Can use suggestion for 3D printing on Linux

Hi, I have recently bought my first 3D printer ( hictop 3dp-12 ), and have begun learning about the whole 3D printing thing. Now, I am looking for software that I can run on Linux for, but not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • designing 3D models
  • slicer software ( I’ve heard it is a thing :slight_smile: )
  • remote operation and monitoring
  • software that can detect fire from a pictures taken from a working 3D printer and can be used for kill switch ( that is, if it exist )
  • a g-code, or other variant, simulator ( again if it exist ) so I can test my future designs before actually printing them. I am looking to be able to play with stuff like different first layer specific temperature and thickness, different speeds, different meshing for inner sections and their effects on total printing time, …

So far I know of cura, octoprint, Printrun, and printerface. Seriously I only know that they exist. I haven’t used any of them yet. The only thing that I have printed so far is the test code that came with the printer after spending an entire day figuring out that one can’t actually print on the printer bed as they are. One need to add a adhesive layer first. One think that that should’ve been on the effing box.

Anyway, obviously, I am a total noob. any suggestion, hints, sharing had experiences, anything would be really appreciated.


1 Like

Blender is good for designing models, depending on what you are making.

For simple stuff I find google sketchup really easy to use. I think it can be run using wine, not an ideal solution, but I haven’t found anything on linux that I enjoy using.

Cura is free & should do everything you need. It is very customization once you hit the advanced button & dig into the settings.

Simplify3D is another slicer than runs on linux. It costs a lot, but I hear good things about it. Especially around adding manual supports, something that Cura lacks in my experience.

Cura lets you check your layers before printing to see if anything is going to cause a problem, I’m not aware of anything that simulates a print though. There are too many variables in different printers for something like that to be accurate.

1 Like

This lets you load your objects, slice, and communicate directly with the printer. It comes with Cura and Slic3r, both are very capable slicers. The slicer settings will let you choose things like first layer(s) temps, fans, height, etc.

I’m not aware of anything like this however my current setup uses octoprint which worked with a crappy logitech webcam I had out of the box. You could manually watch prints and end prints if the printer begins to fail.

My process with my Tevo Tarantula kit looks like this:

  1. I either make a part or download one from thingiverse. I use autocad to make parts because its what I know and have but anything that will make a .stl file from your objects should work.
  2. I import the object into the repetier host and position it on the bed.
  3. I use slic3r to slice the file into gcode and save the file to my NAS
  4. I navigate to octoprint in my browser and drag-n-drop the gcode into the webpage where it is loaded and hit print.

The repetier software can be used to communicate directly with your printer. Its compatible with most Prusa designs which your printer appears to be. When you install it you’ll configure it and the slicer of your choosing by telling it your build dimensions, thickness of filament, type of printer, etc. Be prepared to make mistakes starting out. Every printer is different and requires some tweaking to get good results out of it.

Something you may want to do is check facebook groups or forums for that specific printer for firmware updates which sometimes helps with print quality, and for tips on slicer settings. The settings you pick for your slicer can make more difference to print quality than anything really. You can give a noob a super high end printer and prints can still look like shit but give a pro the cheapest kit out there and they can make them look great. You really just have to tweak settings until you figure out what works best, and settings will change depending on what it is you’re printing. There is no one size fits all setting.

1 Like

If you are worried about fire, consider adding some fuses or circuit breakers.
Also a household fire/smoke alarm might do the trick.
It is hard to say what a 3d printer fire would look like. Initially, it might just be arcing and lots of smouldering.

As for simulating a print, you kind of need to get used to the following:
Prints will fail while you are not looking and create sphagetti monsters,
Extruders will jam,
The print will be knocked over or shift,
Supports will leave a mess on your print.

The trick is not to get too frustrated, and to troubleshoot the cause and correct it. Going in with super high expectations may leave you disappointed somewhat.

The whole bed ahesion thing… I guess everyone has a different trick. I never used tape or hairspray. My printer (cocoon create, di3 clone) came with some buildtak like stuff on the aluminium heated build plate. That worked reasonably well. I have since replaced it with some real buildtak and struggle to get parts off it.
Mostly, I make sure the first layer is really pressed onto the build plate. Not so hard that it blocks the nozzle, because then it jams and you get nothing. But i usually leave a very small gap there. I.e. a piece of paper is rubbing between the print head and the plate. There is some minor warping in the aluminium build plate, but I am going through an upgrade to add a induction sensor, so hopefully that will account for it.

