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August 29 2012

August 27 2012

August 13 2012

January 30 2012

December 11 2011

ReplicatorG 0029 Released

ReplicatorG 0029 is now available. This release is a minor update, with only one new feature, one click Print-O-Matic defaults. MakerBot operators indicated that they wanted a better and easier way to put Print-O-Matic settings back to the Defaults we recommend. So we added a ‘Defaults’ panel to Print-O-Matic for resetting to the Factory defaults for all of our Stepper based extruders. Since there are a lot of new Bot Operators during the Holiday season, we choose to roll this now to make it easier to tinker with their new bots.

If you are new to 3D printing, this is a really helpful set of buttons. New users can now test and experiment with Print-O-Matic settings to their hearts’ content, safe in the knowledge the factory defaults for Print-O-Matic are a button click away!

November 28 2011

ReplicatorG 0028 – Moar Great Features

Ye olde workhorse of 3D printing, ReplicatorG,  just got a new release!   Along with the shiny shiny new revision number (which is a perfect number!). it has some great added features.

 

  • Pre-heat for build? Check.
  • Build right from the STL View window? Check.
  • Better support for international number formats? Check.
  • Temperature info right in the Machine Status Bar? Check.
  • Squashed some small user reported annoyances? Check.

 

If you do a lot of 3d printing you’ll love the new updates in ReplicatorG.   The Pre-Heat system will speed up printing on older bots. The ‘Print from STL View’ will make it easier to just click ‘print’ and go.  Plus with temperature info in the Bot Status Bar at the top of ReplicatorG, gone are the days of wondering ‘Is that Bot at temperature yet?’

Overall this update doesn’t add any crazy new features. It just makes printing a little faster, a little easier, and a little more fun.  But why take my word for it?  Why not go download it for yourself.

November 22 2011

ReplicatorG Tinkering Class on Dec. 8th

We constantly get great ideas for additions or improvements to ReplicatorG from our users. They range from the fantastic to the fantastical. Almost always it’s hard to tell someone: “No, sorry, we can’t work on that right now.” Since our hardware and software are Open Source, it’s possible for people to add their own features to it, but it’s not always practical.

I’m sure many of our readers know that what Open Source is, but I want to take this paragraph to explain as a refresher. While there is some lawyering as to the exact definition of Open Source, the general idea of Open Source is: Users get the design docs as well as the product, so they can understand and modify what they use. For MakerBot that means our hardware designs as well as our Source Code are available on the web for our users (and anyone else) to inspect, mutate, or just ponder. A great example of how open source super-charges innovation is some of the great work Rob Giseburt has done to tweak his own setup, and support the MakerBot community. Because we open our designs to the community, Rob has been able to create nifty hardware add-ons as well as some great software updates.

We’d like to make this kind of innovation easier for MakerBot users, to help them expand, tweak, and improve their own setup. To that end, we are hosting a “Tinkering on ReplicatorG” class for the New York MakerBot User Group and other makers. It will be an introduction to updating and changing ReplicatorG. The class will be on December 8th, from 6:30 to 8:30PM, at the MakerBot Workshop (314 Dean St in Brooklyn). Hosted by MakerBot’s own Software and Support folks, it will be an hour of setup, tutorial, and discussion, followed by an hour of DIY workshopping. We will have experienced ‘botters on hand to answer questions, help out, and give suggestions.

If you every said “Geez, it would be really cool if this window did X” or “Wow, if only I could make the program also Y” this is your chance for some hands-on help doing that. All you need to bring is a laptop that has a USB port and runs Windows, Mac, or Linux. Well, that and some curiosity and creativity!

The Skinny:
Tinkering on ReplicatorG Class
Dec 8th, from 6:30PM to 8:30PM
@ The MakerBot Workshop
314 Dean Street (between 3rd & 4th Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11217

October 26 2011

Print-O-Matic gets some documentation!

If you’ve been using any recent versions of ReplicatorG, you may be familiar with this dialog box.  It’s Print-O-Matic, a feature that was added to RepG in version 0025 (which should be pronounced “double-oh twenty-five,” as in “double-oh seven”) which is designed to make it easier to find workable Skeinforge settings for various layer heights and speeds.

