Pathio Users

Support For Clay Printing

Hello,

I am involved in extrusion printing with clay and am interested in how Pathio will compare to the other slicers out there I have printed with. Thus far Pathio looks great.

One issue that came up for me was that Pathio flagged my filament diameter as a problem. Of course I am not using a filament, but rather a polycarbonate tube filled with clay that is 2" (50.8mm) in diameter. Believe it or not, in other slicers I have been able to use the value 50.8 as my diameter and to get good results. Would it be possible to enlarge the range of filament diameters to accommodate printers which use large syringe-type dispensers to print paste, clay, and pulp materials?

If anyone is interested, my experiments are posted in these places:

https://wikifactory.com/@tom/stories/dual-color-clay-printing-experiences-spring-2019

https://tomlauerman.com/process

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Hi Tom,

I have absolutely no idea how our slicing engine would cope with such a large nozzle, we can certainly have a go at getting larger nozzle + filament sizes available.

We’ll let you know of the progress and we’d love to hear back from you about your prints if we get a feature for this in Pathio!

Do let us know if you have any more feedback or suggestions!

Daniel

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Thanks for your quick reply @danwillm

I should clarify, the print nozzle sizes I am using are between 0.8mm and 4.0mm, while the “filament diameter” is 50.8mm.

It does look like Pathio gives a good gcode result, despite flagging the value as too high. I think the math should still work despite the larger numbers.

I haven’t tried printing with a Pathio generated file, but I will soon.

Many thanks for your help.

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Thanks for the clarification, I’ll pop that in as well.

Daniel

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Hi @tom,
Sounds awesome! We were actually just talking on Thursday about how to make sure that our “restrictions” on slicing settings (and hardware settings) wouldn’t stop people from doing cool things like this. Instead of the hard boundaries we have now, we’re thinking of creating a system that gives your recommendations and warnings, as well as protects Pathio from impossible printing scenarios (like printing with 0mm diameter filament!).

For now, our hard boundaries are a little restrictive, we know. We loosened some of them on Thursday, and those changes should be going out sometime soon (next two or three releases). We know it’s not ideal, but for now you can edit your nozzle size, filament diameter, and track width in the actual json files for your printer, filament, and slicing settings, respectively. The checks against the “maximum” boundaries are only run when you change the settings in the UI.

If there are other tools or tweaks we can do to make clay printing easier please don’t hesitate to let us know!!

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Sounds great, I like the idea of the warning system, rather than hard limits.

One issue I’ve found is that when I deselect “Has Heated Bed” in printer configuration, I then get an error in slicing that reads "Couldn’t render script! No Gcode was produced. [inja.exception.render_error] variable ‘/bed_temp’ not found.

When printing clay I don’t use a heated bed, or a heated extruder, or any cooling fans. Put another way, there is no heating or cooling involved. I’m sure printing in clay will account for something like 0.0001% of all users - but having an option for “no heating/cooling” would be nice for all syringe based printing (clays, pastes, pulps, some foods, etc.)

I wouldn’t expect this to be any kind of priority in the slicer development - but thought I’d ask.

Hi Tom,
Sorry you ran into trouble. We made it so that if you try to use the bed_temp variable in your GCode scripts when you don’t have a heated build plate, you’ll get an error (since you don’t actually have a bed temperature to put in for that value). We’re planning on overhauling our errors so they’re more informative, sorry that it’s not very clear right now.

As for turning off heated bed and nozzle temperatures, we actually have check-boxes in the Temperature tab for that! Note that when you uncheck those, nozzle_temp_0, nozzle_temp_1, etc will also not work, so you’ll need to remove them from your scripts, too.

We’ve changed most of the default printer profiles to include something like the following start code which solves the problem pretty elegantly. But if you know you’re never going to print with heat on your clay printer, you don’t even need heatup commands in your start code.

{% if automaticNozzleTemperatureControl %}
M104 S{{ nozzle_temp_0 }} ; Set nozzle temperature
{% endif %}

{% if automaticBedTemperatureControl %}
M140 S{{ bed_temp }} ; Set bed temperature
{% endif %}

{% if automaticNozzleTemperatureControl %}
M109 S{{ nozzle_temp_0 }} ; Ensure nozzle has reached temperature
{% endif %}

{% if automaticBedTemperatureControl %}
M190 S{{ bed_temp }} ; Ensure bed has reached temperature
{% endif %}

Hope that helps!

Many thanks @Gabe, I will start removing these items from my scripts.

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