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Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge


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Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

Hi There,

ok, so I am awaiting my order to come, was ordered 4 weeks ago now, so I'm hoping I get an update / package soon!

Anyways, I'm sure this question has been asked many a time, but I still cannot see any definitive answer, though I understand its quite subjective... As a newbie, after assembling the device, how much of a headache will it be to get Skienforge to give me these lovely prints I see floating around the net?

I see the Netfabb ones often and it is clear they are fantastic looking, and I believe Netfabb is faster at the slicing too? by what factor I don't know, if its a case of 10mins for an average print vs 6.5 for netfabb, then I don't know if the 150 euro price would be worth it, if however the quality is multitudes better and the speed is faster by a factor of 10, then its a different story.

What are peoples views on this?

I wonder what proportion are using netfabb vs those using Skienforge?

Anyway, cheers.

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

    slicing depends on how large&tall your objects are, and how many layers you plan to have.

    simple flat objects (<10mm) slice reasonably fast in SF.

    a complex object with infill and about 400 layers takes about 30-90sec max to slice with netfabb, and Skeinforge is about 200-600x slower, so an hour or 2 for slicing in SF is normal, I had large&complex objects slice for 13h.

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

    Thanks for the reply.

    It does seem like a hell of a long time, is that with the python libraries update that people mention?

    Looks like a netfabb licence is needed afterall, pretty expensive!

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge


    I'm also relatively new to 3D printing and I tried both Skeinforge and Netfabb. When speaking Skeinforge, I mean version 35. This is a rather old version but integrated in RepG 26. It's the only version I use. The newer Skeinforge versions (40+) have some new functionality (called volumetric) which appears to work great. Since it's not integrated in RepG you need to run these newer versions stand-alone. That's not a problem but just something you should know.

    Skeinforge pros:

    - Free

    - Comb functionality to remove (most of the) quick jumps

    - Highly configurable (if you know what all the settings really mean)

    - Quickly printable GCode output (due to thick layers)

    - Updated frequently

    Netfabb pros:

    - Very quick calculation (5 minutes max. is my record while SF needs hours for the same model in a lower quality layer setting...)

    - Good user interface (SF is 'not that great' on this part...)

    - Very useable print profiles (thanks to Paul and Florian)

    - Very high quality (resulting in higher print time)

    Both programs still need RepG to send the Gcode to the Ultimaker although Netfabb should be able to work with it directly without the need of RepG. They're still trying to get the connection right.

    I can really recommend Netfabb although I must admit I still use SF when I need some gcode which I can print quickly. Netfabb lacks settings for really quickly printable gcode. In other words: Netfabb's lowest quality setting is still too good for some particular objects. To give you an idea: I use 90% Netfabb, 10% SF gcode.

    The choice is up to you.

    Considering it's price: 150 Euro seems a lot. Compared to the 1200 Euro the Ultimaker costs it's not all that expensive anymore. Netfabb really makes this machine shine.

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

    Also, skeinforge 43 or higher are also 40% faster then previous versions.

    But we should make a new RepG version, bundled with newer Skeinforge version and "pypy", which makes skeinforge another 4 times as fast on large builds.

    Still, the skeinforge interface is... horrible IMHO. It's always in expert mode, options move around between versions a lot. And it feels like a hackjob. I have no experience with Netfabb, but Slic3r (which is quite new, and the results haven't been great for me) has a much better UI.

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

    I think at least some of the SF speed (or lack of it) depends on your machine. More free memory and disabling bits in SF you don't need will help a lot. It's never going to be fast but you can do things to make it less slow...

    - Comb functionality to remove (most of the) quick jumps

    Not exactly.. Comb tries to reroute non-printing moves so that the nozzle doesn't go over any more open space than it has to. This is HUGELY nice feature as it can eliminate many of the strings you'd normally get on complex parts from the print head oozing a bit as it crosses open areas.

    If you imagine printing a C shaped object, Comb will make it so that the head won't go straight from one endpoint to the other - it will reroute the moves so that non-printing movements travel along the rest of the shape instead. This usually adds to the printing time but results in a much nicer end-product.

    The newer Skeinforge versions (40+) have some new functionality (called volumetric) which appears to work great

    It does indeed work great! Another HUGE feature.

    Basically, "volumetric 5D" calculates the extruder speed for you based on other settings (layer height, feed rate, etc) and your filament diameter. Without this, any change to one of the big print settings (again: layer height, feed rate, etc) will require careful and tedious test & tweak calibration runs to figure out the correct flow rate. With it, you tell it the settings you want and it just works. Very nice.

    Volumetric-style profiles are coming to netfabb. Possibly very soon.. :D

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    Posted · Newbie - Netfabb or Skeinforge

    Hi ddurant,

    thanks for clarifying my rather vague descriptions. I knew what the COMB feature does but my explanation was too simplified to make sense... :oops:

    My wanted list for Netfabb:

    1) Flawless direct connection to the Ultimaker :!:

    2) Flawless direct connection to the Ultimaker :!:

    3) Flawless direct connection to the Ultimaker :!:

    4) Comb functionality

    5) Volumetric

    As for Daid's suggestion: I think it's not that bad for Skeinforge to work standalone and NOT implement it in RepG at all. This way it's easier to upgrade SF versions and (to me) it makes more sense when SF is a stand-alone program (draw - slice - print).

    Good profiles for Skeinforge would be highly recommended though! I honestly feel this is more important than implementing it into RepG. I love the preset Netfabb profiles (like Filled - Hollow - Vase) in combination with print quality (Low - Standard - High - Ultra). These are not available in SF (there's just PLA failsafe profile...).

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