While Print-O-Matic is fairly straightforward to use, we’ve had some requests from power users who wanted to know a bit more about exactly what it does, and some requests from less-advanced users who want to know good strategies for using it.  That’s why we’ve whipped up this documentation page which has both sorts of information.  You’ll find basic usage info there as well as tips on how to go deeper if you want to.

If you’ve been wondering about that “Print-o-Matic” thing, hopefully this will answer your burning questions.

October 22 2011

October 20 2011

October 10 2011

MakerBot TV Season 1 Episode 6

This week on MakerBot TV I’ll get you acquainted with some brand new colors and my brand new printing partner!!! We’ll also share the scoop on experimental dual extrusion and deliver some helpful tips for using the new Stepstruder® MK7, ReplicatorG 0026 and the firmware update v3.0.

Thanks to Ben Rockhold and Ethan Hartman for your help this week. As well as Alan Bjorklund, Goto80 and Latché Swing for the music.

September 29 2011

New Makerbot software release! ReplicatorG 0026 and Firmware 3.0!

ReplicatorG 0026, Firmware 3.0 and Tigers, Oh My! Ok, ok. I admit, tigers may be a bit of exaggeration. ReplicatorG 0026 and Firmware 3.0 are now available for all users, in a handy download package, or directly from our source code repositories. This includes a lot of updates, better GCode profiles for the new Mk7 Steptsruders®, and a plethora of bug fixes.

What new about ReplicatorG 0026 ?

Most importantly, ReplicatorG has been updated to include an Stepstruder® Mk7 profile. This makes it easy to get excellent prints out of a Mk7. The Mk7 specific profile means filament control has been optimized for cleaner, better prints overall. And along the way a lot of bugfixes have made it into ReplicatorG, including better panels, updated commands, and easier logging.

What’s new about Firmware 3.0?

The Firmware 3.0 codebase has been cleaned up and extended to support multiple extruders. The firmware is more stable, and power users can more easily build and test variations of it. As always you can upgrade your firmware from Machine | Upload new firmware… in ReplicatorG.

Unfortunately, we had to change some of the core firmware to do that. That means you need to update Extruder Controller (to 3.0) Motherboard (to 3.0) and ReplicatorG (to 0026) together when you upgrade.

What else do I need to know?

Firmware 3.0 requires ReplicatorG 0026 to run.  Also, we’ve renamed a number of machine drivers for clarity, so you’ll probably need to re-select your driver in the Machine menu when you first start up.

Firmware 3.0 Support:

As always, we love to watch and help Makerbot users to upgrade, tweak, and innovate. Unfortunately, we can’t support every single variation of bot out in the wild.
Makerbot pledges full support for ReplicatorG 0026 and Firmware 3.0 on our most popular bot configurations:

  • Gen3 Electronics (Cupcake) with Mk5 Plastruder
  • Gen4 Electronics (Thing-o-Matic) with Mk5 Plastruder
  • Gen4 Electronics (Thing-o-Matic) with Mk6 or Mk7 Stepstruder®

If you are using some other configuration, we’ll do our best to help, but we cannot promise that we can solve your problems.  Tread carefully before updating your firmware to 3.0 if you’re running a custom configuration!

Thanks to all-star developers Adam Meyer, Matt Metts, Koen Kooi, Noah Levy, Marius (and new MakerBot developer Far McKon! -ed.)  for their hard work and great code.

May 19 2011

How to manually edit your Skeinforge profiles in Windows

Slicing with style

Slicing with style

Gian Pablo’s excellent tutorial on how to manually edit Skeinforge profiles on Mac OS X got me thinking that manually editing Skeinforge profiles isn’t exactly intuitive for just about any operating system. 1  For instance, Windows Vista will store Skeinforge settings in one of two locations.  These profiles are located either in a sub-folder where you have ReplicatorG installed or a sub-folder of your user profile.

