode I should also be able to measure wall thicknesses and part dimensions such as hole diameters (even though I can already do this in cad) so that I can double check any scaling I might do. This is not a critical feature though.

 

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Hey Daid, I just wanted to chime in and say that the toolpath view is pretty great as it stands. Once I figured out single layers were viewed with ctrl+up and down it became very functional. I pretty much use it to make sure support is where I want it or if support is needed somewhere that my settings have overlooked.

 

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Hi,

No idea if it has already been mentioned:

It surprises me when the layer preview starts, which is not starting with the first layer.

And surfaces between the bottom and top layers are not shown. Only when I use the scroll bar, then these surfaces are shown. Perhaps it would be possible to display such surfaces with an average transparency value.

Otherwise, the visual representation is generally very good.

Markus

 

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mnis i think this is due to the fact that the path is not calculated entirely before some visualisation, i don't think it's possible to do because that particular path is not displayed because it's not known at that particular moment?

For me the only thing that's kind of bothering me for the moment is that the retraction moves are hard to spot.

And i don't know if this is stupid but maybe showing the parts that print in the air in a special color?

 

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I filed a bugreport on github yesterday mentioning one of the named items here. Daid pointed me here. So while I was on my way here I thought about "what else can be improved?"... Everything I came up with has already been mentioned. (plus a few other good ones).

Thinking some more... Why does cura visualize the models? To place and manipulate them! Why visualize the toolpath? Now it's just "check". but in the (far?) future it might become a toolpath editor. So, within a layer there are a bunch of infills and a bunch of moves. I might want to change the order of the infills between the moves.

Similarly, a friend's printer has the tendency to have the overhangs "bend up". So a move that comes at an overhang will bump into the overhang and possibly bump the object off the bed. So "editing" a move (in this case) should be possible: Change to: "move up 1mm, <original move> move down 1mm" or: take the long way around: do not pass the overhang. Or: "added constraint: "Use this move in reverse direction and optimize layer again".

Sometimes the layer-changes are important. So a "please start this layer here" would also be an operation that the "gcode editor" could allow.

 

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