# What 3d printer software should I use?

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
I just broke out my 3D printer that's been in a box since 2013. It is some kind of prusa or prusa clone IIRC. Mendel? I3? these terms come to mind. I remember very little but it is slowly coming back. When I last used it the software was called Slicer and Pronterface. I tried to find among my backups the last known successful software combo but could not find it. So I need to download some software but I'm not sure what to download. I assume I need some older version of software to work with my older version of controller? Maybe not? I have no loyalty to that combination of software as I wouldn't even remember how to use it. I'm sure something better has come along since then. Maybe something that works with all the controllers, even older ones like mine? What do you recommend? My control board is marked as follows:
Printrboard
Rev. E
Printrbot.com
Www.reprap.me

IIRC this printer board was based on arduino. In order to set parameters I had to connect to with the Arduino Wiring software and download to it like you would to an arduino.

Help!
Thanks!

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,881
I've been working with Ultimaker Cura with my filament-type 3D printer and I'm quite pleased with it. Have you checked this thread of mine?

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
I've been working with Ultimaker Cura with my filament-type 3D printer and I'm quite pleased with it. Have you checked this thread of mine?
I haven't looked at your thread. I haven't been interested in 3D printingin quite some time. I will look at it now that I have a renewed interest.

I checked out ultimaker Cura. It seemed only for Ultimaker printers, but I assumed you would not recommend it if that were the case so I downloaded it and found that it has quite an exhaustive list of printers it will work with. I wasn't able to find my Printrboard Rev. E in the list, so I chose what seemed like the next closest thing, "Printrbot Play (heated Bed)." I was surprised that with no fidgeting around with virtual COM ports or any kind of connection wizards at all, it immediately was talking to my printer. So far I have only turned on the heated bed and extruder, and played with the Z-Axis but I think I am well on my way with this. I suspect this "Printrbot Play" is a newer model of my board and hopefully there won't be any issues. Thank you for the help!

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,427
Here is a mod we did to my son's printer. It is basically similar to yours. Tying the 2xZ motor screw threads together made a big difference to it.
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3542355
Thingiverse is very slow at the moment.
Oh, I use Cura on my 3 printers. All different brands and designes.

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
In Cura is there a way to apply support structures to specific areas of a model but not others?

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,881
In Cura is there a way to apply support structures to specific areas of a model but not others?
Yes, there is. But right now my 3d printer's out of commission (I'm relocating my shop) so I can't give you specifics. Do a little exploring around in Cura and I'm sure you'll find it.

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
PSA: WD40 apparently eats PLA. So if your 3D printer is made of 3d printed PLA parts, don't get WD40 on it. Or else your 3D printer will start coming apart.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,881
PSA: WD40 apparently eats PLA. So if your 3D printer is made of 3d printed PLA parts, don't get WD40 on it. Or else your 3D printer will start coming apart.
That's one of the reasons why all of my prints are made with abs.

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
That's one of the reasons why all of my prints are made with abs.
I bought the kit from a college student "back in the day" (it's ancient relative to the pace of hobbyist 3D printer development). Back then PLA was the #1 filament I believe. ABS wasn't exactly experimental, but I don't think it was exactly mainstream either. I fancied myself as being on the cutting edge printing with nylon LOL.

My filaments are all 7 years old and have been sitting in my non-climate-controlled garage all this time. My ABS prints are very weak. IIRC they were weak 7 years ago too, but not this weak. Printing in nylon yields stronger parts but they are hideous; it's as if I'm extruding water saturated yarn. A constant cloud of steam from my nozzle, fizzing, popping, boiling. I tried T-glase (clear high-temp PET), results even worse.

I tried baking all my filaments in the oven at 175f for 8 hrs, improvements were not noticeable. Maybe slightly less boiling in the nylon. Maybe slightly better quality and strength from ABS. Hard to tell for either. I've put them back into the oven at 180f and will leave them 12+hrs and try again.

Is there more to this than just moisture absorption? Can the filaments actually degrade with age? I should order new filaments but I'm not sure if I would be able to get them in the midst of coronapocalypse.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,881
I bought the kit from a college student "back in the day" (it's ancient relative to the pace of 3D printer development). Back then PLA was the #1 filament I believe. ABS wasn't exactly experimental, but I don't think it was exactly mainstream either. I fancied myself as being on the cutting edge printing with nylon LOL.

My filaments are all 7 years old and have been sitting in my non-climate-controlled garage all this time. My ABS prints are very weak. IIRC they were weak 7 years ago too, but not this weak. Printing in nylon yields stronger parts but they are hideous; it's as if I'm extruding water saturated yarn. A constant cloud of steam from my nozzle, fizzing, popping, boiling. I tried T-glase (clear high-temp PET), results even worse.

