ProfileMaker Update – and an apology!

Last week, in an attempt to improve ProfileMaker I actually made some things worse – including screwing up the calculations.  So, if you ran some calculations last week and got some terrible results, that’s why.  Extra apologies to Tyler, since this was his first experience with ProfileMaker.

So, what’s different?  Well, a lot.

  • I added a rollover image of Albert Einstein to the “Advanced” link.  This just makes me happy.
  • I’ve moved the “thread width” option to the “advanced” section.  Overall, I find that the best results for thread width, and by extension the various “width over thickness” (W/T) parameters, are when you have a resulting W/T of 1.6 or greater.  The W/T is basically about how much the plastic is squished down when it is extruded.  If the plastic is not squished at all, such that the W/T is equal to 1, then the plastic extrusion doesn’t have a lot of contact with the layer below.  The problem with this is that the bond between the layers1 would be very weak, creating a weak finished product.  This is a long way of saying that if you don’t touch the advanced settings, you’ll get a W/T of at least 1.67 or greater generated by ProfileMaker.  This should give you a good strong result each time.  If you just have to tinker with those numbers, you can still override this default by specifying a new “thread width” in the advanced section.
  • I’ve added “nozzle diameter” as a new variable.  Tony Buser suggested in a recent conversation that the optimal thread width is probably equal to the nozzle aperture diameter.  I suspect you could get away with little bit more than this – probably equal to the nozzle diameter itself – as in the measurement from the outside edge of the nozzle to the opposite outside edge of the nozzle.  My reasoning is that the thickness of the metal that comprises the nozzle should be able to help squish down a little more plastic.  In some senses, this is really a better determination of a nozzle’s precision than just the nozzle aperture itself.  If you think about it, if your thread thickness setting is exactly equal to the nozzle aperture, then when the nozzle lays down a thread the edge of the nozzle will have to run over the thread next to it.  I should think that this is not optimal – since it could cause the nozzle to mess with the layers nearby.
  • I’m working on adding a few suggestions to the output that will only pop up when people use unrealistic values.  There may or may not be an Easter egg in this if and when it is completed.
  1. Usually called interlayer adhesion []

ProfileMaker update

I’ve made a few slight modifications to ProfileMaker.

First, after testing it seems that the apparent optimal W/T is approximately 1.67 or so.  Using this value for target W/T setting has lead to my cleanest and most sturdy prints.  Admittedly, I haven’t done proper science-testing to determine the optimal value – but I do not believe it could be far off.  Thus, I’ve removed this setting option and ProfileMaker will calculate the optimal thread width based upon a W/T value of 1.667 and whatever layer thickness you choose.

Secondly, I’ve removed the automated profile creation system.  Not many people seemed to be using this and this feature gets quickly outdated a new versions of ReplicatorG are released.  While the five critical settings provided by ProfileMaker have been unaffected by recent changes to ReplicatorG’s Skeinforge engine, lots of the other settings have been juggled around.  Skeinforge is too much of a moving target for me to try to keep up.  Ideally, you’ll find a good set of profile settings you like and will still be interested in using ProfileMaker to adjust the five critical settings.

It is my hope that by making these minor changes everyone will have an easier time using ProfileMaker and get better results.

Please let me know what you think!

Yarr!!! I’m BACK, baby!

The blog?  BACK.

ProfileMaker?  Also BACK by overwhelming popular demand!

New host?  CHECK!!!

As far as I can tell, there are three major drawbacks.  First, the amount of work involved in changing hosts.  That’s a serious freaking pain.  MySQL DB’s, files, and e-mails, oh my.  Second, this theme isn’t working as well as it once did – so the blue lego in the top left corner is gone.  (For now).  Third, there’s still a little weirdness on the admin side of this blog – but don’t you worry, I’ll keep you from ever noticing!

ProfileMaker – Crippled, but back…

At least for the time being.  :)

I’m guessing that only about 10% of ProfileMaker users were using the complete profile feature.  For those of you who didn’t use it, this feature would use your inputs to create an entire Skeinforge profile, zip the whole thing, and e-mail it to you. 1  However, this 10% use case was probably accounting for a huge portion of the server load.

I’ve disabled the e-mail-a-profile feature to see if this will help.  Let’s cross our fingers and hope!  As a friend of mine always says, these are good problems to have.

  1. Pretty convenient, really. []

Alas, poor ProfileMaker, I knew you well…

I launched ProfileMaker on March 20, 2011.  After serving up more than 3500 awesome Skeinforge profiles, my website hosting company has actually started to complain that I’m using too much of the shared hosting environment’s resources.  As a result, I’m going to have to disable temporarily and potentially discontinue ProfileMaker.

I suspect it is the Skeinforge profile creation feature that has caused the most trouble.  Every time this feature it used, it creates a temporary file and incorporates it into a full Skeinforge profile, which is then ZIP’ed for e-mail delivery.  It’s possible that disabling this one feature may dramatically reduce my site’s server load.

Two weeks later

On April 14 I posted that ProfileMaker had served up 209 profiles to 58 people.  As of right now there’s 598 profiles and 144 people served.  That’s a lot of repeat business! 1  The number of people increased by 100%, the number of uses went up by 200%, and the amount of my awesome went up by 37%. 2

I figure this means either:

  • People really like it and are using it a lot
  • People really hate it and they are clicking the same button over and over again cursing my name

I hope it is the first one.

  1. And, by business I mean people clicking a button on a free web service []
  2. I’m rounding here []

ProfileMaker: More than 209 profiles and 58 people served!

More than 58 people have generated profiles with ProfileMaker1 !

Seriously, you need to stop printing calibration cubes and fiddling with Skeinforge.  Find out more than 58 people have discovered and start using ProfileMaker to create your Skeinforge profiles.  You can either manually enter the values provided by ProfileMaker into Skeinforge or have it e-mail you a ready-to-slice Skeinforge profile.

Always wanted to try printing at 0.25mm per layer or with 1.75mm filament or in PLA?  Your ‘bot can do it.

  1. Powered by SCIENCE! []

ProfileMaker v3.0!

I’ve just launched ProfileMaker v3.0.  It’s got all the good stuff you’ve become accustomed to plus even more features.  As yet, it still does not do calculations for DC motors.

Please give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

 

ProfileMaker v3.0

It’s online and ready for testing.  I would appreciate the help of any beta testers.  Here’s what you need to play:

  • A Thing-O-Matic with a MK6 Stepstruder
  • Ideally you have filament in 1.75mm and 3mm diameters and in both ABS and PLA
  • A fair amount of patience, a willingness to print off some test objects with a variety of profiles, and the ability to summarize your findings for me

To entice you, here’s what v3.0 can do right now:

  • Provide good settings for your Thing-O-Matic MK6 Stepstruder for ABS or PLA in 1.75mm or 3mm diameters running a Heated Build Platform or Automated Build Platform
  • Allow you to specify the gear diameter, gear swell, and feed rate
  • Allow you to generate a full profile based on any stock Thing-O-Matic profile – along with the solidity/fill ratio
  • E-mail you the finished profile as a zip file

I’m still struggling with the math required for a DC motor extruder.  However, as soon as I get that sorted out, I look forward to updating this web app to provide Cupcake and Thing-O-Matic MK5 DC motor calculations and profiles as well.

So!  Do you have what it takes?