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gibbons

Getting started with NetFabb?

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Assembled an ultimaker kit, got Daid's Cura working, now its time to get NetFabb 4.9 running.

And looking at the NetFabb application I haven’t a clue how to calibrate it and get the basic settings in order.

So Calibration… Select [ultimaker] then the [style] tab, and click the [Calibrate] button.

Now what?? There is no obvious print button.

To be honest I need a simple step by step guide for calibrating and using this application with the standard ultimaker kit. I don’t need to know about wonky options. Just solid things like ensuring I can move the print head and platform around like Cura does.

Granted yes I did review the ultimaker wiki entry on netfabb, but it lacks a certain context. And the NetFabb wiki entries weren’t the most helpful.

Any tips?

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I'll steal ddurant's words as he explains it better than I ever could. Stolen from here:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... NjrSqikYSo

 

The basic idea is that slicers used to output gcode that talked about extruder speed and x/y/z coordinates separately - it was stuff like "Start the extruder at speed A. Move to position B at feedrate C. Move to position D at feedrate C. Stop the extruder." over and over in the gcode.

 

With the dimension plug-in, those two separate commands merged into one single gcode command - this was "5D" since each line of gcode told the firmware how far to move in X, Y, Z and E (extruder) as well as saying how fast (time) the move/extrusion should be. The problem with this was that the E part of that command referred to extrusion length out of the nozzle and, for a given specific volume of plastic, that length can vary based on nozzle size, flow rate, temperature, plastic formula and 97 other things.

 

With volumetric 5D (SF40), that troublesome E component changed to specify the length of raw filament into the extruder drive. Because the slicer (SF) knows the volume of threads it's outputting (h * w * l) and now knows the diameter of your filament (from the Dimension tab), it can very exactly calculate how much filament needs to go into the extruder to draw the correct shape/size line in the the correct amount of time.

 

So.. Volumetric 5D slicers like SF40+ are frickin' awesome, since there's no more screwing around with calibration cubes to get the flow rate to match the feed rate. You want to print at a different layer height? Just change the layer height and you're done. Want different thread widths? No problem - just change w/t and SF figures out the right flow rate. It's really quite nice.

 

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I'm new to the NetFabb software and to DIY 3D printing. I purchased, "NetFabb Engine Basic - for Ultimaker." The material I’m working with is silver PLA that came with the Ultimaker kit.

I’d like to take some of the guesswork out of this software by getting advice from knowledgeable users.

My big question is: What settings should I use when first trying out NetFabb on an Ultimaker ?

Say for example I import a 20mm calibration cube STL file.

I assume after I repair my STL file I drag it over to slices. Does this determine my slice thickness or is that determined elsewhere?

What is the suggested layer thickness, what is the minimum?

So after that I go over to the Ultimaker section of the ‘context area’.

Robert indicates I should select ”Machine Type: Ultimaker (volumetric)” under the Ultimaker’s Machine tab.

Is it perfectly fine to use the default setting and just click on the Print Tab, Calculate Toolpath then Toolpath Tab, Print?

Is it recommended to print a support raft?

Are the directions from the prior post 4.9.2 http://forum.ultimaker.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1009 solid, I couldn’t tell if users were having problems with them?

Otherwise are there any tips I should know?

Thank you,

Michael

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Hi Michael,

You don't need to use the 'slices' section at all. The layer thickness is determined by the profile you select. There are two different ones to select, "Machine settings" and "Build Style". The Machine Settings profile determines your print speed, layer thickness, etc. The Build Style sets the strategy for doing jumps, in-fill, skins, etc. For the time being just stick with the built-in profiles as they work well. I've never bothered with anything less than "ultra quality" myself as it works perfect for me and I actually have not had luck with lower quality ones. You can edit / create new profiles later, but chances are you will never need any other ones than what are there already.

So here's the simple process. Please note I do not have NetFabb in front of me at the moment, so I'm not 100% sure about the labels on the buttons...

1. Load your model from the file menu

2. If there are any issues with it then NetFabb will prompt you to automatically fix it... Do that.

3. Select either No raft, or Outline. Outline will put a box around the print and is good for getting your plastic flowing smoothly at the start. Any other raft is generally not necessary.

3. Under 'Current Part' click on 'Center' to put your object in the middle of the platform (or move it to where you'd like to print).

4. Select your print quality (that's the build style) and under 'extruder' select the machine settings profile. Make sure you're profile match up for the standard profiles (i.e. if you use the Ultra profile in one then use the Ultra profile for the other... They're designed to go together). Usually you don't want support... stick with simple no support stuff for now.

5. Set the fill spacing slider to something like 2.5-4mm to start with. If you cannot move the slider (it's greyed out) then make sure your part is selected on the bed by clicking on it.

6. Hit 'Calculate toolpath'.... That will do the slicing.

7. When slicing is done you can either just hit print to print it, or save your gcode (to SD card for example, for the Ultricontroller).

Netfabb is expensive.... but it does produce _very_ good results. It's also pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it, and the ability to slice up large objects within the GUI is very handy. My only major gripe with it is that it doesn't support Linux. That and the retraction still doesn't work right. Also, the directions in that post for the 4.9.2 release notes are fine, that's what I used without problem. The built-in profiles work great in either normal or volumetric mode. NF spent a lot of time tweaking them. However, with Volumetric it's much easier to get your own profiles to work without extensive trial-and-error.

