Posted on

BEST FREE 3D PRINTER SOFTWARE

repetierhoststartpage

Software is the second most importent thing when it comes down to 3D printing. To end, I will tell you what the most importent thing is in 3D printing. But first, my attempt to bundle some info on this best free 3d printer software topic.

FREE 3D PRINTER SOFTWARE – THE BASICS

When it comes down to get started with 3D printing, you first need hardware. This could be tricky, or you could consider a TripodMaker ;-). However, I had the biggest difficulty in finding the right software during the Era when I was playing with my RepRap prusa i1 and i2. There is no such thing as the best software set. I will try to provide you with a brief overview so you can decide what fits you best.

1) 3D PRINTER SLICER SOFTWARE

 

A 3D printer can not cope directly with files from a CAD program. 3D or CAD files need to be processed before they become printable. This process is called slicing. The slicer (software) is the first tool we use when 3D printing.

A slicer uses commonly used .STL files to create .Gcode files. Gcode files contain instructions for the 3D printer on where, when, and how fast to make movements. However, Gcode programming is not very suitable for CAD and 3D design. This is where the slicer and the .STL file comes into use.

The .STL file is a 3D model file that can be exported by all common CAD and 3D modeling software. The slicer software then slices the .STL 3D model into layers and print paths to create a 3D printable .Gcode file.There are several slicer programs out there, but I found these 2 the most suited for my needs:

1) Slic3r
2) Kisslicer
3) Cura

Keep in mind that slicer settings are not always as straightforward as you think. It is always some trial and error before you can get started with printing. With your TripodMaker, predefined settings are available.

SLIC3R

Slic3r is an original project of Alessandro Ranellucci (aka. Sound). The program is under constant refinement from Alessandro and other contributors. By the time of writing, the current version is 1.0.0RC2.

+ Easy setup
+Works Stand-alone
+Compatible with several Hosting programs
+Supports multi-model printing
+Can split and save STL files
+Can handle big STL files
- No integrated tool path viewer after slicing.

KISSLICER

In my opinion this is the best slicer that is out there right now. It might be not as good looking but is performs great. It has a Free version for single printer-head printers. The paid Pro Version has multi printer-head support and multi-model printing.

+ Best surface finish
+ Easy setup
+ Works Stand-alone
+ Compatible with several Hosting programs
+ Integrated tool path viewing
- Supports only multi-model printing in payed version
- Can't split and save STL files
- Can’t handle super big STL files

3D PRINTER HOSTS SOFTWARE

 A host is a software program on your computer that communicates with your 3D printer. It makes sure that you don’t have to type the Gcode “command-line style” to control your printer head around the printer surface and its temperature.

The Gcode is pushed to the printer through a USB connection. For single moves during calibration, this is really handy.

Next to the navigation part,  you can monitor temperature and position of your hot-end during print.

Make sure you install the right drivers to be able to connect your printer to your computer.

Two free available host programs are

1)Printrun (info and download)
2)Repetier Host (info and download).

While Printrun is is only a host program, Repetier Host integrates also Slic3r software and previewing modes.

PRINTRUN

Easy control of the printer with navigation cross
2D representation of status during print
Compatible with all kinds of slicers

REPETIER HOST

Easy control of the printer
Integrated Slic3r functionality (Slic3r and Cura)
3D representation of Slicing result
Compatible with all kinds of slicers
Can be configured for Delta printers like the TripodMaker.

SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORK

Posted on

9 GREAT AND USEFUL PRINTABLE OBJECTS

desk-lamp

HERE ARE 9 GREAT USEFUL PRINTABLE OBJECTS YOU CAN PRINT YOURSELF!

1) Garlic press

I am not sure if you can put this one in the dish washer, but this might have been needed in the past Christmas Period!

2) FULLY WORKING PADLOCK

Might not be super safe to chain your bike with it, but surely keeps the kids out of the candy closet.

3) DESK LAMP PRINTED OUT OF SEVERAL PIECES

This one really reminds me of the Pixar logo. You only need to look out for some springs to make it stand steady.

4) PICK-UP HOLDER FOR YOUR ACOUSTIC GUITAR.

If your acoustic guitar doesn’t have the build-in pick-up electronics. A simple upgrade can be fixed with this nifty piece of 3D print.

5) MEASURING SPOONS FOR THE KITCHEN

No messing around with non standardized spoons. Just print these and you will be sure to have the right amounts in your Haute Cuisine dishes right away!

6) SUSTAIN PEDAL FOR YOUR KEYBOARD

This is probably for the more advanced makers, but hey, you’re never to old to become one!
 

7) A BAG HOLDER

No blue fingers for you after you had to cary your bags on your way back home.

8) EGG CUP

Make yourself a rocket egg cup. Nice show-off on a brunch with your friends!

9) CUSTOMIZABLE IPHONE CASE

Create your iPhone case that includes the picture of your loved one! This might need some 3D drawing skills however.

SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORK

Posted on

TRIPODMAKER DELTA 3D PRINTER ACCURACY

tripodmaker delta accuracy

In the past few days, I was frequently asked about the TripodMaker’s delta 3D printing Accuracy. In short, it is great and precise. In reality, it’s not as straightforward as you might think to quantify it with a number.