I tried baking all my filaments in the oven at 175f for 8 hrs, improvements were not noticeable. Maybe slightly less boiling in the nylon. Maybe slightly better quality and strength from ABS. Hard to tell for either. I've put them back into the oven at 180f and will leave them 12+hrs and try again.

Is there more to this than just moisture absorption? Can the filaments actually degrade with age? I should order new filaments but I'm not sure if I would be able to get them in the midst of coronapocalypse.
Yes, filaments actually degrade with age, as all plastics do. And seven years is enough time for said degradation to begin to show.

One thing to take into consideration is that all filament-type prints are layered, and therefore have a grain direction in which it behaves as a strong material, and another one in which it's weak. Exactly like wood. Also, those layers leave quite a bit of empty space between them, although it's almost invisible to the eye.

It was for those reasons that I switched to a liquid resin 3d printer... and now the problem I have to deal with is the distortion of the parts.

#### strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,226
Yes, filaments actually degrade with age, as all plastics do. And seven years is enough time for said degradation to begin to show.

One thing to take into consideration is that all filament-type prints are layered, and therefore have a grain direction in which it behaves as a strong material, and another one in which it's weak. Exactly like wood. Also, those layers leave quite a bit of empty space between them, although it's almost invisible to the eye.

It was for those reasons that I switched to a liquid resin 3d printer... and now the problem I have to deal with is the distortion of the parts.
Good to know. I will order some new filament.

I am well aware of the grain; grain and I go way back. You might remember my open source prosthetic hand project years ago. That is why I bought the 3D printer. I found 3D printed parts, due to the grain, to be wholly unsuitable for such an application. I decided the only way forward was injection molding or CNC milling. That was the birth of my interest in CNC. I am uniquely backwards in my path I think, with most people's progression being from CNC to 3D printing.

Before I gave up on 3D printing however, I tried to instigate interest in collaborative development of a standardized strength test unique to 3D printed parts, and with particular focus on layer adhesion. This way results could be shared across the internet and trends could be observed. Particular materials, particular heat settings, speed settings, etc. Enough data compiled from enough sources could establish best practices. Because at the time, the hobby 3D printing community seemed to be in disarray. It was the wild west, everyone doing something different and demonstrating the superiority of their part's strength by the exceedingly scientific methods of smash-in-the-vise, smash-with-the-hammer, and my personal favorite, run-over-with-Honda. There seemed to be zero interest in adopting the test I designed or anything of the sort. People were very content to print chess pieces that could be smashed with a 10lb hammer but not a 1lb hammer. I was dumbfounded by the lack of interest in making functional parts with consistent and quantifiable properties. Very disappointed.

Tell me, have things changed? Is there any collective effort to standardize? Are there any measurements of part strength? Does anyone make useful parts or are we still focused on ornamental trinkets?

You mention liquid resin. When I was into it before, this was pretty much a pipe dream. There was one hobbyist liquid resin 3D printer and it was piece of [expletive]. It received commands from a headphone jack, had a build area no bigger than a pill bottle, and the parts that came out looked like molten turds. I take it things have improved? How many dollars/pesos does it take to get into that game? What's the deal with distortion?

#### MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
20,880
Quality comes with a price. If you are looking for industrial strength components take a look at Markforged.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
6,881
Tell me, have things changed? Is there any collective effort to standardize? Are there any measurements of part strength? Does anyone make useful parts or are we still focused on ornamental trinkets?
I'm not aware of any standardized testing on that industry. And I've seen people make "useful" parts in the sense of visualization of prototypes before they go into injection molding, or even the fabrication of metallic parts. Other than that, most people just make trinkets.

I take it things have improved?
Things have indeed improved in the field of liquid resin 3d printing.

How many dollars/pesos does it take to get into that game?
About $600 bucks total. That'd be$450.00 dlls for the printer, and the rest will be spent on resins, auxiliary stuff, and S&H. I strongly suggest you take a closer look at my thread, starting here. If you're in a hurry, you can ignore other people's messages and just read through mine. Those messages are practically a log of my progress.

What's the deal with distortion?
The problem with distortion is that (even though it appears to completely dry after a day or so.) the resin I've been working so far with takes a long, long time to absolutely and completely cure. Something in the order of 2 to 3 months I believe. And the pieces slowly distort through that process. But the parts are extremely strong, and they can be later machined if one were to require greater precision.