Cheers,

Troy.

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Apologies,

To set the machine profile you need to click on the ellipsis ( ... ) beside Configuration (under build settings).

There is a detailed user manual here:

http://wiki.netfabb.com/Engine_for_RepRap

However, I don't think it's been updated to cover the volumetric version. Ignore the Calibration section of that document.

Cheers,

Troy.

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Suppose I should report back with my results.

My intent was to go through the suggested steps then document everything and create a nice PDF as a quick start guide for others to use. (Including screenshots and photos)

The only thing that I realize in retrospect in last night’s testing was that I did not select the ultra PLA under the material setting.

First off found that I had to adjust my baud rate for the software and ultimaker to communicate.

Started with silver PLA and the 20mm box as recommended on the ‘Newcomer guide to your first 3D print’ wiki page. http://www.thingiverse.com/download:17274

So with Ultimaker (volumetric) selected tried the 20mm test block with an outline. I experienced curling. Which Cura didn’t do. So I’m not sure if it was a temperature issue or not. Or if the machine was just going too fast.

Experimented several times. And had issues where it didn’t want to stick to the blue tape. Which was funny as it had no problem putting down the zigzag in the upper right corner, and then the outline. The actual object’s first layers just wouldn’t hang onto the tape.

Tried again with a raft. As I recalled hearing that with RepRaps rafts were the way to go for avoiding curling. And halfway though the box the raft was drifting across the build platform with a blob attached.

Tried a part of my own design hoping that perhaps a box was just ‘boring’ netfabb. It was soon sliding along.

Tried a lid to the twisted bottle - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12278– and at that stage it netfabb didn’t know where home was. (it started doing strange things)

Turned laptop and ultimaker off. Waited ten minutes. Tried the twisted bottle cap in Cura on the finest settings.

No sticking issues and within a half hour a printed cap.

Cap_cura.jpg

All I could think after that was did I want to dump the gcode from netfabb into Cura? (And then how do I do that?)

Beyond ensuring that I select ‘ultra’ in multiple sections of netfabb is there anything else I should be aware of?

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I had similar problems with the lower quality settings in NetFabb, the first layer just doesn't stick well because the head starts too high off the tape.. With ultra it does 0.08mm layer so you shouldn't have that problem because it pushes the first layer nicely into the tape. The alternative is to turn your Z leadscrew a fraction of a turn by hand on the first layer to make sure that it's nice and close to the plastic.

I had similar problems with ReplicatorG and Cura as well, but after adjusting my z end-stop it's perfect every time for me in any application. I've heard that Daid manages to get good results with a thick first layer but I find that I have to have the first layer pressed right into the tape for it to stick.

Cheers,

Troy.

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I did try to adjust the Z leadscrew on my third failed netfabb experiement, unlike cura the ultimaker really didn't like it. (after that it decided it didn't like the 0,0,0 position and made a new one)

Thanks again Troy. This evening will be filled with more testing. If I can get consistent results I'll document everything.

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What does it mean when 75% through a print the Ultimaker goes 'nuts' and begins printing in a completely new location?

Happened twice, similar design different stl files. Is there some way to check the gcode in a separate application to visually discern where the problem happens to be.

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Exported the gcode out to visualizer, Repetier-Host https://github.com/repetier/Repetier-Host

And it seems there is a flaw in the g-code that layer 264 of 497 that the issue begins.

Began a process of creating toolpaths in netfabb and exporting out to Repetier-Host.

So I took the one problem file and exported it from Rhino as a lower polycount STL over to netfabb. Same issue just started at a different layer.

Processed the twisted bottle file. Same issue.

The only one that didn't get strange was the ultimaker axis belt alignment stl file. Somehow that didn't get screwy.

Is this normal for NetFabb? Frankly I would like to return software if it is incapable of doing the job it is intended for properly.

g-code_issue.jpg

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No, it shouldn't be doing that. I haven't been able to get myself to get back into Netfabb since the latest update, there's too much weirdness in the latest version :/ It's too bad as it used to be my primary slicer and I love the interface with all the editing/positioning/etcetc features (not the printing interface though, that blows, always used printrun instead), not to mention the speed.

Maybe bug the developer about it and see what he says?

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Its still not clear, how I should start.

Lots of stange things happen, but no good prints.(in cura everthing works fine)

Why is there no clear startup manuel, a guide, something more then a few silent movies on you tube?

Strange company, have you seen the prices of netfabb studio??

to my opinion, Netfab should provide us a startup guide and a manuel.

something worth for our money, because now it is lost money.......

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Its still not clear, how I should start.

Lots of stange things happen, but no good prints.(in cura everthing works fine)

Why is there no clear startup manuel, a guide, something more then a few silent movies on you tube?

Strange company, have you seen the prices of netfabb studio??

to my opinion, Netfab should provide us a startup guide and a manuel.

something worth for our money, because now it is lost money.......

Gooday Nautilus

This is the link you want I think. http://wiki.netfabb.com/Engine_for_RepRap. I don't think calibration is applicable anymore though. Also check this Ultimaker forum a post on the last update when volumetric printing was introduced. Netfabb also has a forum where you should be able to ask questions as well.

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