Host software Variations
There are various pieces of software for the Desktop that are helpful for printing. You have the traditional Java-based host software (RepRapHostSoftware). There is also Skeinforge by Enrique. This is software that translates a 3D shape into movement instructions for your RepRap in a very sophisticated way. Also, a new one, which is faster than skeinforge: Slic3r
skein - noun - a length of yarn or thread wound on a reel or swift preparatory for use in manufacturing. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved February 05, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/skein
Skeinforge translates your 3D model to printing instructions (G-Code). G-Code contains the X,Y and Z movements and whether to extrude along certain paths, etc. A G-Code interpreter on an Arduino or Sainguino or some CNC machines can use this code to do the actual printing. At first it may seem daunting because of the many features that are offered, yet the resulting print quality more than makes up for it.
There is a lot more information on the main wiki page.
Skeinforge deals with properties of the FFF process (RepRap's 3D printing process) to increase precision. It has various useful options, such as:
- reducing stringing
- towering (building multiple layers on top of each other before completing the rest of the layer
- create a raft first (against warping / curving of your object)
It can be downloaded via subversion, since it is maintained in this tree. This is a useful mechanism, since it's easy to keep skeinforge up-to-date (simply 'svn up' in the top directory of the repository).
Find it here: [reprap/trunk/reprap/miscellaneous/python-beanshell-scripts]
You can also find documentation in the documentation dir. Give it a look, or use the '?' from the GUI to get help about a topic.
LiveUSB host software implementation
The host software has also been ported to a liveusb implementation, allowing windows and mac users to easily use it! See the Host software liveusb image page for more details.
3D-to-5D-Gcode-php is a GPL'd script written and maintained by Erik de Bruijn. It has many features, the primary function is to convert skeinforge's GCode to GCode that the 5D firmware understands. It adds the E-codes and removes M101, M102 and M103 codes. This free's the firmware from having to do square root calculations. The script can also manipulate GCode according to rules that you define and it can compensate for backlash in your cartesian bot.
The reprap-utils are a set of simple (they do one thing each), self-contained (they have no dependencies and can be easily ported to new operating systems) BSD-licensed (minimal restrictions on what you do with the code) C language (fast and minimal resource usage) tools for controlling and scripting a RepRap machine. Source code, Linux binaries, and (as of this writing untested; if you try them out, please let Ralith on IRC know whether or not they worked) Windows binaries are available on github. The have been designed with the Unix philosophy in mind, and as such can be easily adapted to a wide variety of purposes. The simplest, and most immediately useful, is that of sending gcode to a RepRap (rru-gcode-dump -v -f afilefullof.gcode) or manually controlling one (rru-gcode-gen <some options> | rru-gcode-dump -v).
Slic3r's goals are:
speed easy configuration provide both a graphic interface and a complete command line one open development (hosted on Github to allow for forks, pull request and contributions) new features easy installation (Mac/Win/Linux and no dependencies required)