About Print-O-Matic

    Print-O-Matic is a streamlined interface for Skeinforge, integrated into recent versions of ReplicatorG. It offers a limited number of configuration options and relies on the currently selected profile for the others.

    Using Print-O-Matic

    Using Print-O-Matic is straightforward. First, select an appropriate Skeinforge profile. If you don't see an appropriate profile for your MakerBot, check the GCode > GCode Generator menu. If you're using a Replicator 2 or a Replicator, this should be set to Skeinforge (50). On older bots, you may prefer to stick with Skeinforge (35). This page deals with the settings for Skeinforge 47 and Skeinforge 50, but the Skeinforge 35 settings are substantially similar.

    The Print-O-Matic settings are the ones in the lower half of the Generate Gcode window.

    You can deactivate Print-O-Matic and hide these settings by unchecking Use Print-O-Matic, but using Print-O-Matic is the simplest way for you to customize your print settings.

    The Print-O-Matic Menu

    The Print-O-Matic menu consists of four tabs: Settings, Plastic, Extruder and Defaults. The default extruder settings should be correct. You'll want to check that you have the right plastic type and diameter entered, although those defaults will likely be correct, too.

    The Settings tab is where you can experiment with different configurations.

    Object Infill dictates the density of your print. 100% infill will make your object completely solid, while 0% will make it hollow.

    Layer Height is exactly what it sounds like: it determines how flat each layer of your print is going to be. The default is around .3 mm, but you can experiment with layer heights as low as .1 mm if you're looking for finer detail.

    Number of shells refers to the outer structure -- the thickness of the perimeter your bot prints on each layer before it starts on the infill. Every model is going to start with one shell, so the number of shells you set in Print-O-Matic is actually the number you're adding. If you enter 2 here, your object will be printed with three concentric perimeters. These build in towards the center, so they make your object more sturdy without changing the modeled surface.

    Feedrate is the speed at which your bot moves while extruding plastic, and Travel Feedrate is how fast it moves when it's not. Again, the defaults are a good place to start, but you might want to experiment with them.

    Set infill and shells based on how strong you need your printed object to be. Then you can start experimenting with layer height and feedrate. These two settings will have huge effects on print quality, so you'll want to try out different combinations. Experiment as much as you like: you can always revert the settings to the original base profile by going to the Defaults tab -- you can choose between the defaults and a set of accelerated defaults.

    What Did Print-O-Matic Do?

    Print-O-Matic works by overriding a number of settings in Skeinforge. Some of these settings, like layer thickness and infill solidity, come straight from the values you entered into Print-O-Matic. Others, like flow rate, are computed using the numbers you entered. Print-O-Matic's basic approach is based on the idea that the axes should move at the same speed as the plastic leaves the nozzle. This method yields the highest rate of successful prints and works wonders on challenging geometry like bridging large gaps. Print-O-Matic doesn't allow for as much fine-tuning as entering settings into Skeinforge directly, but it's much simpler and easier to use.

    To see the Skeinforge values that Print-O-Matic created according to your settings, you can turn on logging in ReplicatorG Preferences.

    Check the box to Log to File and type in a preferred name in the field to the right. This file is stored in the same folder as your ReplicatorG application. Set the level of logging detail to INFO. Now when you generate GCode, the debugging section located at the bottom of the ReplicatorG application window will show the values generated by Print-O-Matic.

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