Well, I’m not the person that you should ask about for technical advice when working with a 3D printer, but when we are talking about the software area, yeah, I can answer a few questions.
Since I follow the ideology of the open source / free software when I’m working with 3D printers, I will talk to you about a some printer hosts that exists, and are open source.
I’ve had a little interview with a friend, asking him about the advantages and disadvantages about each of these printer hosts.
Repetier Host – C# – printer hosts
At least here, in Brazil, it´s the most common printer host. But since the 0.95 version, they closed the code.
But since you can still find the source code on github, I will talk about it.
Intuitive interface, clean and agile, good visualization of the g-code, and a good connection with the external slicers used. Good integration with 3dprinters that use the Repetier Firmware.
Use of old versions of slicers, have some problems to run on gnu/linux environment because of the Mono library, a virtual machine for C#.
Matter Control – C# – Github – printer hosts
A lot of options of settings, good workflow on printer jobs, it has his own slicer and you can choose that one or other slicers.
A bit slow and heavy, with bugs, the settings menu isn’t intuitive to use, and suffers with the same problem that Repetier on gnu/linux environment.
Pronter Face – Python – Github – printer hosts
Light, compact and agile interface, with everything that you need to control the 3d printer and it’s easy to use some of the more advanced settings.
Don’t have the possibility to slice a model, the user interface is ugly and not intuitive, the widgets don’t have a good positioning and sizes, and to little flexibility on resizing the window.
Well, once I’ve said that I will explain to you, why me and my team are working with a new printer host.
Since the Repetier is the most used printer host, we ran into a lot of problems, because when we run Repetier Host on linux, sometimes it gets really messed up. The program consume a high level of memory when the printer job is running, because the 3d visualization have problems when rendering. Sometimes the program just closes at your face, and you lose your printing. This problem was mostly caused by Mono, that doesn’t have any stability with linux kernels.
But, to be more clear, what is Mono?
Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. Resuming, a virtual machine to run C# code on gnu/linux.
As expected, this doesn’t work very well, and if you are using Repetier or MatterControl on Linux, I think you will understand me.
And like you see, 2 of the 3 programs are written with C#.
So we have the idea to write a new printer host. With the vision to make an easy to expert maker or a newbie one to use a 3dprinter. And most important, using C++, to have more control about what is happening and when is happening.
So far we have made a good job, we implemented with success the most basic tools that a user needs to operate a 3dprinter. And we think that until the end of this year, we will be able to release a beta version with a user interface featuring the most intuitive buttons and access to all the tools.
Using C++, is an advantage when operating the existing printer hosts and building the new one. And we will be capable to run in all platforms because Qt is a toolkit multi-platform. Write once, runs everywhere(I really enjoy that phrase!).