First my apologies to the Astroprint Staff, this could very well be a thread of complaining. However, I think it may be easier to have a thread where I can voice my opinion, thoughts and ideas as well as some of the issues I keep encountering instead of sending dozens of support requests. I have contacted recently on an issue and I am quite pleased with the quick response and explanation I received, even though it did not solve my issue. I will mention, and elaborate slightly on this in a bit. I also wanted to start this thread since I sometimes forget or randomly run into issues or ideas, so this becomes a place I can keep track of them, edit and update as I come across/remember them If the Astroprint mods and staff feel this is better categorized somewhere, broken down into multiple posts, or whatever else then once again I apologize and do what you must.
Me & My Setup
I am an amateur hobbyist and thus I do not do an extensive amount of printing. I run a stock Printrbot Jr on Marlin firmware (I believe). I am using one of Adafruit’s Astroprint kits which consists of a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B v1.1 with an Ourlink 150M 802.11n Wireless USB adapter. I use Chrome 49.0.2623.112 (Official Build) m (32-bit) on an older machine to access the printer. Prior to using Astroprint I used Repetier to control my printer and do my slicing.
- [RESOLVED] Updating the software OTA seems to keep getting hung up on the “Configuring…” screen at around ~90% of installation completion. Just today I updated to v0.10(6) and was on that screen for 3 hours. I have to go back to the home page and check the firmware version I can confirm that the firmware was indeed updated. However, I wonder if configuring does get hung up and possibly cause some of my other issues. This seems to be resolved updating to v0.10(7). Personal Update v1.1
- One of the more annoying things I have encountered (and my previous contact with customer service) is the inability for Astroprint to connect to and keep connected to hidden networks. For reasons beyond the scope of this post, I like to keep my SSID hidden, but I previously did not have easy access to my router’s network settings. This meant I had to get access to my router, unhide the SSID, connect to RPi and connect to the network. After the RPi was connected to my home network, I would have to reconnect to my home network and re-hide my SSID. I speculate this would happen once every 24 hours as the DHCP/network/router would renew. Since my network is hidden all my other devices would obtain a new lease but not the RPi. It would be much easier if I could manually enter my network settings and the RPi be able to save those. I’ve tried looking into the documentation for RPi/Octoprint/Linux in the hopes of “creating or modifying a file” (my words) to do just this. I have since set my SSID to broadcast to alleviate some of these intermittent steps. As of Personal Update v1.1 this has not been fully tested but seems to be better
- I still get a Astroprint ad-hoc network even though I check the setting to stop broadcasting when a known network is found. This is true whether my SSID is hidden or broadcasted.
Coming from Repetier I got used to how that program functioned. There were some things, perhaps intentional or not that I think may be useful.
- The ability to control fan speed. Currently it only seems the fan can be on or off. The ability to run the fan at 62% (for example).
- I’d like to see the ability to manual place the print object on the bed. Perhaps it is now unnecessary with my archaic printer where I use the original warped wooden bed, or an uneven piece of glass, but I always liked having my prints near my origin. I felt this cut down on print time and kept the nozzle in a “consistent” area. Perhaps my examples are not the best to show this practicality and I could write some gcode that repositioned the start point, but I do think it would be a nice thing to have that would only round out and enhance the software
- Building on the previous point, Repetier allowed a 3D window with maneuverability with the object. This way you could rotate around the object, and especially since I use an initial loop around the object at the beginning of the print, I could make sure that this loop does not fal outside of the bed.
- [In Progress] As far as I can tell, if I slice the object and go to print it, but decide to tweak the initial settings I used, I can’t do that. I have to go back and re-slice the object with the new settings. It would be nice in the object folder when I click on one I can review the current settings and modify them instead of going through all the previous steps. As of Personal Update v1.1 this can be done through Astroprint.com UI but through the RPi UI may still be lacking
Added as of Personal Update v1.1
- A “Universal Stop Print” feature as talked about here: Cancelling prints. Briefly, no matter where you are in the UI/Astroprint universe you can easily force stop a print, e.g., in the case of failures.
Again, perhaps some features may not be deemed necessary, but my intention is only to help the developers produce a well rounded product. I haven’t tried Octoprint or Repetier-Server yet as I do enjoy Astroprint, and I only criticize to to improve and not demean.
Keep up the good work. All the best,