1 Like

Thanks for clarification. Before your post, I thought Simplify3D was a modeling software, like blender, but yeah $150 is not an option for me right now. BTW, I loved the pictures that you posted before from your CR-10 and the prints that you made. Your posts, among other ones, were the reason that I finally decided that I need to get one myself. CR-10, as good as it seems to be, was a bit out of my budget, but I like the one I got so far. Anyway, keep posting and hopefully, I’ll do the same at some point :slight_smile:

Thanks for the link, I didn’t know Repetier was free. Also your setup is basically what I had in mind to put in place, based on the stuff that I had read and watched about octoprint. I do have a raspberry Pi 3 that I am gonna connect to the printer. I’ve also ordered its camera which I should get tomorrow. So the plan was to use the RPI with its cammera as a command and control and monitoring station. I was just wondering if there was a better option. Also , I didn’t know about slic3r, so good tip there, thanks. I will check it out.

Speaking of firmware, has anyone here tried using marlin by any chance? This might end up being a stupid thing to ask on my part as there is a chance that my printer actually comes with marlin by default ( the screen shots from marlin looks identical to what I have on my printer ) , but I’d love to hear from people who have switched their firmware to marlin anyway. Specially if they could provide some feed back about advantages and disadvantages of using marlin compare to their stock firmware.

Anyway, thanks for explaining your setup. That definitely gave me a better picture of what I was going to get myself into :wink:

Yeah, I have seen people doing it, but for the life of me, I can’t imagine how it would be beneficial for preventing fire. It would definitely be useful for protecting your board against a malfunctioning power supply, maybe, but preventing fire? maybe I don’t have a correct picture in mind. I imagine that one could end up with fire in one of these scenarios: either something that should or should not have been on the heated bed just flares up just due to the bed’s temperature or contact with the nozzle head, or, due to a failed fan or a jammed nozzle or a failed temperature sensor the whole extruder just keeps getting hotter and hotter until eventually it gets caught on fire. Neither of those situation would have any impact on the amount of current. how would a fuse be helpful here? what am I missing?

That is actually a brilliant Idea. I might be able to rig the buzzer of an existing alarm to some GPIO ports on RPI and use that as a trigger mechanism. There is probably even fire/smoke sensors already available for a RPI. I can also use a relay hat to just kill the power at the first sign of trouble. Thanks man, that definitely sounds like a plan worth investigating :smile:

I have absolutely no expectation for great prints. not immediately anyway. I knew this is going to be a journey. I specifically got a kit so that I can learn from putting it together and that I can later do modification and try different parts and see what works and what didn’t . I bought this not for doing print, but for learning about 3d printing. I am not gonna be disappointed. This is fun :slight_smile:

As for the adhesion thing, my frustration was really with the documentation ( isn’t it always? ). My kit did come with an induction sensor actually and limit switch for X and Y axes ( they should have included one for Z as well, that is gonna be an upgrade ) and the firmware does support auto leveling, but also, the manual had a section about it, so I knew that I had to do it, so I did it. there was not a single word in that 200 page manual about the adhesion thingy thou. All the while that I was assembling it I was wondering why they have included a roll of tape? they also had included a wire cutter, so I thought they were just being through. Then I spend the entire Sunday trying to figure out what I have done wrong. I disassembled and reassembled the extruder 3 times. Hardest part was that I didn’t even know what it is that I am trying to fix.I finally found the answer online by accident after I basically gave up. This whole situation would have been avoided by just adding two sentences to that manual.

Anyway, hairspray worked fine. I have already ordered some pads, and I am gonna try glue sticks as well. I didn’t use the tape because I spent hours making sure the nozzle head and induction sensors are adjusted in a way that auto leveling would put the nozzle exactly the thickness of a paper above the bed, and I wasn’t going to add extra height that would not be detected by the sensor and would mess with my alignment on that bed.But, I am sure, I’ll try it as some point.

I guess I rambled long enough. I had a few drinks, and I needed to vent. Thanks for the opportunity :slight_smile:

I use marlin on my printer. 1.1.0 rc8 set up for my printer specifically. You might have to change a few things depending on how your steppers are set up and whatnot. Marlin is what came on my printer as well. I have a sneaking suspicion that my tevo tarantula kit has a roughly identical board and setup to your kit. If that is indeed true, you are already on marlin…just set up specifically for your printer.

Check your control board for info about the main chip thats on it. Mine is an “arduino mega AT####” (cant remember the numbers right now) which meant I could flash firmware with the arduino IDE. If yours is similar I could help you customize your firmware for your printer since marlin may not work correctly out of the box but is easily tweaked.

yes the board is an ATmega2560 and it indeed is using merlin. I don’t know what version though. don’t know if it is possible to look it up form the LCD. There is a v2 firmware on the HICTOP website as well, but I don’t know what merlin version that is and how to check if it is already installed or not.

