M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

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DeCav
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Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:14 pm

M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by DeCav » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:00 pm

Howdy printer community!

Well I've had my new M3 for about two weeks. Biggest disappointment was the "True Leveling" feature. Stupidly my mind conflated the words "True" and "Auto". Shame on me. There's really nothing "Auto" about the leveling procedure and honestly I prefer the old M2 method of eyeballing the gap as I jog by hand the X and Y. Being in a career myself where a + or - .005" tolerance is considered pretty "open", I'm pretty good leveling my machine by eye.

Also the Wi-Fi for me has been fairly wonky and undependable. Sometimes the machine appears on my computer's wifi radar and sometimes it doesn't.

The user guides suggest not running the machine through USB but I'd really love to just get back to running the machine with simplify 3D. Unfortunately I haven't stumbled across any literature yet about how to do that.

I'll be clear, years ago when I got my M2 it was the first 3d printer I'd ever bought and indeed seen or used. As was as noob as you can get yet I still had it up and running by the end of the night.

I then bought a delta printer from hatchbox. Again, I had to feel my way around getting it up and running with simplify 3D but it didn't take much effort.

The M3 has been a bugger to figure out. The printed and online guides seem extremely thorough and well thought out. Still I found myself soon after starting the setup procedures staring at a screen asking me for my activation key. None of the guides mention an activation key and I couldn't find one in any of my emails or password apps.

Anyway by feeling my way around in the dark I was finally able to get to octoprint's setup page by somehow avoiding that activation key screen. (I still don't know what that was about.)

I got through the setup process which is mostly the "True Leveling" procedure which is like pulling teeth btw.

To cut to the chase, I'd really like to just do it the old way and go direct through my simplify 3D app and a USB cable.

Unfortunately I'm not sure how to get that fully functional. I can certainly connect to it with simply 3D and a USB cable. It will show it's connected and even get feedback. If I turn on the heating elements through octoprint on my browser, simplify will show that the bed and extruder have just been turned on and even graph the temp for each item. This seems to indicate my driver is somewhat up to date. But I can't turn off or on anything with simplify 3D and certainly cannot control any axis or movement on the control panel.

Any suggestions on how to get simplify 3D fully functional?

Also I'm surprised that there isn't a dedicated M3 section or sticky on the forum. If there is I haven't been able to find it. I gave the machine 2 weeks and a fair amount of research and experimentation before I turned to the forum. I know folks are here to help but I didn't want to be one of those lazy members who doesn't even bother to do a topic search before turning to the members for help.

What am I missing with simplify 3D? I got it working great with my M2 and delta printers. Not so much with the M3.

Thanks in advance!
DeCav

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sthone
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by sthone » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:16 pm

I don't think there are many people on the forum using the M3 yet (which is probably why there is no dedicated section yet) so you might just want to contact support on this issue. (they are really quick to help with any problems that come up)

No clue when it comes to the M3 but if you can connect to it with S3D with the USB cable... can't you just control everything through the Machine Control panel in S3D (which is under the Tools Tab or you can hit Ctrl P to bring it up) like you would with an M2?

-Steve

sprior
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by sprior » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:52 pm

I don't have a M3, but I've been running my M2 with OctoPrint for years and I use Simplyfy3D. The thing is that you don't use Simplify3D to control the printer, you only use it to generate the gcode, then you upload the gcode file to OctoPrint using the web interface and warm up/initiate the print from within OctoPrint.

For my personal usage I create the model in Fusion 360 on my laptop, slice it with Simplify3D on that same laptop, then upload it to OctoPrint. I then go to where the printer is, turn it on and use my smartphone to warm up the printer and initiate the print by accessing OctoPrint's web interface. I can then go back upstairs and use my laptop for something else while the print runs.

mswinney44110
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by mswinney44110 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:13 pm

We’re sorry to hear that you’re having problems with your M3. If possible, we’d appreciate if you created a support ticket by emailing support@makergear.com regarding your wifi problems.

If you’d like to use your M3 directly with Simplify3D over USB, you will need to shutdown your M3’s computer first. We have added an article to the knowledge base that will tell you how to shutdown your printer.
https://makergear.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ ... 3-over-USB

Keep in mind that this will disable octoprint and all wireless communication.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our recommended S3D / Octoprint workflow, we have a video here
https://makergear.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ ... D-Workflow


Usually the ‘Activation’ window only shows up after you’ve gone through the ‘registration’ step, which should e-mail you your activation key.

Both registration and activation are not required and can be skipped by pressing the ‘Remind me later' button.

If you can include a note about your registration issues in your support e-mail, we can also help you with that.

sprior
Posts: 379
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by sprior » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:38 pm

Wait, does the OctoPrint setup built into the M3 ONLY work with wireless or does it support wired too?

My strategy is that stuff that doesn't move gets a wired connection whenever possible.

