Author Topic: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review  (Read 53502 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 01:48:23 pm »
34:30, you somehow accidentally pressed the button twice. I think they need a little debounce for that rubber pad. Not that it matters much, but the missed message says "I'm going to move the extruder to various positions for adjustment."
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Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 01:55:08 pm »
Methinks the screws nearest the front window needs some adjustment, especially the left one.  ;)
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Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 02:56:50 pm »
Thought i'd take a look at the software to see if a dumb guy like me could use this and how hard it woud be to read a STL file and drive this thing. Might save me some money. I need some custom cases (i'm still not sold on the build quality of these 3d extruders. The outside is rough and brittle. Just look at the text uCurrent. It's not crisp and got weird bits sticking out of the side. same for the bottom. The strange thing is that these printers create perfectly fine polished inside surfaces. but the outside looks like crap. And it's the outside that is shown to the user ... opposite world. anyway, i need some complex injection molding case and my interest was piqued by the replicator since i don't have to assemble it, it comes prebuit and tested.

So , thought i'd install the driving program and see what it takes and what it can read and if it is easy and intuitive to use.

First problem : On the makerbot website there is no download link. It took me a while to figure out where to download it. Come on guys. why is there no big fat DOWNLOAD button on the main menu of your website with the link. why do i need to resort to a search engine to find it ? that's just dumb and sloppy. slightly annoyed by now...

During install : says it can't find python. fair enough , i don't have python. So i click the link. webpage opens. sweet ...

another dilemma : do i need 2.xx or 3.xx ? not a hint anywhere in sight. Installer screen doesn;t mention required version either... after 15 minutes puttering around on their wiki and forums i finally find an install explanation document: need 2.7.2  (slightly grumpy by now i had to more legwork to find some bit of info that should have been provided. )  .. well only 2.7.3 is there .. what now ? ( slightly more grumpy that there is another 'hoop' to jump through)

So i install that version. so far so good.

Back to replicatorg . Still can't find python. exit. relaunch . still can't find python. (elevated grumpyness now. i just installed it you piece of junk installer.) Oh well, i'll skip and guess i'll have to figure out how to do the assign directory .. sigh .. more stuff i gotta find an answer for ... (grumpyness gets another boost)

Install continues ok. (grupyness backdown a notch) then more problems. Unsigned drivers. Three of em... one for arduino two for makerbot industries. So i click cancel. i do not allow unsigned drivers on my computers. period. grumpyness spikes back up ... end of excercise.

[rant mode on]
1) When is the damned broken sauce community going to employ turnkey installers ? Give me 1 file that contains everything that is needed. i don't wanna have to collect stuff from other locations, i don't wanna read documentation or have to resort to web for an answer. I don't want to figure out what versions of what modules i need and where to find them.
Put it all in 1 zip file and give me a setup.exe with 1 click.  This is a commercially sold product. Shoddy work ! and don't give me lip about larger zip files. i need to download all the other stuff anyway. Disk space is cheap. I don't need another dll-hell like system. Throw everything that is needed in 1 directory under the %program files% path. ( python insists to write itself in c:\python . i refuse that.  retrieve the %program files% path and make yourself a directory in there and nest there. That is the way it should work. not hardcoded paths. and stay out of my c disk root path.

2) Sign your damn drivers !
[/rant mode off]

end experiment.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 03:00:48 pm by free_electron »
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Offline spyderjacks

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 03:03:58 pm »
For sure, the 'squiggly' bits in the raft are due to poor alignment at the front.  The front-left corner lifting up is also likely due to alignment problem.  I think the print head has to squirt against the platform, not simply lay it down.  The longer the drop, the more cooling and squiggles. 

Maybe it would go better if the corners were aligned first, rather than starting in the middle.  This might mean adjusting only a single knob, instead of two.  And then repeat the whole process a second time.  That would seem to work better.

A small piece of paper, 1" by 2" is more than enough.  This is a standard technique when aligning metalworking tooling.  You want to advance you tool (raise the platform in this case) until the paper just drags.  You are not trying simply for clearance - you want all 4 points to be a paper-thickness from the platform - and then the whole platform will be level.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 03:59:50 pm »
Yes, it's the built platform adjustment causing the wiggles. Was obvious after the video.
Fixed now and working a treat.