  1. Location of Skeinforge Settings in ReplicatorG
    • replicatorg-0024\skein_engines\skeinforge-35\skeinforge_application\prefs
  2. Location of Skeinforge Settings under User Profile
    • C:\Users\USERNAME\.replicatorg\sf_35_profiles

The settings folder within the ReplicatorG sub-folder should contain a series of sub-folders with the stock profiles:

  • SF35-cupcake-ABP
  • SF35-cupcake-HBP
  • SF35-Thingomatic-ABP
  • SF35-Thingomatic-ABP-Stepstruder
  • SF35-Thingomatic-ABP-Stepstruder-1.75
  • SF35-Thingomatic-HBP
  • SF35-Thingomatic-HBP-Stepstruder
  • SF35-Thingomatic-HBP-Stepstruder-1.75
  • SF35-Thingomatic-non-heated

It seems that when you create a new Skeinforge profile within ReplicatorG the new settings profile will be stored under your User Profile.  The profiles themselves are basically a collection of text documents laid out in the exact order you would see them in when viewing Skeinforge.  Changing the settings manually is merely a matter of opening one of those text documents in a text editor and changing the relevant values.

  1. Photo courtesy of pj_vanf

May 15 2011

How to manually edit your Skeinforge profiles on Mac OS X

Sometimes you need to manually edit or delete a Skeinforge profile. The built-in profiles are stored with ReplicatorG in its installation directory, but the user-created profiles are in a hidden file within the user’s home directory. On Mac OS X, if you want to edit these profiles directly, say to edit the start.gcode file, it can be awkward to find and open the right directory. Fortunately, there is a simple way to access it, with no hacking or trickery required! Here’s how it’s done:

First, make a new Finder window. It should open in your user directory. Then, go to the Go menu in the Finder, and choose the Go To Folder… option.

Then, enter the name of the folder where ReplicatorG stores all the user stuff, which is usually “.replicatorg”:

And voilà, the folder opens up!

Your Skeinforge profiles will be in the folder labelled sf_xx_profiles, where xx is the version number. The start.gcode and end.gcode files are in the folder “alterations” within each of the profiles, and can be edited with TextEdit, or any other text editor. The “profiles” folder within each profile contains the settings for each individual module within Skeinforge. You can edit them directly if you are brave, or more practically, just copy the profiles to back them up or move them to another machine.

April 22 2011

STL importing tip

Too big?  Too little?

Too big? Too little?

Have you ever tried to import an STL into ReplicatorG and found that the object was miniscule? 1  This usually happens when the object was saved as an STL in inches, rather that millimeters2 .3

It takes 25.4mm to equal 1 inch.  All you have to do is scale the object up by a factor of 25.4 and you’re ready to go!

  1. Photo courtesy of Holtsman
  2. Which is what ReplicatorG assumes
  3. What do you mean you’re not metric?!  Get out of my house!

March 31 2011

Maker.Bot.Party.Mode – GCode Tips & Tricks for the Practical Botter

Recently, I posted an introduction to partymode and uploaded my own sample partymode scripts to Thingiverse to kick things off.

Today, I want to share a few more details to help you play in the ReplicatorG-flavored G-Code sandbox. For those uncertain about the value of creating short movement bot scripts should remember that this is a great opportunity for you to learn just enough about G-code to tweak your prints and personalizing the start.gcode and end.gcode files in your skeinforge profiles for better, more efficient MakerBotting.

Also, why not add a bit of musical hijinx to your prints? Why doesn’t your bot play music after every print? Mine does.1

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’m going to bribe you to improve your G-code fluency by introducing you to a stupidly simple trick you will want to use every time you skein a model.

MakerBot Operators grumble about navigating down through the ReplicatorG file structure to adjust the Start.gcode files for a Skeinforge profile. But do you know what happens if you don’t do this step? The nozzle drops down to 20mm-40mm above the platform and attempts to print in the air. Not so successfully, as it turns out.

Well, that little snipped of gcode you must change in your Start.gcode file appears again right near the top of the gcode that you generate when you slice a model. Here’s the chunk in question just a little ways down the G-code document I have just generated for an Octopus model I am super eager to print on my bot. Want to make an adjustment? You can punch up the code right in ReplicatorG without touching your Start.gcode document.

(**** begin homing ****)
G162 Z F500 (home Z axis maximum)
G161 X Y F2500 (home XY axes minimum)
G92 Z80 ( ---=== Set Z axis maximum ===---)
G92 X-57.5 Y-57 (set zero for X and Y)
(**** end homing ****)

“Hmmm,” you say. “So this is the Homing section. And Set Z axis maximum lists only 80mm for the height of my build envelope. You’d better change that to your bot’s printing height ( 120.3mm) and then save your file!”

