3D Printing Firmware / Software

Using the Repetier-Host Software

Installing Pronterface

Pangu I3-3D Printer Review

Melzi Board Review

Below are links to some firmware and software for Prusa Mendel I3 type 3D Printers running on the Melzi controller boards;  keeping them all in the one page makes it easier for me to find them. Feel free to visit and use the links as much as you want.  Please remember I can offer no guarantees as to whether they work for you or not.

The Melzi Controller Board:

The Melzi board is a compact all-in-one electronic controller board for RepRaps and other 3D Printers with one extruder head. The board is designed to be a complete set of control electronics for the devices and was was originally based on the Arduino Leonardo (Francesco Melzi was Leonardo’s pupil). There are various manufacturers of this board.

(I am currently looking for a good circuit diagram for the board)

Melzi2 Board

Firmware:

Once manufactured the board’s chip is blank and one needs  to flash/burn a bootloader code onto it, this is known as the Firmware. When it is blank the board cannot communicate via USB, only via the ISP pins on the board.  According to the Pangu manufacturer the board comes already pre-flashed with an older Marlin firmware and nothing needs to be done to it; the makers state that this older version is much more compatible than the newer ones and user should not change  it;  however I have found mentioned that Windows needs a driver for it. Not too sure about this but the link is below anyway:

Windows Driver for Marlin.

Marlin provides  SD card and LCD support and works on Gen6, Ultimaker, RAMPS and Sanguinololu boards.

Should you need to flash burn a new or wiped chip then you will need a chip burner, otherwise known as an AVR programmer along with an AVR development platform such as WinAVR from Sourceforge.   (To be covered in another page)

Airtripper has a great page on configuring the Marlin Firmware.

Controller Board Issues:

As with any electronics circuit board the Melzi controller has certain issues which might affect its operation.   The following link offers some great advice on repairs and modifications that might be made to the board in order to improve it and possibly even make it last longer.  Some of these modifications should be done before assembling the 3D Printer and the parts are quite cheap and easy to find.

At the very least now that the issues are known then the board should be inspected on arrival, the manufacturers have issued a product recall for a batch of boards (From 12/2013 to 03/2014) and have also posted on their blog how to get the replacement components in case users required them;  sometimes it might be easier to just replace the components at home rather than send the board away and wait who knows how long for its return.

Link for the replacement parts for Melzi Controller Board (Still looking)

Link to Melzi Controller Board Issues

Windows Software and Drivers:

Virtual Port Drivers:

Although the 3D Printer can work without computer support, there are times such as when calibrating the machine that a USB port connection might be required.  CDM v2.10.00 will cause the USB device to appear as an additional COM port available to the PC.  Your application software can then access the USB device in the same way as it would a standard COM port.

You can access the files and learn more at this link or download the Windows software by clicking on the link below

CDM v2.10.00

FTDIPORT is a USB serial port driver installation file for Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 and Windows 8 (x86 and x64).

Repetier-Host

Repetier-Host Sample

For Repetier-Host all the versions may be found at this link, else click on the appropriate link below. The windows installer comes with everything you need including Slic3r, Skeinforge, Python and Pypy. It requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

Repetier-Host Windows 1.0.3

Repetier-Host Windows 0.95f

Repetier-Host Windows 0.90c

Repetier-Host Windows 0.85b

Repetier-Host Windows 0.84

Repetier-Host Windows 0.72

According to the instruction manual for the Pangu I3 which I ordered, the above software is all I need to run the 3D printer, the manual even goes into such details as suggesting I stick to an older version of Repetier-Host, V0.84  A few reviews of the Pangu I3 on the internet suggest that many buyers have had trouble connecting to their printers.  Something to keep an eye on while building the machine.

The instruction manual for the Pangu I3 consists of 75 pages and may be downloaded from this link. The construction chapter looks OK except for a few pages which along with most of the software installation chapter have an overabundance of bad English and unintelligible Chinese characters which would normally require a Cray Supercomputer two thousand years to decipher.

Winmerge:
winmerge

You can use WinMerge to compare a clean version of your Marlin firmware against an edited version that you might be currently using on your 3d printer. Winmerge will help you to keep track and note all the changes made to the files that you might want to transfer to a newer firmware version.

You can open just two files to compare against each other or you can open two folders to compare. Comparing 3d printer firmware folders will allow you to quickly find edited files.

Winmerge Download.

Printrun and Pronterface:

printerface

Pronterface is a free 3D printer controller software for RepRap 3D printers developed by  and may be found upon installation of Printrun.

Printrun consists of:

Printcore (dumb G-code sender),

Pronsole (featured command line G-code sender),

Pronterface (featured G-code sender with graphical user interface),

Plus a small collection of helpful scripts.

You may download the latest version from github or click on the link below.

Printrun

Installation instructions and how to use the software are here

Printrun together with skeinforge or Slic3r form the basis of 3D printing control.

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