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msurunner

Cura Lite...

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I'm sure that PU Cura takes the massive precedence, and rightly so, but.... with the announcement that RPi is generating a new board to use a much more powerful quad core processor, I'm curious if there would be a call for a "Cura Lite"

My thought behind this would be you could have the two control boards setup to run congruently like many do to take advantage of RPi for webcam and such. However, rather than simply using the Pi as a network interface for cams and whatnot, could a stripped down version of Cura be used to generate G-Code on the machine itself then? I'm thinking just a model previewer to confirm the model's orientation, and then G-code generation with a "material loaded" kinda like you see on the UM2. Then you could essentially print an .stl just like you would print a .docx file. Similarly, you could send the file with a "draft", "regular", and "precision" print type that could cue up the settings you would use for your layer height, print speed, and the lot. Thoughts?

 

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All of the current Pi-based printer controllers (Octoprint, PrintToPeer, BotQueue) offer 'cloud' slicing of STLs on the Pi, using Cura in fact.

Edited to add: Though I've used each of them for several months at a time, and still use Octoprint for several machines... cloud based slicing isn't really ready for prime-time at this point. Not because it doesn't work - it does - but being able to preview the layer view in Cura is too critical to achieving a high success rate when printing for cloud slicing to offer any net benefit. Maybe it will be worthwhile as slicers get slightly better and machine limitations get slightly relaxed.

 

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I'm not a fan of the Pi. Their core is slower then they claim, they have an exclusive deal (nobody is allowed to buy the CPU except the Pi people) it's using closed source drivers on Linux, which is against the spirit of linux. Also, SD cards as storage. Just look at the problems we're are having with those for just GCode storage. Now imagine your whole system runs from it.

But the idea of small ARM boards in the printer is very appealing. Lots of possibilities there. More then you're thinking off right now ;-)

I think cloud based slicing is backwards. For example, Cura does 80.000 slices a week. That's a slice every 7 seconds. Offload that to cloud servers and you have a serious cost picture on CPU cycles. Add the bandwidth requirements to that, as GCode files are very large. And I don't think it will be sustainable.

Right now, I can only tell that I have claimed a few whiteboards at the office, which are related to ARM based boards and the things you could do with that. (I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to share yet. Project is at the infant state)

 

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