New AutoMaker 4.00.00
We have just released a new version of AutoMaker and although if follows our original ethos of making 3D printing accessible to anyone these are a number of new features that will appeal to advanced and professional users. When RoboxDual was first released it was one of only a few dual material machines, and the slicing software to support this new technology was still in its infancy. Things have moved on and now we have integrated a greatly improved slice engine that can start to take better advantage over our advanced hardware.
During the development of Automaker 4 it was obvious that we needed to quickly test all the slicing improvements we were integrating. Of course this could have been done by printing a part out every time we changed a variable but that would have taken forever, we needed to visualise the changed Gcode. There are a number of Gcode visualizers available already but we want to be able to see the unique features that Robox can perform, like nozzle closes, this required a new software app. The gcode visualizer is invaluable when checking you’re got all the settings as you want, in particular all the new support material settings that allow a greater range difficult forms to be printed. Our machines uses volumetric rate to control the feed of material, and so does our visualizer. The width and thickness of each extrusion is displayed as close to the real process as possible. This app has dramatically sped up our software development loop and improved the quality of our prints by ensuring we get what we expect.
Post processor improvements
By being able to visualise the machine code before printing we’ve been able to refine when and how the nozzle closes happen. This means small features are better and some surface defects have been removed. We’ve also been able to lay the ground work for future improvement we’ve planned.
New Slicing Engine Integration
By including the latest version of Cura’s slicing engine into AutoMaker, we’ve been able offer features that have previously been missing. These new features improve the quality of the printed part and widen the range of what is possible with FFF printing. Here are a small selection:
- Support interface layers – when using a breakaway or dissolvable support material the support structure can be quicker to print but still better support features on your parts.
- Wide range of infill patterns – Some stronger, some faster with the ability to align your infill in the direction your part requires.
- Multiple external layers for a single infill layer – This increases the speed and strength of parts whist maintaining great surface quality. A feature that can take advantage of our QuickFill Head, using the 0.8mm nozzle for strong thick infill layers, and the 0.3mm nozzle for highly detailed external surfaces.
- Aligned and hidden seams – the start and stops for each layer and island are now greatly improved making the parts look better.
- Greater Control – A number of the preference which were fixed before and now open to customise, along with the visualisation of the print code setting can be tweaked to ensure a print is optimised.
We want to keep things simple but offer every feature you could ever require, to do this we reformatted the Print Profile pages to be powered via a Json file. This allows us to offer the feature we believe users want out of the box, but also allow more specialist feature to be added at any time by editing a couple of files.
Offline print file preparation
Some of our customer expressed the need not to add their Robox to a secure Network, because of this they wanted the ability to prepare a print file and transfer it to a disconnected RoboxPro or Robox via Mote. We’ve added a feature that allows you to do this using a USB stick to move your print jobs around.
To enable us to cover some of the cost of the increase the development speed of AutoMaker and AutoMaker Pro we’ve created a licencing system to help with the cost. We will always offer a completely Free version of AutoMaker and continue to improve on it features and functions but to offer more involved development branches we need to have some support from our user base. This will also allow us to offer reductions on the cost of the hardware which is currently fully supporting software development.