DeCav
Posts: 6
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by DeCav » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:20 am

sthone wrote:I don't think there are many people on the forum using the M3 yet (which is probably why there is no dedicated section yet) so you might just want to contact support on this issue. (they are really quick to help with any problems that come up)

No clue when it comes to the M3 but if you can connect to it with S3D with the USB cable... can't you just control everything through the Machine Control panel in S3D (which is under the Tools Tab or you can hit Ctrl P to bring it up) like you would with an M2?

-Steve
Hi, Steve. Thanks for the reply. The answer as far as I can tell is no. Again, in my original post I pointed out that S3D connects with the M3 with no problem and will monitor bed and extruder temps but it will not actively control the machine at all. I can only turn on the thermal components (and indeed initiate any actionable commands) using Octoprint. Clicking any movement buttons or trying to turn on the bed heater or extruder heater results in no response at all. S3D when connected to the machine seems completely as if it's just a passive observer. Of course you can still slice and generate your gcode using S3D but to get your machine to print the g-code file you apparently have to "save it to disc" and then upload the gcode file to your Octoprint account which you can then send wirelessly to your M3 from (I assume) the cloud via your Octoprint account.
sprior wrote:I don't have a M3, but I've been running my M2 with OctoPrint for years and I use Simplyfy3D. The thing is that you don't use Simplify3D to control the printer, you only use it to generate the gcode, then you upload the gcode file to OctoPrint using the web interface and warm up/initiate the print from within OctoPrint.

For my personal usage I create the model in Fusion 360 on my laptop, slice it with Simplify3D on that same laptop, then upload it to OctoPrint. I then go to where the printer is, turn it on and use my smartphone to warm up the printer and initiate the print by accessing OctoPrint's web interface. I can then go back upstairs and use my laptop for something else while the print runs.
Not sure that my M2 had any wireless ability. The Rambo card in it went down a few months ago which is why I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the M3. I haven't installed the replacement card yet for the M2 because I've been fighting the M3. Anyway, at this point it's all moot because the M3's ability to connect to the router seems very spotty and day to day. It just occurred to me that I might need a new wifi router or maybe I should move it. The M3 in my house is way in the back room and the router is about 4 rooms away. Still though, I rarely have any connection issues with our other devices from anywhere in the house or even outside the house. My old Ipod 4Gen will still stream from the inside router while I cut my grass outside.

The other kick in the gut is the absence of the SD card slot in the machine. There's a space where it used to be that's plugged with a 3d printed "cover" which is illustrated in the mechanical drawing but not annotated as anything which leads me to believe they did away with the SD option on the M3 but didn't get a new SD-less chassis and so just plugged the slot. Kinda frustrating because I dug at the "cover" gently for a few minutes thinking it was just there to keep the slot clean when not in use. Finally I checked the documentation and noticed there wasn't any indication that the machine accepted an SD card any longer which is kind of a bummer because if you're going to print "wired", the SD card worked perfect for me because I could pop the card into the machine, start it using USB and S3D, and then especially for big prints I could just pull the USB cable after the print started which would keep any computer glitches from interrupting the print. I did it this way for 3 years with great success and no headaches.

Luckily I have a new more dependable laptop than the one I started with so printing big prints through USB shouldn't be as hazardous as it used to be as long as my power settings on the laptop are set correctly so that it won't go to sleep during long prints.
sprior wrote:Wait, does the OctoPrint setup built into the M3 ONLY work with wireless or does it support wired too?

My strategy is that stuff that doesn't move gets a wired connection whenever possible.
Yeah, my older brother said the same thing. He's a hardcore IT guy and when I mentioned my machine and the wireless function his first response was, "Always go wired if you can."
If you follow directions right out of the box you'll wind up in a "wireless cul de sac" where you'll apparently have to back up and punt if you want USB control. The guide interestingly enough recommends NOT using USB.
mswinney44110 wrote:We’re sorry to hear that you’re having problems with your M3. If possible, we’d appreciate if you created a support ticket by emailing support@makergear.com regarding your wifi problems.

If you’d like to use your M3 directly with Simplify3D over USB, you will need to shutdown your M3’s computer first. We have added an article to the knowledge base that will tell you how to shutdown your printer.
https://makergear.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ ... 3-over-USB

Keep in mind that this will disable octoprint and all wireless communication.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about our recommended S3D / Octoprint workflow, we have a video here
https://makergear.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/ ... D-Workflow
Thanks very much! I will avail myself of Makergear support...I mean that's why I bought the M3, because there's a community and the support is phenomenal.

Finally, I should point out that I didn't want my post to sound bitchy or critical of the M3. It still seems like a very well made machine with improvements over the M2.

There are a lot of things to love about the direction Makergear is going.
There is now an opening for the both the bowden tube and the filament. My M2 only had an opening for the filament which eventually wallowed out the hole and caused the filament to not engage the extruder gear properly. (After ordering a new extruder mount, I designed and printed an attachment for the mount that accepted and secured the tube to the mount so that the filament could feed without rubbing the through hole that feeds it to the gear. If anyone wants the stl file for that just let me know.)