Dave.
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 04:51:19 pm »
Go on Dave, tell the new bot to make the cylinder. Go on. You know you want to!

I'd like to see what's inside that underneath part also. And I agree about the thing having a separate power pack. Dumb. Staring at my HP printer with it's own separate power supply lump. 

 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 05:02:07 pm »
[rant mode on]
1) When is the damned broken sauce community going to employ turnkey installers ? Give me 1 file that contains everything that is needed. i don't wanna have to collect stuff from other locations, i don't wanna read documentation or have to resort to web for an answer. I don't want to figure out what versions of what modules i need and where to find them.
Put it all in 1 zip file and give me a setup.exe with 1 click. 
They're not going to do that. GPL forbids it. You may technically (at least to my understanding) not bundle GPL licensed software together with software that is not GPL licensed. This is part of the political aspect of the GPL, to put a burden on people who want to close their source code, much like the open source community feels that commercial vendors are.

Looking closer this is not a problem with Python, however. I'm guessing they ust want to encourage you to use the latest available version of Python at any given time. (There may be other required parts that are indeed licensed under the GPL, though.)
2) Sign your damn drivers !
[/rant mode off]
Signing drivers costs money and is tedious. But, what drivers related to the Makerbot have signing problems? The only drivers I could find mentioned in conjunction with the project are the stock FTDI drivers, which are signed by FTDI and should not be a problem.
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Offline Slothie

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 05:05:42 pm »
I have a dozen or so of those power supply lumps under my desk. I still haven't worked out a decent answer to that problem. Spme of them get quite warm, so putting them all in a box with a multi way socket isn't an answer.
They are messy but they do keep the toes warm on a cold morning!
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2012, 05:10:02 pm »
They're not going to do that. GPL forbids it.

I don't think there is anything to stop you providing an original install kit for something like Python as long as you don't modify it or pretend you own it. Just deliver it as is and provide attribution of the source as appropriate.
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Online Psi

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2012, 05:36:16 pm »
Two pieces of those sticky velcro sheets would solve the power supply transport issue.
The whole psu box could be attached to the back of the unit.


They are messy but they do keep the toes warm on a cold morning!

Until your toes manage to slip under a mains plug, lifting it out of the socket and making toe contact with the conductors.  (hehe, zap)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 05:39:00 pm by Psi »
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Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2012, 05:39:03 pm »
They're not going to do that. GPL forbids it.

I don't think there is anything to stop you providing an original install kit for something like Python as long as you don't modify it or pretend you own it. Just deliver it as is and provide attribution of the source as appropriate.

Yeah it kind of depends on who you're asking. Richard Stallman would say that you'd burn in hell if you dare to mix drinks. Actually he says you shouldn't use any code that does not have accompanying source but that's another issue.

I don't know why it is but OSS (open source software) normally does have the fragmentation issue for numerous reasons. The goal of a project coder is for a software package to do one thing and do one thing well. The trick is to get it to couple with other software without breaking this tenant.

Packagers on the other hand have the laborious task of putting all this together, testing and juggling various licences among packages and serving up the "one click" solution that proprietary software users are used to.

Instead of the one click solution, what is needed is a separate tool that checks for correctly installed pieces, tests each one and reports what is missing. That would have hilighted the junk software that Dave had to reinstall (!) and saved all that custard chucking.

edit: I wanted "separate". I typed "seperte" and the browser spell checker suggested "perverter"  :o

 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 05:40:12 pm »
Two pieces of those sticky velcro sheets would solve the power supply transport issue.
The whole psu box could be attached to the back of the unit.

Nar, hot glue gun is the ticket!

Quote
They are messy but they do keep the toes warm on a cold morning!



