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Dual Extrude Both Extruders at Once for Replicator

by Thor3D, published

Dual Extrude Both Extruders at Once for Replicator by Thor3D May 27, 2012
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This is a script and instructions on how to run both extruders at the same time to get two objects printed at once.

This may have been the starting point for ditto printing on dual extruder MakerBots, but it has probably been superceded by the ditto function in Sailfish Firmware.


How it Works
-the script basically changes every extruder movement for 1 extruder ( an E000) to an extruder control movement for both extruders (A000 B000). Dimension/5D has to be enabled for this to work.
Work Flow
-Generate gCode as per usual but use start.gcode with Dimension based Anchor
-Run the generated Gcode thru the script
-open the gcode with ReplicatorG and print
Settings that need to be changed
-dimension needs to be turned on in Skeinforge so the we get an E000 code
for extruder movements.
-the ReplicatorG34/machines/Replicator.xml file needs to be changed so the maxfeedrate on A and B is 4600 instead of 1600 so skeinforge does not throw a fit everytime you generate gcode. I arbitrarily picked 4600- if someone knows the proper number let me know.
-in skeinforge alterations tab- remove Redundant Gcode needs to be unchecked otherwise the warmup of the 2nd extruder gets removed
-there are two version of the gcode conversion script- one for XP another for Vista and Win7- in the Win7 version you need to edit the script to change the file name that is being converted each time(if someone has a way to do a file dialog like the XP version let me know)
-you can either:
-use the dimension based start.gode all the time
-create profile that uses it the dimension based start.code
-use the "use default start/end.gcode" setting in the generate print dialog to control which one you use
-the startup gcode also has some warmup tricks I am currently testing. The bed seems to be the slow spot in the warmup so I turn it on at the start of the script. I don't wait for it to be warm at that point simply turn it on, I use 105 degrees in case it is already warm. Then once the homing is done. I wait for it to warm to 100 then turn it to 110 without waiting(I don't think the bed has to be at 110 before we start printing). Then the extruders get turned on and we wait for them to be ready.
Know Issues
-the anchor gcode of the startup-gcode need some work.
-Mac and Linux people are out of luck for the time being- the conversion code is pretty straight forward if someone wants to convert it
Thanks to Rob Giseburt for the advice on how to start the process.
Let me know if you find any issues.
You may also want to check out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:24195 by JoeyC He made a derivative that is written in C.

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Hi, do you know how to do this on reprap? I have tried your gcode on my modified prusa i3, but it had no effect.

Hi Osoba,

We haven't done this on any style of Reprap before, but the core ideas should be the same as long as your controller is designed to handle commands for both extruder motors at the same time. You should just have to use the script to modify your Gcode, but it may vary as some printers and firmwares may use different variations of Gcode commands, so double check the used commands are recognized by your printer. You may want to read through your Gcode after it is modified and confirm that it is controlling both extruders with commands that match the original Gcode.

Darn now a want to upgrade my printer to dual extruder!

This is probably outdated. If you want to use this your best bet is probably to install sailfish and use the ditto function. Press a couple of buttons on the LCD and you can get both extruders going.

has anyone tried this with a replicator 2X ?

THIS IS SERIOUSLY AWESOME. With a little hacking, you could add some distance between the two print heads and print two objects the size of 1/2 of the Replicator's print bed!!!


Can we assume prints should be raft less? Or can a raft be used that is very small, as long as there is no overlap?

I use a raft so seldom I never even thought about it. There is no reason a raft would not work, you can turn the margin down and it might not be a problem if the overlapped a little bit.

This is quite clever. Admittedly it only applies to one very specific case (printing multiples of something narrower than the distance between extruders) but I can think if times when it would be a huge win. For example, I recently printed 100 tank treads and this would have saved a huge amount of time. And I just spent a day printing at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire (http//http://www.orlandomaker.comwww.orlandomaker.com) and with this trick I could have doubled the number of little doohickies I gave away. And, of course, this trick is just COOL!

This is surprisingly more practical than I thought.

I think, eventually, the best place for this would be in the Multiply plugin of skeinforge.

Great work!