Easier to use Software



  • @garyd9 said in Easier to use Software:

    By the way, @deckingman, I think your specific printer falls into the "esoteric printers" category. I don't remember exactly, but I doubt it would be much of an exaggeration to say you have something like 12 extruders pushing filament out of 20 or 30 hotends moving across 12 axes in 8 dimensions. I seriously doubt a "simplified" RRF would work on your machine.

    A slight exaggeration - just 6 extruders, and 3 gantries moving in only 3 directions. 🙂

    But the things is, the machine is fundamentally the same as it was 3 years ago, running Duet 2 with a Duex5 expansion board well before subtractive CNC support was added, or lasers, or fancy LEDs, or a bloody RPi (which I don't use) . OK maybe, I have a few macros running conditional gcode which makes life a little easier but I could easily live without them.

    If I stand back and look at things logically, even with my "esoteric" machine, there is so much stuff that is just a waste - both hardware and firmware. For example, to get 13 motors I end up with 3 expansion boards as well as the main board. IIRC there are about 18 IO connectors on each expansion board, excluding stepper drivers. That's 54 IO connectors in addition to those on the main board! Even I can't think of a use for all those connectors (despite how hard I try). But the hardware is the same as the firmware - it has to be all things to all users so it ends up being overly complex and only a fraction of the capabilities get used (even on a 12 extruder, 20 hot end, 12 axis machine).



  • It's interesting to compare Duet's releases to PrusaSlicer's releases, since both are open sourced and I use both for my printer.

    Duet's releases come very often, with features that do not benefit my printer and require me tracking and understanding all the non backwards compatible changes from the version I currently use. It got to a point that I stopped following or considering them, as in 'they are for other people'.

    PrusaSlicer's releases are very different, they don't come as often, each provides features I care about, and they don't break compatibility with my existing configurations or profiles. I am looking forward for those releases, install them as soon they are declared 'stable' and enjoy the features as they are useful and relevant to me and my printer.

    (This is a single person data point, which may or may not be typical).



  • @zapta said in Easier to use Software:

    It's interesting to compare Duet's releases to PrusaSlicer's releases, since both are open sourced and I use both for my printer.

    Duet's releases come very often, with features that do not benefit my printer and require me tracking and understanding all the non backwards compatible changes from the version I currently use. It got to a point that I stopped following or considering them, as in 'they are for other people'.

    PrusaSlicer's releases are very different, they don't come as often, each provides features I care about, and they don't break compatibility with my existing configurations or profiles. I am looking forward for those releases, install them as soon they are declared 'stable' and enjoy the features as they are useful and relevant to me and my printer.

    (This is a single person data point, which may or may not be typical).

    You are comparing apples and aardvarks.



  • @fcwilt said in Easier to use Software:

    You are comparing apples and aardvarks.

    @fcwilt, can you explain what you mean?

    I would think that they are comparable on several key dimensions, e.g. introduction of relevant features, ease of upgrade, release frequency, stability, my general interest in upcoming releases, etc.



  • From my perspective, I ugraded to 3.something when it became stable (from 2.something). I knew there would be teething issues and reconfiguration. I don't think I have had to do any changes to the configuration since then (currently running 3.2.0). I am not interested in minor upgrades here and there so have stayed put with that version. I might upgrade to 3.4 when that is stable.
    I suppose if there is a feature that I just must have, I will upgrade. At that point I will accept that I might have to tweak the configuration.
    For now, with my Duet 2 wifi board and expansion board, everything works and I am a happy camper.

    I desperately want to find a reason to go to a Duet 3 board but so far I have not found an excuse 😞

    Regarding what deckingman has posted - I am seriously surprised that he doesn't seem to get the support he deserves or has earned. I would have though that with his dedication to the cause, he would deserve special status as far as support is concerned.
    Deckingman - for what it's worth, I appreciate all you have done and no doubt will do in the future!

    One last thing ..... The shift from RRF2 to RRF3 is HUGE! As such, and with a limited amount of manpower available, nothing will come instantaneous. It might take many months before RRF3 is at a point where it progresses from 'stupendous amount of new stuff' to pretty stable with incremental upgrades. A point where the developers can take a breather and maybe deal with loose ends.
    Kudos to everybody involved in tackling this enormous project - you had a great product and decided to make it greater not just incrementally but profoundly.