Until your toes manage to slip under a mains plug, lifting it out of the socket and making toe contact with the conductors.  (hehe, zap)

Yow!
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2012, 06:21:03 pm »
Solved a few of the wall wart issues the easy way. I added an external lead acid battery to the UPS ( original died a short and lonely death from overheating and gas loss, and was only a 3AH unit with a non standard footprint) and used the nice external 12V now available to run the ADSL modem instead of connecting it to the supplied 12V wall wart, which would keep disconnecting from the socket. The 5W draw from the modem has no effect on the UPS charger. Next added an extra battery, and will add more parallel capacitance as well to handle aging batteries.
 

Offline ejeffrey

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2012, 06:28:05 pm »
They're not going to do that. GPL forbids it. You may technically (at least to my understanding) not bundle GPL licensed software together with software that is not GPL licensed.

That is not true at all.  There is no restriction on distributing GPL software except that you have to make the source available as well.  There is no restriction on bundling it with any other software: plenty of commercial software packages include GPL tools along side, and do so perfectly legally.  For instance, many commercial microcontroller dev platforms include GCC compilers does this.

The limitation on the GPL is making derived works.  If you modify some GPL software, or include GPL code in your application, the derived work needs to be open source.  This condition applies no matter how you distribute it.
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2012, 07:07:41 pm »
Solved a few of the wall wart issues the easy way. I added an external lead acid battery to the UPS ( original died a short and lonely death from overheating and gas loss, and was only a 3AH unit with a non standard footprint) and used the nice external 12V now available to run the ADSL modem instead of connecting it to the supplied 12V wall wart, which would keep disconnecting from the socket. The 5W draw from the modem has no effect on the UPS charger. Next added an extra battery, and will add more parallel capacitance as well to handle aging batteries.

Just thinking out aloud here. My ups has battery terminals you should not touch. I forget now which one but I'm pretty sure one of the battery terminals is connected directly to one of the 240v outlet terminals.

Powering the router and then connecting Ethernet cable to a computer also connected to the ups might make computer make magic smoke? Yes?

And the telephone line is grounded also isn't it?

Worrying.

 ???
 

Offline amvakar

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2012, 07:20:00 pm »
They're not going to do that. GPL forbids it.

I don't think there is anything to stop you providing an original install kit for something like Python as long as you don't modify it or pretend you own it. Just deliver it as is and provide attribution of the source as appropriate.

Yeah it kind of depends on who you're asking. Richard Stallman would say that you'd burn in hell if you dare to mix drinks. Actually he says you shouldn't use any code that does not have accompanying source but that's another issue.

I don't know why it is but OSS (open source software) normally does have the fragmentation issue for numerous reasons. The goal of a project coder is for a software package to do one thing and do one thing well. The trick is to get it to couple with other software without breaking this tenant.

Packagers on the other hand have the laborious task of putting all this together, testing and juggling various licences among packages and serving up the "one click" solution that proprietary software users are used to.

Instead of the one click solution, what is needed is a separate tool that checks for correctly installed pieces, tests each one and reports what is missing. That would have hilighted the junk software that Dave had to reinstall (!) and saved all that custard chucking.

edit: I wanted "separate". I typed "seperte" and the browser spell checker suggested "perverter"  :o
That attitude of the separate tool is what makes open source software so terrible. The OSS community has decided that it is more fun to write new code and abstraction layers than follow standards, fix bugs or maintain mature projects to a level that a commercial tool could rely on them. Requiring a separate tool to maintain dependencies is completely inexcusable when the standard Windows behavior has been codified for many years and works quite well.
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2012, 07:36:53 pm »
As an end user I don't give a toss about the various license nonsense - I just want the damn thing to work with minimum fuss. Even if there are some restrictions on distribution, it would still be possible to have an installer go get whatever it needs and install it automatically.
Having it stop part way saying something else needs installing is just inexcusable - it should check at the start that it has what's needed.
The issue with the double press on the button skipping a page is just ridiculous - this, and other details like not suppressing leading zeroes on the temp display make it look like it's been rushed out with inadequate testing.
I'm surprised they still use a text display - if they are going to the trouble of a custom display, why not some nice graphics, maybe a touchscreen. Cost difference would probably have been covered by leaving out the wanky RGB LED strip.
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Offline Ed.Kloonk

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2012, 07:43:29 pm »

I'm surprised they still use a text display - if they are going to the trouble of a custom display, why not some nice graphics, maybe a touchscreen. Cost difference would probably have been covered by leaving out the wanky RGB LED strip.