When talking about the TripodMaker 3D printing Accuracy, this is related to two things when it comes down to a delta 3D printer. A first obvious one is the hardware and extrusion process with its tolerances. A second, but less obvious one, is the software, so let’s start here.

SOFTWARE RELATED TO 3D DELTA PRINTING ACCURACY 

Software has a big impact on how the TripodMaker moves. The adapted Marlin Firmware includes the TripodMaker dimensions. Based on known dimensions, the Tripodmaker can calculate where the nozzle is for a certain motor position. If the dimensions in the software however don’t fit with the dimensions of the physical TripodMaker, the movement might be inaccurate.

Bad built Delta printers might suffer from inaccurate x-y dimensions or un-flat moves. For flat and accurate movement, it is therefore critical to teach the TripodMaker the correct frame distances. For an assembled TripodMaker, these will be fine-tuned for you. A DIY kit might need some fine tuning once assembled. Based on our manual, this is piece of cake.

HARDWARE AND FILLAMENT EXTRUSION RELATED TO DELTA 3D PRINTING ACCURACY

Every part that interacts with the 3D printing process, has its own tolerances. The final precision of the nozzle position is a combination of those tolerances on the machine.  Also the extrusion process has its variances. Plastic expands after extrusion and shrinks after cooling down, and this is related to print speed, temperatures and other factors.

There is indeed a quantifiable amount of error related to some of the parts. For example a stepper motor has a certain deviation on its angles. Harder to quantify is for example slack on the timing belts, misalignments and plastic deformation. On top of that, the way of how a delta robot moves, complicates the insight in resolution.

For a delta robot, the middle of the printer bed has the lowest x-y-resolution. This is because a small motion of the motor results in big movement of the printer head. Away from the centre, the x-y-resolution is the highest. This is because two of the three beams are nearly horizontal, and a big movement of the vertical slides, results in very small movement.

I created to small hand drawn animations, just to give you a physical view of what I just tried to describe =) Left the central movement, right the edge movement.

The layer height accuracy only differs slightly over the print area as this is related to the most vertical beam. Layer height itself is mainly related to nozzle diameter and is typically 30% to 80% of the nozzle diameter.

 CONCLUSION

 Claiming that a printer can keep a 0.05 mm 3Dprinting accuracy in all directions, based on motor specs only (what is mostly done), is not correct and misleading for a delta 3D printer like the TripodMaker. The resulting accuracy is a combination of hardware, software and extrusion.

The TripodMaker has a rigid high quality designed structure. With fine-tuned software, it can deliver accuracies below 0.1mm, but that is just kind of experimentally based.

Some pics added at the bottom, just to show you some performances.

That’s it for today,

p.

The Pink Panter Woman (with the shaved armpit) 

tripodmaker woman

SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORK

Posted on

GRONINGEN MAKERFAIR

groningen-maker-faire-ansichtkaart-350x250

Today is a big day: The TripodMaker v2 is up and running! Check out the Video! It looks great and performs as the best and will be shown as a showcase printer for the Groningen Maker Faire.

Last Friday, my final pieces arrived for this build. During verification of the parts, I noticed some of them where not according to the drawings. (see picture, the one on the right is slightly bended at the end, resulting in a gap of 3mm when mounted on the aluminum profiles) Luckily, parts from the earlier TripodMaker v1 prototype could be re-used, but this meant disassembling the v1… which was kind of extra work that I didn’t took into account.

After the strip-down of the TripodMaker v1 and build-up of the v2, I am proud to present to you some new pictures and a short video of the new TripodMaker v2 3D printer. But first some additional info on the printers New Design and our new Automatic Calibration feature. (soon available on the Gallery page).

THE NEW DESIGN

This contains a revised version of the TripodMaker frame, the new Alu-extruder and the new Alu-hot-end-skid. Throughout the developments, focus was mainly on the beauty of simplicity, while not compromising performance.

The frame received an additional beam at the bottom. This implies a higher rigidity than the previous version, while still looking elegant. The TripodMaker v1 is now 1 meter tall and has printer height of 40cm. It now also features a circular printer bed that fully uses the reachable area with the delta technology and a beautifully laser etched logo on our control box.

Tripodmaker Classic V1

The extruder is now equipped with a 5:1 reduction gearbox which creates bigger torque to push the filament through the nozzle. The outgoing axle of the reduction gearbox is supported with a ball bearing, comparable to the Airtripper’s V3 design. It is made out of high quality aluminum parts, which will not crack when the load gets high during fast printing.

AUTOMATIC LEVELING PROBE (SOON AVAILABLE)

 No need for calibration of the printer bed with this tool. Before every build, the touch probe feels the printer bed surface and compensates software wise for deviations of the bed surface. A must have in your 3D printing dreams! Check out the calibration procedure on the video below!

That’s it for the updates of the day. Looking forward to see some of you on the Groningen Maker Faire next weekend!

p.

SHARE WITH YOUR NETWORK