martincho
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:22 am

I am working with several printers. A few of them are the same model, however, a couple have different size nozzles and the other is setup to print ABS exclusively (enclosure, etc.). I am trying to understand how to use Process and Profiles in the context of running these machines as well as tuning them.

For example:

Machine A is a new custom built printer with a 0.8 mm nozzle printing PLA and PETG.
Machine B is the same design but with a 0.4 mm nozzle, also printing PLA and PETG.
Machine C, same hardware, 0.8 mm nozzle, ABS only
Machine D, Original Prusa Mk3, 0.4 mm, PLA only
Machine E, Off-brand Prusa clone, 0.4 mm, PLA only
...and so on

I have watched several videos and also read through posts on this forum. I am still not very clear on how to use Profiles and Process to manage the above. Yes, I understand that you can assign a bunch of profiles to print the same part in order to exercise better control. I get that part. What confuses me is probably better explained with an example:

Let's say I take machine A above (custom, 0.8 mm, PLA). I just finished building it and I need to tune it. All firmware settings are done (steps/mm, acceleration, etc.) but I now need to setup S3D so I can print with it. I will need to print several test parts, measure, tune, adjust, etc. until the machine performs well enough.

The first step is to use the Configuration Assistant, select "Other" and setup the basics. Got that.

What I get in return is "Process 1", with a profile I named during configuration. Let's say I called it "A 0.8 PLA - v001"

I check this profile, load a part, slice and print.

Now, after evaluating the part, I want to make adjustments. Let's say I am working on fine-tuning the Retraction Distance.

I don't want to edit settings at random and lose track of what was done. So, I change Retraction Distance and save a new profile: "A 0.8 PLA - v002". I keep a simple text document tracking my changes and notes.

I continue to adjust the settings until I arrive at a configuration that works for me. Let's say that is "A 0.8 PLA - v043"

OK, so now I have this Machine A with a profile optimized for 0.8 mm PLA, a given speed, etc.

Now I decide to create a new setup, same machine, this time I want to print in PETG. This will require a calibration process just like before. I save my last profile as "A 0.8 PETG - v001" and make a few changes to deal with PETG. After the test print this becomes "A 0.8 PETG - v002", and so on. At the end of the process I end up with:

Machine A, optimized for PLA: Profile "A 0.8 PLA - v043"
Machine A, optimized for PETG: Profile "A 0.8 PETG - v021"

I repeat this process for machines A through E and the various configurations each machine might have (nozzle size, material, speeds, etc.). This results in dozens of profiles.

If I want to print on any given printer I simply create a Process, select the relevant Profile and go.

OK, this is, so far, how I think Process and Profile are intended to be used in Simplify3D. Further to that, it seems that it is advisable to save "Factory Files" in order to be able to bring back a part with all of the relevant settings exactly as printed.

Did I get this right? Is this how you are supposed to use Profiles and Process in the context of multiple printers, each with multiple possible printing configurations?

I guess what's a bit confusing is that I can't find a way to save a Process. All you can save are Profiles and Factory Files. Is the theory that a Process only makes sense in the context of a part and, therefore, you save them by saving the Factory File which contains both the part and the Process details used to make it?


Thanks,

-Martin

S3D-Chris
Posts: 146
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:52 pm

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:29 pm

Hey Martin,

Great questions! Try starting with the tip of the day 31 topic that covers how to work with Simplify3D processes and profiles

martincho
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:32 pm

Thanks, I will read immediately.

My needs might be unique. I am working on technology development and need to track the relationship between a range of machines and dozens of configurations per machine. This might very well fall outside the realm of what S3D's project management system was intended for.

wirlybird
Posts: 1215
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:42 pm

I think you are doing basically what I do. I run 11 printers at the moment and some are only ABS or FLEX etc.

What I do is take the "default" profile for a particular printer and material such as Printer A - PLA and I save it as a new one something like My Printer A - PLA 0.4 Brass or MK3 - PLA.

So for some of my printers I may have -
Printer A - PLA 0.4 Brass
Printer A - ABS 0.4 Brass
Printer A - PETG 0.4 Brass

I try to keep mine simple and if one seems to get corrupted I delete it and recreate from the original.
My BIG complaint is I do not know how to sort the "list" of profiles in the dropdown. There must be a way.

martincho
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:03 pm

The most disconcerting aspect of Profiles for me seems to be that they are stored in the registry. As a software engineer myself, I can't really get my head around this idea. Profiles need to be files that are stored and managed by the user as they see fit. For example, if you are developing a new printer you might go through hundreds of profile permutations that you need to manage and catalog. This is best done in the file system, not in the registry.

Anyhow, aside from that, what I have so far are encoded names for profiles, like this:

Code: Select all

V2 N0.8 PLA L0.4 S100 - v001
Translated:

Code: Select all

V2    = "V" printer hardware version 2
N0.8  = 0.8 mm nozzle
PLA   = Material
L0.4  = Layer thickness
S100  = Print speed
v001  = Version number
Strictly speaking, from a database design theory perspective, this is a really bad idea. You should not encode information in to file names. In other words, I should simply name the profiles using sequential numbers and maintain relevant profile detail information in Excel or something like that. It would be OK to add a simple prefix (for example, the printer code, "V" in this case) but nothing more.

I've taken this approach at this point because it's simpler. Once I understand how S3D "thinks" about profiles, process and printers I'll be able to come up with a more intelligent approach. I might have to write some code to extract profiles and other settings from the registry and save them in a better location.

Thanks for your input.

wirlybird
Posts: 1215
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:15 pm

That's why I make my profile name mostly to relate to a particular machine and state such as MK3 PLA 0.4 Brass where that machine uses brass or hardened nozzle setups.
Otherwise I don't care to list layer height or any other settings since I just change them as I need but this particular profile is setup and geared toward PLA and using a 0.4 brass nozzle on the MK3.

martincho
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:15 pm

Interesting point.

The reason I like to include more information is because often-times changes of some of these parameters trigger other changes. A simple example might be changing from a 0.4 mm to a 1.0 mm nozzle, where, well, everything changes. One of my goals is to have fully qualified settings for a range of configurations. This involves a ton of testing and printing lots of calibration parts.

wirlybird
Posts: 1215
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:43 pm

Understand.

I have one printer that I run a 0.4, 0.6 or 0.8 in both brass and hardened.
So I have a profile for each nozzle and material.

So I have a F410 PLA o.4 brass and a F410 PLA 0.4 Hardened.

Anyway I think do it however works for you. Sounds like you are developing a system that works.

martincho
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:45 am

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:15 pm

Question, why do you run both brass and hardened nozzles? Do you get better results with one vs the other? I've been trying to standardize on hardened nozzles for durability (and, frankly, to remove yet another variable).

wirlybird
Posts: 1215
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:32 pm

Re: Process, Profiles, Printers, Tuning, how to?

Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:33 pm

I print mostly PLA with the F410 and hardened nozzles aren't the best choice.
Some do ok with them but I was fighting it and so switched. I'll use the hardened ones for materials that need them otherwise I'll stick with the solid brass ones.

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