Go download the latest Arduino IDE and connect the board up. Its been a minute since I’ve messed with it so I dont remember exactly what you need to get it connected but I dont remember it being hard to figure out. You should be able to make a backup of the firmware thats on it and find out from that. If hictop did it right there should be notes in your configuration.h

Circuit breakers will help isolate the system if there are any electrical shorts. Either intentional or otherwise.
Say, a stepper driver shorts out causing increased current flow, that will heat things up, melt wires causing more things to short out etc. Then fire.

I am in the process of upgrading my dead 3d printer controller with a atmega 2560 running ramps v1.4 driver board, and the repetier firmware. I have added two blade fuses, one for the heat bed and one for the rest of the system. Cheap and easy to replace. Circuit breakers would be nicer, but that is further down the track. I have already gone through 3 or 4 testings things and getting it set up. Stupid cheap chinese diodes.

Yeah seems to be the go, if you have an induction sensor you may not need a lower z limit switch. I still have one because I don’t fully trust the induction sensor I have just installed. But it makes no sense for the z limit switch to trip before the induction sensor does, so it should be the lowest physical point of travel.
Some even wire in a z max limit switch, if the firmware supports it. Not a bad idea. The repetier firmware seems to like probing the z max switch when doing an autocal, as I found out. Not sure why yet, think it is something to do with not having a lower limit swich and no point of reference. Or something.

Yep! This is how it goes. I had a bunch of failed prints because the blower fan i installed cooling down the print was also cooling down the print head too much, causing the filament to solidify and jam up. Run it at 60% max now.

Custom 3d printers is a real rabbit hole, you can add so many sensors for things. Such as rotary encoders that measure the filament travel through the extruder stepper, for detecting jams or out of filament situations.

I have probably had more fun tinkering and customising my 3d printer than I have had printing stuff.

@Adubs do I need a “board driver”? I know I had to install one for ESP boards, and I don’t see ATmega in boards menu. do you have a link for it?

@anon54210716 I didn’t know repetier had a firmware as well. How would you say it differs from Merlin?

I didn’t have to install a driver because I was on w10 and it just worked out of the box. I’ve never used mine with Linux so I’m no help there man. Sorry.

I do know it’s an ftdi setup so USB to serial is what you need to get working.

No idea if this will work for you or not. I would think Linux would work out of the box with it as well. If that’s the case you just need to plug in your settings for serial communication, baud rate, and port. In windows this is a com port but I think in Linux you would have dev/ttyUSB# instead. My raspi with octoprint autodetects and runs out of the box with it. That’s the only Linux box I’ve used with my printer and I had to do nothing to get it working. I’ve never touched the back end, it just werkz.

Sorry I wasn’t clear. I meant driver or what ever they are called for the arduino IDE. you know you go to tools menu and then boards and then you see a list of boards? I don’t see ATmega2560 in that list. I had to install some files through, I think, board manager so that the IDE would recognize my ESP boards. I was asking if I have to do a similar thing here?

This is what mine looks like.

1 Like

I wish this existed. There’s layer-based error correction on some industrial printers, but that hasn’t filtered down to the RepRap or hobbyist community yet. There’s a FOSS project going on right now to do proper step correction with optical sensors, but error correction for the hobbyist level is a long way off.

@kaveh If you’re looking for a killswitch, look into using the GPIO pins on a raspberry pi running Octoprint to controll a relay to shut the printer on/off. Here’s a decent guide on how that’s done.

Additionally, if fire is a concern (or if you bought an A8, which makes fire a concern), you can always just get one of these:

That is exactly what I was going to do. Thanks for the links

1 Like

I couldn’t tell you the differences between repetier and marlin firmware. They both probably came from the same base code.
Check out this list:

If you want to know more about repetier, check out this link, it allows you to configure the firmware before you download it. It runs through all the features. It is fairly indepth.

To be honest, Marlin will be just fine unless you’re trying to run a Delta at 300mm/s on larger parts (>40MB files). If you’re setting up a cartesian printer, Marlin will do everything you need and then some.

I’d worry about digging into the temperature settings, adhesion issues (hair spray and blue tape will help), and learning slicing parameters.

Get good with slic3r before you bother to update to Simplify3D. The S3D supports are amazing, but the price tag isn’t welcoming to someone new to 3D printing.