  • @zapta said in Easier to use Software:

    I would think that they are comparable on several key dimensions, e.g. introduction of relevant features, ease of upgrade, release frequency, stability, my general interest in upcoming releases, etc.

    Application software, like a slicer, is a different beast from firmware for a hardware product.

    Writing application software is a lot more forgiving - for example, there are no hardware timing issues that can cause problems as cropped up in RRF v3.2.0 and was fixed in v3.2.2.

    Frederick



  • Another sound here. I am very happy with the speed of progress. Many new releases bring features I can actually use on my quite nothing special printer.

    Regarding the effort: last week I set up a Duet2 for testing a motion stage. I needed RRF3+ for that so I could use while loops to iterate the same movement tens of thousands of times. Zip-zap-zip-zap, all day long, all night long. It took me about 20 minutes going from plugging in the USB cable in a freshly arrived board to a WiFi-connected testbed that was exercising the motors running RRF 3.2. The process took upgrading the FW to 3.0, then to 3.2 (somehow going directly from 2.x to 3.2 would not work but I did not spend time on figuring out why), configuring the controller and writing a few lines of G-code.
    I am very comfortable with LinuxCNC, I can do the Arduino+stepper drive stuff too, but there is no single piece of kit that allowed me to get up and running THAT fast. Which is exactly why I chose a completely-overkill Duet for the task.

    Whatever you buy, you need to learn how to operate and maintain it or find someone who does it for you. Software is not different.



  • I have one printer running 2.0.5.1 and it is still working well enough that there is no inclination for me to upgrade. I thought I'd upgrade for one feature or the other, but so far "this printer works as is" has outlived any expected value from upgrading. As such, 2.0.5.1 is my personal LTS release as long as I can keep using the hardware and no features come up that would drastically improve quality of life with the printer (unlikely, as it's mostly hit-print-and-go).

    I have another printer that is running on Duet 3 hardware with Duet 3 hardware specific features (toolboard, SBC). With that I am tracking the beta releases, and for this particular printer I had to do a single configuration change for PanelDue since I am running it that was due to a firmware bug, and another change for the IR probe since it doesn't work on the toolboard for currently-unresolved issues. Which I think is reasonable compared to the other firmware options out there. Yes, I need to read the release notes of firmware, and a deprecation policy might be nice, i.e. a warning in release .x that feature A will change in release .y ...

    So far, I would say the interaction with the Duet3D team has been pretty good. Did I get everything I wanted? No. Did a bunch of things end up in main line RRF that I was asking for (like others)? Yes.



  • @jens55 Thank you!



  • I ran 2.xx and did not plan on changing until I got duet 3 mini 5+. As for a regular coreXY 3dprinter there was no new feature that impacted the printing quality. Not until input shaper comes you have no reason to update. There is also just a big jump going from 2.xx to 3.xx after that no problems. So not really sure what you are referring to.



  • My view is that Duet is a maker of components, not printers.
    The very design of the current crop of components makes it obvious they are destined for use on equipment much more "heavy duty" than an FDM printer and it stands to reason the firmware would support such use as well.
    If we, the punters choose to purchase a component in order to build a "machine", we should expect that such a multi use component is going to be changed and hopefully enhanced regularly. Especially given it has open source firmware and a forum which accepts user requests and contributions.
    At present we are at a kind of mid point.
    The only way you're going to get a "no changes" printer is to buy a commercial offering.
    Even if the manufacturer based it on RRF, they just don't do updates to a working system. They'd do it on a new model.
    People who have purchased a duet have done so because the affordable offerings ( say < $1000)are largely crap and the very good ones are prohibitively expensive (say >$5000).
    So in a way, they've already rejected the equipment that would give them zero upgrade type usage.
    FDM printers are not really yet a household consumer item in my view.
    I think duet's ecosystem and the whole open source community is doing a lot to drive rapid development of affordable FDM systems and also other equipment.
    For example, I could not justify a commercially made milling machine, router or CNC plasma, but as the hardware and firmware advances there will likely come a time when I build one or all of these.
    It wouldn't bother me if the developers (or interested users) forked the firmware in different paths based on use case.
    But I fully understand why they probably wouldn't or can't.



  • @OwenD

    So you are in effect saying that a large, loyal & long time user base of FDM machine users can either Like/Put up with the direction things are taking or sod off.....



  • @JayJay said in Easier to use Software:

    @OwenD

    So you are in effect saying that a large, loyal & long time user base of FDM machine users can either Like/Put up with the direction things are taking or sod off.....