Love the new bed clamps. No more bulldog clips and the profile is much slimmer (the print head would sometimes bump the old clips on prints with large footprints).

They fixed the problem where the wires providing power to the heated plate would eventually wear out due to movement stress and break. I had to re-solder my wires on a couple of different occasions on the old M2 after a certain number of hours of printing. I finally got smart and zip tied the wires to the chassis that holds the bed and that fixed the problem with the M2 heating element wires bending where they connect to the bed. The M3 has a beefed up mount where the wires attach to the heating element. Don't see how they could ever break now so that is an improvement.

The new print head design definitely seems like a clever improvement on the old one, both with the fan duct and the wire harnessing.

It may be my imagination but the steppers seem improved. With the motors off (but the machine still on) they seem stiffer and less free to move which I'm hoping will mean less shifting which happened occasionally on the M2. Anyway, for now I think I'll try the recommendation to shut down the wireless function and just run it wired with S3D. Yes, I won't have wireless ability but I currently don't have that now anyway. So until tech support can help me figure out what I'm doing wrong with the wireless functionality I'll just follow the link and see if I can get S3D fully functional with the M3.

The power box is totally more beefy and less like Lego than the previous unit.

Btw, two issues I had with my M2 were addressed with the M3 (the bowden opening and bed wire harness). I was surprised to find the same old spool holder on the machine. A couple years ago I designed my own to replace the spool holder on the M2. The two issues I had with the current Makergear spool holder design is that a couple of brands of wide filament spools wouldn't stay on the spool holder and also if I had to carry the M2 anywhere, the spool of filament was always falling off the holder. It was an easy fix to design a spool holder that was just a few inches longer but more importantly had a screw in knob on the end to secure the spool to the machine.

Also, yes I know it isn't a big thing but a couple of quality white LED's on the print head would be cool. I say "quality" because half the LED's on my Hatchbox delta printer dimmed or outright died not long after I bought it. (Btw, don't buy a Hatchbox printer if you think you'll ever need customer support. Their website is all but abandoned. Dead end links abound and emails do not get returned.

I do have one more question about the wireless function. Assuming I get it running dependably, does the M3 buffer the Gcode on board after the print is started with Octoprint? Meaning, if the print is started wirelessly, does it get interrupted if I lose my internet connection?

So that's about it. I'll post more once I get the M3 seriously up and running.

Thanks,
DeCav

DeCav
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by DeCav » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:17 am

Quick follow up.

Got the Rasberry Pi Unit shut down. Was a little confusing because you have to shut it down twice. Both before you power off the M3 and after you power it back on. The 2nd time the Pi stays off and S3D controls the M3 perfectly.

Also for any new M3 owners, here is a link to the official Simplify 3D fff profile for the M3...

https://github.com/MakerGear/MakerGearM ... /1.1.1.zip

Got the machine printing now through USB and I have to admit that though the "true leveling" procedure that I'd already performed with Octoprint was tedious, the first layer does appear to be as consistently level as I ever got it by eye. Now I just have to see if it stays level from print to print. Generally my habit with the M2 was not to take any chances or make any assumptions. I would always eyeball the level manually before starting a print and sometimes I needed to tweak it. Hopefully the M3 stays true without needing tweaking.

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Larry
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by Larry » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:06 pm

Very thoughtful, comprehensive and balanced review and comments @DeCav .. thanks. Good to learn you were able to neuter the RPi / OctoPrint functionality and just run S3D directly over USB. Prompts me to ponder if MG might consider releasing an M3 (lower priced) variant sans wireless capability, (which is fairly straightforward to set up. Your brother and @Steve offer sage advice though to avoid wireless where possible). Keep the mechanical enhancements of the unit you highlight, and only offer the additional capabilities to those who want them.

Re: the missing SD - my M2 is perpetually tethered to an old MacBook Pro running S3D to print, so I personally don't see that as a big loss .. but that's just me. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I can't recall ever having a print fail due to a connection issue.

- Larry

Evan
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Re: M3 and Simplify 3d (sort of an unboxing)

Post by Evan » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:53 am

Hello Decav,

My apologies if I am misunderstanding with regards to the leveling but - in Octoprint under maintenance there is a "cold" manual bed leveling option, as well as a cold Z height option.

I have had my M3 for a few months now and soon grew tired of the "normal" bed leveling feature where the printer prints at the centre and at each corner... and then you pull on the strand. This was taking me ages to perform and to get a level bed and I wasnt sure if this worked the same way with ABS or not? And then I stumbled across the cold manual leveling. The manual leveling option seems to work well enough.

I also found the wifi connectivity a bit slow - I am using mine with a iPad Air and Safari or Chrome. Occasionally I will have to shutdown the M3 with the manual reset and reboot to get a connection.

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