Thank you, bot-friend! You have just shown me how to use ReplicatorG to tune and save g-code!2 You can perform this trick right within ReplicatorG or open a plaintext editor and change the file there.

I suggest you take a look at this homing block every time you skein a new model to make sure that the correct value has propagated through. (Sometimes it helps to adjust your z-height by a 10th of a millimeter up or down — that first layer is ultra crucial when you aren’t printing a raft, especially on stepper-driven extruders.)

Do you want to know the handful of G-Code commands every Operator should recognize on sight! Learn more after the jump.

This LumenLab MiCro-kit CNC is also running on G-Code (Photo by Steve Lodefink)

What is G-Code?

G-Code is but the most common name for a cluster of mildly conflicting, diversely-implemented programming languages3 that are typically in use for computer numerical control (CNC) machines. In fact, the actual “G-codes”4 are just a subset, along with M-codes5, and in some implementations all letters are used somewhere in the language.

You see an example of G-code, however briefly, every time you “skein” up a model in ReplicatorG and establish the set of instructions for printing. The “Generate G-code” button remains as a gentle reminder that this is the stuff you really need for 3D printing objects, even if you immediately turn around and process the g-code into a serial printer file format (.S3G) for SD card printing by using the “Build to File” or “Build to SD Card” buttons.

As far as languages go — and as far as implementations of g-code are concerned — the ReplicatorG-flavor of G-code is tremendously simplified, more like BASIC: a list of commands to run in the order that they are listed, with the subroutines and GOTO removed. With a tiny bit of practice, it is quite human readable – if dull reading. A typical document is a long series of G1 command (“Go to this x/y/z position and this speed”) sandwiched between M101 (start extrusion) and M103 (stop extrusion) commands, with all of the fussy machine mode setting and pre-heating and cooling at the head and tail of the print.

G-Code visualization of Triangle Man, Triangle Man pARTymODe script

As all of the fine details including curves tend to be rendered as a series of small segments rather than long straight runs, reading G-code by eye without a G-Code visualizing tool can be difficult. But as the positioning information tends to be absolute, based on a point (X0, Y0, Z0) right at the center, top surface of the build platform, you can look through a script and always know where you are. In an ideal world, you could navigate through to the tiny machine move you’d like to run faster or slower or a little the left and make that change there. In a less ideal world, we tend to tune Skeinforge to make these adjustments for us by triggering python slicing tools analyzing the model for behaviors.

G-Code Cheat Sheet

While next to no one writes G-code manually anymore thanks to the broad range of CAD/CAM tools to generate it having the flexibility to eyeball G-code gives you a little more control over your MakerBot. (Take a look at the ReplicatorG G-Code primer for more!)

Here are the most frequently appearing and useful G-Code calls:

  • G1 – Coordinated Motion
  • G4 – Dwell
  • G21 – Millimeters as units
  • G90 – Absolute Positioning
  • G91 – Incremental Positioning
  • G92 – Set current as home

Here are a few useful M-Codes as well:

  • M0 Automatic halt (not used when printing from SD)
  • M1 Optional halt (not used when printing from SD)
  • M2 End of program (not used when printing from SD)
  • M6 Typically used as “wait for Extruder to heat up” though this is something of a hack.
  • M101 Extruder on, fwd
  • M102 Extruder on, reverse
  • M103 Extruder off
  • M104 S## set temperature in degrees Celsius
  • M105 get extruder temperature
  • M106 turn fan on
  • M107 turn fan off
  • M108 S### extruder speed in PWM
  • M109 S### set build platform temperature in degrees Celsuis

G-Code/M-Code Arguments (follows a G- or M-Code call)

  • X absolute position
  • Y absolute position
  • Z absolute position
  • F feed rate
  • S servo position

G-code Throwdown – Create Your First “partymode” Script

Now that you can recognize most of the common G-Code commands, it is high time you create your first “partymode” script. This could be a tiny bit of music to play at the end of your print. Or a test to make sure that your build platform is perfectly level. Or  tie a pen to your toolhead and turn your MakerBot into a code-fed, manual Etch A Sketch or solve a maze.  (Don’t forget the Thingiverse Tag: “partymode”)