    Read into it what you will.
    I posted an opinion in a public forum just as everyone above did.
    A balanced discussion requires different points of view and any business that doesn't take into account the differing needs of their client base is doomed to failure anyway. I guess that'll fix the "too many updates problem" though wouldn't it?
    Opinions are like arseholes.... everyone has one.
    Taking it personally isn't helpful.



  • Having started this off I feel I should now comment.

    1. I t looks as if there is a sufficient degree of support for what I said about having dedicated software for 3d printing and I would suggest it is worth serious consideration.
    2. My point about frequent updates to correct errors is evidenced by the recent need to introduce 3.2.2 (just an example of many)
    3. For those that think that a FDM 3d printer and a 'CNC' machine can be dual purpose, they need to move into the real world. A previous post explains this.
    4. Taking a poll of posts on this forum, it is clear that the vast majority are related to FDM 3D printing.
    5. Taking the same poll, nearly all are asking for help for various problems. surely it can be seen that this is not good. It would be nice to have more sharing of ideas, good practice etc but it appears people are too busy fault finding than having time for printing.
    6. When I look at the prints I produced in my early days of 3d printing, with more primitive control board, there are some good examples and little if any difference with what I am producing now. ( I should qualify that by saying my prints match up well with others I have seen.
    7. I like the versatility of the Duet but the cost of that versatility is becoming much greater than the benefits.
    8. Having said all that, judging by comments from 'the developers', I am not holding my breath for a change in direction.


  • @jmshep

    Do you believe that trying to broaden the market for Duet products is the source of errors that lead to updates like 3.2.2?

    Frederick



  • @jmshep Nicely summarised if I may say so. This is from a long term user who's experience goes back to the original 06 board. My machine is quoted as being an advanced "edge case" machine because it has 3 XY gantries and range of mixing hot ends with up to 6 inputs. But essentially it's just a CoreXY with a mixing hot end and hasn't fundamentally changed for at least 3 years. Yet the gen 3 hardware and firmware that I've been using for the last 19 months, still lacks some of the basic functionality that I had with gen 2, three or more years ago.

    It still puzzles me why, in all this time, the focus has been on adding things like object models, conditional gcode, support for neopixel LEDs, and copious other new "features", rather than basic stuff like tuning heaters or homing axes (because only certain combinations of switch/probe/board are supported).



  • @deckingman I mean no disrespect to you by what I'm about to say, honestly. I've found much of your blog content, posts here and YouTube videos to be interesting and informative, and on one hand I understand your frustration, it is in part of your own making.

    Your printer is very advanced, easily one of the most complex CoreXY builds I certainly have ever seen, but if it being in a state is such an issue, why not simply revert back to using the Duet 2 + Duex + RRF2 where it all worked? You spend a lot of time here lambasting @dc42 and the other developers, but from your own admission, everything worked to your satisfaction with the older hardware, no?

    I have seen you say multiple times on your own videos that you refuse to try beta or RC firmware, and yet complain when things don't work for you. Problems cannot be found and fixed without assistance from those who suffer from the issues. An issue which isn't reproduceable for a developer is almost impossible to fix, and I say this with a software development background.

    Again, if your printer has to be working, why would you have changed from the working electronics? Why not change back to those after all of the issues? I don't understand the your mentality of "it must work the way I want it, even if there is another way that DOES work".

    Maybe it's just me, but it's saddening to see the constant attacks from you towards the Duet developers 😞 I'm truly sorry if you feel I am attacking you, or your character, but I'm just sharing an opinion from an outside perspective with no bias towards either side.


  • administrators

    @jmshep said in Easier to use Software:

    Taking the same poll, nearly all are asking for help for various problems. surely it can be seen that this is not good. It would be nice to have more sharing of ideas, good practice etc but it appears people are too busy fault finding than having time for printing.

    That's the nature of a support forum - most users are looking for answers to questions or issues they are having (not always issues with firmware). Users who just get on with printing don't often post.

    Given the large number of Duets we sell, it's not surprising that some customers need help with using them.



  • @NexxCat Fair comment. But should dissatisfied customers and those with genuine grievances simply shut up and go away? Would things improve if nobody was allowed to criticise?

    Yes, I am looking at options - as I said in my last video. I'll either tear out the gen 3 stuff and put gen 2 back, or maybe replace it with something completely different, or just turn the machine into a simple, basic, single input hot end machine. All of which are a shame and could be avoided.

