Sunday, May 10, 2009

RepStrap: much better software...

As I have said before, the RepRap host software is not fun to use. There are several reasons for this. First, it's a memory hog and crashes if you are not careful. My workaround for this is to first create the GCode through the host software and then read it back in. Thus, I am really only using the host software for converting 3D STL files to machine instructions GCode. Second, the host software writes very poor GCode. I have experienced axis drifting, random noise, bad layers, and bad prints. I have finally had enough. I spent the first part of the day looking for alternatives.

Skeinforge is a model to GCode converter that was written by Enrique Perez. It is used by Nophead and is the suggested converter of the CupCake. I decided to give it a try. It took me a while to get the hang of it. I now plan on using Skeinforge exclusively.

So far I have noticed the following benefits of printing from GCode that was generated by Skeinforge. When it pauses for cooling between layers it keeps the extruder head moving. This eliminates the head from burning and warping and oozing on the object. Its filler strategy uses less plastic and looks to be stronger. It converts objects faster. The end result is a better print.

I hope to post comparison pictures in a bit.

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