AutoMaker™ is software developed by CEL to control Robox® and the slicing engine. From the start we have intended that our system is easy to use but has the ability to satisfy the most experienced users.
The most basic operation is:
Load model, choose print quality, print.
It really is simple.
The left pane in the first image shows “Ian’s Robox”, in this pane you can display other Robox units attached and give them names and a colour, the colour you choose here will be replicated by the internal lighting of Robox. If you have a bank of Robox you will quickly be able to identify each using this lighting. Other info like which head is fitted and what nozzles it contains are shown below.
The lower left pane shows temperature monitoring for the Head (purple) the bed (yellow) and the temperature inside the build chamber (green). Also shown are the heater controls.
The main window has visual indicators of the status of Robox such as if the door is open or closed, the colour of the filament loaded and the amount remaining on the reel. You also get simple buttons to switch nozzles and open and close them, turn lighting beside the nozzles on and off and move the head and bed on their axes.
Right now Robox uses GCode at the core of it’s print engine so we’ve added a slide out GCode panel that allows you to interact directly with the printer.
The slide out panel also contains macros for bed-levelling and setup as well as the SmartReel™ programmer and basic printer diagnostics.
The diagnostics tab shows the result of various checks within the printer and the unique serial number of your printer and the head that is fitted.
Settings control – pick from a standard profile or roll your own. Control over all key slicing parameters is built in to AutoMaker. Right now we run a modified version of Slic3r from within AutoMaker – we chose it for it’s flexibility during the development phase. As we move forward with the Beta team we have retained the option to use other slicing engines and are considering how we can become slicer agnostic. This would allow you to use virtually any slicer and post-process the output to become Robox compatible.
Because Robox has additional mechanical control over the way filament is passed through it’s systems and the feedback that is available we have been able to include extra control via AutoMaker settings. Off the shelf and open source software is not able to manage all these extra functions. We have already seen the benefits of needle valves and dual nozzles and now that we have control over all these aspects of the print process we can start to create print profiles for the many materials available and the many situations where the manipulation of these materials is different.
Also enabled in AutoMaker is filament and print profile sharing. Upload your profile and filament settings to the Robox site and share the love.
Create your own print profiles and write them to file to share as a project or to re-use on future prints. As you can see below, there are a lot of settings for those who want to delve into the depths. If not, let someone else do it and use their shared profile, or just use our Draft, Normal and Fine presets – easy!
Features that will follow soon:
- Auto slice – slice a model into Robox sized pieces if it is too big for the bed.
- Snap to ground – pick a surface and the model realigns so the surface is face down, up till now you would need to align the model within your 3D modelling software.
Interesting things in the pipeline (when we get breathing space)
- Testing on the Raspberry PI – The platform we have used for AutoMaker is quite capable of running on a Pi
- Black box – A control interface for Robox, a large touchscreen with wifi as a dedicated controller.
- Cloud slicing (mainly for mobile devices – but depends on the demand)
- Multiple material control – Dual Material Printing, this will include support for multiple colours on the same layer (we can already do multi colours on separate layers via the pause/resume function) and also support for multiple materials, eg PLA dissolvable support
- Multi-profile printing – choose a different print profile for each object on the bed
- Remote control – Print on the bus! Well, from the bus. Have a warm printed slipper waiting for you when you get home.
- Print notifications – Print done! Out of Filament! Keep Robox working without having to watch it.
- Printer status – Know what is going on at anytime via an app or a web connection. If you are a print provider you could allow your customers to watch their print happen in real time with notifications of completion.
Once the software is available for download we’ll be looking for feedback. We’ll work on bugs first and keep you guys up to date on the roadmap features.
Beta rewards are nearly ready, the next update will be very exciting!