  1. Well, my Cupcake prints do.
  2. Most G-code is practically as simple — thanks to lots and lots of commenting in Skeinforge and the user configurable Start.gcode and End.gcode.
  3. other names/variants include RS-274D, ISO 6983,  RS276NGC, DIN 66025, PN-73M-55256, PN-93/M-5525, or “That Cursed G-Garbage We Put Up With Because Everyone Else Does”
  4. the G + number code “preparatory commands” for telling machine what mode to shift into
  5. M-codes typically control specific tools with the machine such as fans, valves, servos, etc

March 17 2011

If you can’t stand the heat…

Ethan’s recent post about Nick’s experiments with turning down a print bed’s heat to avoid upper layer warping got me thinking…  it seems to me that keeping a heated platform on throughout a print job may not actually be required. 1  When I’ve printed without heat at all, such as on an acrylic surface, I’ve only noticed ABS warping up to about 1cm or so.  After that printed objects tend to just even out.

The GCode command for setting the heated build platform temperature is:

M109 S70 T0

Where “S70″ means heat the platform to 70 degrees Celsius. 2  I honestly don’t know exactly how this GCode works.  It might force your printer to wait until the platform reaches a new temperature before continuing with processing more commands.  While this isn’t a big deal while your extruder is heating up before printing begins, it could be problematic if you try to change your printer’s temperature during a print job.  Even if this command doesn’t force the printing to pause while it changes temperature, there’s still the issue of how to implement it.  You probably don’t want to shut off the print bed’s heat during a short print job or in a print job for an object less than 1cm tall.  In any case, this is an idea and a question for the experimenters, hackers, and RepG/Skeinforge gurus out there.  What do you think?

  1. Doesn’t it just seem ironic that using a heated build platform can eliminate warping at the base only to cause warping farther up a printed object?!
  2. When I heat my build platform to 70 degrees Celsius, PLA sticks to to Kapton like glue.

March 10 2011

Maker.Bot.Party.Mode

Shakespeare's 6th Birthday by Lindsayloveshermac

Are you working your bot too hard? (Is your bot working you too hard?)

Ever wanna just take the night off, spend some quality time with your robot? Maybe toss the ole Calibration Cube between the two of you?

Now you can: partymode

Here is how you do it.

Create a short snip of G-code1 saved as a “.gcode” file, put it in a “partymode” folder, and drop the “partymode” folder into the “scripts” folder within ReplicatorG 24.

Code can be a fun set of movements, a tune, a gesture, a microprint, a neat trick.

Make sure it will play on all MakerBots (don’t play favorites: Thing-O-Matics and Cupcakes are both invited to the party). Test and tune right in the G-code window of ReplicatorG.2 Call the script from here: “File > scripts > partymode.”

Now it is time to throw a party! Hire a caterer! Stock up on 3-IN-ONE oil! Activate your script and get down with your bad self, while your bot is bot-bot-botting along next to you.

Was your party a smash success? Share back!

Was there cake?3 Share your partymode script on Thingiverse. There’s a new tag in Thingiverse-town, and it’s shakin’ all the nation’. partymode

And get your partymode script up by midnight, Wednesday, March 16th and it will be under consideration for inclusion in a “partymode” folder for future ReplicatorG releases.4

This set of short GCode scripts initiates what I hope will be a longstanding practice of creating fun things for your bot to do. Nothing as heavy as extruding much. More dances, gestures, sounds, and neat tricks.

These scripts play well on all MakerBots (I don't play favorites: Thing-O-Matics and Cupcakes are both invited to the party).

Make sure to read the instructions at the top of the code before running each partymode. Your axes might be reversed in a different pattern than mine -- so watch out!

Where are your partymode scripts? And quick utilities? And stupid pranks? Making these things is probably the best way out there to get a firm grasp on essential, human-readable g-code scripting.

They always told me that the future would be fun. And so I made it fun for everyone.

Included in this set:

"Game Anthem Grrarr!"
"MakerBot M Stamper!"
"one turn deserves another"
"Party like a cube"
"sNAKEy dANCe"
"Stirring the Air"
"Triangle Man, Triangle Man"
"Where Is Violin! Is Too So Small!"

This thing brought to you by Thingiverse.com
  1. wanna repeat? throw an M30 at the end — at least until ReplicatorG 25 comes out
  2. Ah, G-code, you are so groovy and human-readable.
  3. I was told there would be cake.
  4. Just make sure these are released as Public Domain or Creative Commons such that commercial releases are permitted!
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