    Sure my machine is advanced and complex. But it worked before with Duet gen 2. My grievance is not that the firmware won't do something "special", it's that it doesn't have the same functionality that it used to have. I just want the previous functionality restored (and without any new bugs creeping in).

    It used to be that I could come up with an idea, bounce it off the Duet team, and we would move forward together. That's how firmware retraction of all filaments came about - I expressed the need for it with mixing hot ends and the Duet guys did the firmware (which I beta tested). Similarly, when I mounted the extruders on a separate gantry, I expressed the desire to home that gantry independently. That's how CoreXYUB kinematics came about. There are other numerous examples. I like to think that together, we moved 3D printing forward, for the benefit of the wider community. It's a shame that came to an end.

    When the Duet guys announced gen 3, I happily agreed to "donate" my machine to the cause in return for them "donating" the hardware. I spent dozens of hours doing the hardware conversion, and hundreds of hours testing pre-production firmware. Then a week without pay on the stand at the TCT show (which was an embarrassment for all concerned because the firmware wasn't ready). Then hundreds more hours (and metres of filament) testing beta firmwares before the Duet guys threw me under a bus and decided to leave me with a partially functional machine.

    It's true that recently, I've decided not to test Beta firmwares. Firstly because I think I've done more than my fair share over the years. Secondly because in many cases the firmware hasn't addressed the outstanding issues that I've had.

    I'll shut up now and go away......



  • @dc42 said in Easier to use Software:

    They already exist:
    https://e3d-online.com/blogs/news/asmbl
    https://www.diabasemachines.com/hseries

    This reminds me the long promised flying cars. 😉



  • @zapta said in Easier to use Software:

    This reminds me the long promised flying cars. 😉

    You mean you don't have one?

    They're great!

    Frederick



  • @deckingman said in Easier to use Software:

    I'll shut up now and go away......

    Don't do that - I just made a big batch of popcorn! 😉


    I just haven't wanted to deal with the problems of beta firmware.

    I won't try a release candidate.

    I even wait for the released version to generate some feedback before I install it.

    I'm just too old.

    Frederick



  • @zapta said in Easier to use Software:

    @dc42 said in Easier to use Software:

    They already exist:
    https://e3d-online.com/blogs/news/asmbl
    https://www.diabasemachines.com/hseries

    This reminds me the long promised flying cars. 😉

    What is interesting in that link is this - quote .......

    " All parts are easily available and can be controlled directly by the Duet2."

    Thank goodness they didn't mention controlling it with Duet 3 😉


  • administrators

    @deckingman, I'm having a hard time working out what you are complaining about regarding the current capabilities of Duet 3. Your machine has been working using Duet 3 right from the time that you first joined us on the Duet3D stand at TCT with your machine. There were some teething troubles, but far from being an embarrassment as you claim, it produced several good prints (as well as a few failed ones). The second year that you joined us, it produced lots of good prints.

    I remember seeing you complain about the following items relating to firmware on Duet 3:

    • Endstops connected to the main board cannot yet control motors attached to expansion boards. Way back I think we asked you to connect your Z endstop switch to the expansion board instead of to the main board because of this. So your machine is working within this limitation. Are you really desperate to rewire the endstops?

    • Unable to run heater tuning on your hot end because its heater/thermistor are driven from an expansion board. In fact this facility has been implemented and is available in 3.3beta1 firmware.

    • Insufficient step rate on expansion boards to use high microstepping (although this did not stop you from doing good prints at TCT). This was fixed early in the RRF 3.2 development cycle. You chose not to install any beta or RC versions, so you had to wait until the 3.2 stable release to get the benefit.

    • Your homing script did not execute correctly when you installed RRF 3.2 stable. This turned out to be caused by the combination of using a M109 command in your homing file (which is highly unusual) and then calling another macro in your homing file (which is also on common, except for homeall.g calling other homing files). This is not a combination that I or any of our beta users tested with. Had you installed a 3.2beta or 3.2RC firmware version on your machine, it would have been found in time to fix it for the 3.2stable release. As it is, I spend half a day debugging this so that I could fix it in the 3.2.2 release.

    I guess I must have missed something, because from your posts it appears that you still think that something is stopping you from using your machine as you want, and you wish that you were using Duet 2 to control it. What have I missed?


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