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alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley

Posted by Yonderboy 
alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley
September 10, 2012 02:47AM
And while I'm asking questions... here's another.

Are there any other alternate approaches for generating the G-code from .STLs?

I've been using the endorsed workflow of creating the G-code using Slic3r v0.7.2b (both the Windows and MacOS builds). Generally speaking it works very well... but I have the recurring problem that whenever I throw a very complex model at it (anything with lots of polys) it says "Processing triangulated mesh", then the app allocates a ton of memory (1.5GB in the Windows version, 3.0GB in the MacOS version)... and then it just locks up, and stops responding. Perhaps the newer versions of Slic3r would process them better, but I know that there are other problems with current Slic3r preventing us from using them.

I've been using Netfabb and Netfabb Cloud to clean up or scale models, but I haven't figured out whether it or any other app can effectively simplify the models... not that I'm sure that simplifying the model will help, but the model's complexity seems to be the common thread here. It locks up any time the model its complex enough... here's a good example of one that others have successfully printed but Slic3r kacks on every time: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:22734

I've chatted with GeraldO about his experiences many times. Since he prints with a Makerbot Replicator, he uses RepG which processes using Skeinforge. It sounds problematic in some ways but that software does allow him to auto duplicate parts and fill his build platform much easier than my approach. I assume that his software can only be used with a Makerbot... but is there anything else that we can successfully use with a Tantillus? Frustration with Slic3r is significant. angry smiley
Re: alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley
September 10, 2012 03:08AM
Woah crazy looking! Math art is weird. In fact math and art in the same object is a rather new concept for me.

Does this help?
Re: alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley
September 10, 2012 07:55AM
You can use alternative G-code generators like Skeinforge, KISSlicer, and others.

The challenge will be to come up with a settings that work well. Unfortunately each of the generators seem to use a different approach to modelling the plastic extrusion process, so you can't just copy the Slicer settings and past them into KISSlicer. I've tried using Skeinforge, but gave up because it is incredibly slow and frustrating. Having to wait hours for it to process a part and then realizing that I wanted to make a change and had to wait for another few hours before I got useable gcode out of it was just too exasperating.

Brad's Slicer settings files are designed to give good results from the get-go. But you can certainly use other generators.

Lem Fugitt
3D Printing Dreams
Robots Dreams
"The map is not the territory."
Re: alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley
September 10, 2012 01:56PM
Get Skeinforge with PyPy. IT is much faster than Skeinforge with Python, alsmost as fast as Slic3r in fact. I recommend using Repetier Host, it comes with Skeinforge with PyPy and Slic3r integrated. Even if you don't use it to control the printer, it has an excellent interface for plating parts and viewing resultant gcode. [github.com]

Skeinforge does take a bit of playing with to figure out all the settings, but it is one of the best gcode generators out there.

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Re: alternate options for generating G-code? confused smiley
September 10, 2012 02:35PM
Basically what has been said here is the truth. You can use anything you like but setting it up will take a while. Like newPerfection said Skeinforge with pypy is faster but not if you turn off your computer because of how pypy works. It actually speeds up Python by doing a bunch of work when you first slice something and then keeps it in memory, but when you restart your computer it loses it and you have a slow first slice again. For a simplified version of it you can use Cura (Skeinforge cleaned up and with pypy).

I personally gave up on Skeinforge when I would start it slicing and slice the same part with Slic3r print the part, re-slice it with Slic3r and re-print it all while SF was still slicing. Its not that Skeinforge is a better slicer it just has hundreds of options that allow you to compensate for poor machine design/construction which has enabled other machines to print well.

You can also reduce the poly count as you suspected by using a program like Meshlab or Blender. In Blender you import the file and then select it. You then go into the modifier menu and select Decimate. At that point you can select how much decimation should be done. I find setting it to 0.99 can make a drastic change. Then you export the stl and run it through nettfab again.

I know the memory issue has been a problem for Slic3r through out its entire life and I am not sure if it has been fixed yet.

The only other slicer I would recommend would be Kissslicer but as Lem said it is confusing because it does not use the same terms to describe the settings. This is a result of it being written for BFB machines which use Axxion which is derived from a really old SF release way before volumetric extrusion. I have no experience with it because I only run open source software on my machines and he is keeping it closed. But the results from those that use it (like Billy Zelsnack) speak volumes. It has some neat feature like wipe where it goes back over the end of the path slightly before a travel move to ensure there is no blob or mark from plastic being dragged away during a travel move.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2012 03:18PM by Sublime.

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