You can bet that these features are in the works. The UI is obviously a hard problem to solve, but harder still has been the actual printing mechanism to work with some sort of reliability. Now that seems mostly solved I reckon the thing can go gang busters with add ons and various models.

 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2012, 08:08:39 pm »
I'm surprised they still use a text display - if they are going to the trouble of a custom display, why not some nice graphics, maybe a touchscreen. Cost difference would probably have been covered by leaving out the wanky RGB LED strip.

Maybe not at the volumes they are talking (thousand's). But on such a complex machine, it's probably moot anyway.
I would say a graphic display and touch screen would be overkill. I'd much rather see the text display and tact buttons personally.
Spend more resources on more important things than a graphical GUI.

Dave.
 

Offline ejeffrey

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2012, 08:21:50 pm »
Instead of the one click solution, what is needed is a separate tool that checks for correctly installed pieces, tests each one and reports what is missing. That would have hilighted the junk software that Dave had to reinstall (!) and saved all that custard chucking.


No, it is quite simple.  At least for windows they should just provide a bundle that includes the python runtime and all the dependencies with a single installer.  This is simple and easy to do.  It does make the download fairly large, but a large fraction of their customers are going to need to download it anyway.  Better one big download than 5 small downloads.  If they are really concerned about the size they should just provide the software on CD with the maker bot.  You then provide a separate developers package that contains only the makerbot code and uses a system-wide python installation.

Simply providing a link to the download page is certainly not an acceptable solution for a professional product.  I also do not like the idea of installing python and other dependencies system-wide.  That has too much potential to conflict with other applications, and the only people who gain advantage are python developers who probably want to retain control over their python installation.

Incidentally, the only potential legal problem with this is not any open source license, but the MSVC runtime DLL.  This is required by the python and included in the official python distribution and is available for free download by end users, but cannot be redistributed by makerbot unless they buy the full version of visual studio.  This is normally not a problem as you have to buy it anyway if you want to sell code written in visual studio, but is really annoying for pure python application, as you would otherwise have no reason to use visual studio at all.  Probably they should just bite the bullet and pay for a single copy of visual studio to get this license, but I would be OK if the installer detected whether the correct runtime DLL were installed and sent you to the MS download site if necessary.  There is no reason to do this for python or any of the other open source dependencies.
 

Offline masterburner

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2012, 09:53:13 pm »
What I don't get is why they chose for bloody Python again. Yeah, I mean sure... Open source, hacker community, portability and all that, but python is NOT the way to go in my opinion. It's not professional enough for a commercial product like this. Just develop a platform specific program for both windows, linux and mac and be done with it. And you can still open source the whole software.

Oh... Did anyone else notice the LCD backlight coming up when Dave turned the Z axis rod manually at around 27:02? Did they forget to put diodes across the steppers or something...?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 09:58:26 pm by masterburner »
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Offline samgab

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2012, 10:12:31 pm »
I'm a bit surprised that there isn't some form of locator system to it. An optical head locating method would be a good idea. Maybe in the next gen. Then it could self-calibrate.
 

Offline MickM

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2012, 10:43:12 pm »
Hi;
   They should provide a bootable live linux CD.
This is after all an appliance.

If you must run windows, then provide all needed files for XP/W7/W7x64.
For $2000 plus, that is the least that they can do.

Mick M
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #318 - Makerbot Replicator 3D Printer Unboxing & Review
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2012, 11:21:12 pm »
The issue with that software is not with the GPL license. Claiming this is just the typical FUD. You can of course wrap open source software in an installer. If you are concerned, there are even open source installers. Most ironic, of all possible companies, Microsoft offers a free software installer creation toolchain, called WiX.

The issue they really have is that they have programmers who lack clue. And that is also in no way an exclusive property of open source. Their first big mistake is indeed using a wank language like Python. Pythons primary feature is that it happens to attract clueless programmer. And that is also independent of commercial or free Python software (yes, people do commercial software with Python).
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