Arcwelder Cura/Octoprint plugin. Smoother/faster prints.

I was just watching this video that promises better, faster prints using an add-on. It seems very interesting but I’ll have to watch it a few more times to really understand what it does and how it does it. If anyone has seen this video or has heard of Arcwelder add-on I would love to hear what they think of it.

I’m trying it out right now.

Interesting find.

Here some information on the plugin and how to test if the plugin works with your printers current firmware.

I wonder why this is necessary. The slicer should be doing this.

I have been using it the past few days on my Ender5 and it seems to preform as advertised.Yes my circles appear to be rounder. I have not tried slicing both with and without the plugin enabled to test the claim of reduced file size, but it is logical and your replacing several G1 codes with G2 or G3 codes.

Oh heck, yesterday I did a 9 hour print using Arcwelder plugin and the file size was 6.35 MB, just sliced it again and the file size is 16.9 MB and the estimated print time was approximately the same.

The plugin can be added to Cura, Octoprint, or run in command line against your file. I opted to add it to Cura.

YMMV, but I am pleased with it so far.

Thanks for pointing out how to test. For everyone, with Marlin 2.x you can issue an M115 command to find out if Marlin is configured to support arcs commands.

I agree, the slicers should be doing this, and should have been doing it all along. But, they haven’t, and don’t, so…

I also just noticed something with AW: it seems to optimize the path of the nozzle much more than plain Cura. I have often watched the nozzle while printing and wondered why the path jumps around in ways that make no sense to me, ways that I would never take if I was doing it manually. AW’s path seems much more logical.

"The plugin can be added to Cura, Octoprint, or run in command line against your file. " I don’t use Cura unless I have to. I would like yo use Prusa. So do I just invoke the plugin with a command line? Would this mean adding it to the g=code of whatever you sliced?

What I meant was that a slicer should already take the optimal path. It has the brains and computing power to do so. Without requiring a plug in.

All the user should do is to check a box in the printer configuration enabling “arc support”, as it is a feature like a heated bed. Your printer has it or not.

After that it should work forever without any further user action needed.

We’re saying the same thing: slicers should always have been doing this. I would not be surprised to see AW incorporated into Cura as a normal feature in the future.

I do not know for sure that it’s related, but after I implemented AW in OctoPrint and did my 1st print, it finished the print by running the hotend to the front-left of the bed and driving the nozzle down into the bed. I was able to kill the power before any damage, but it’s a red light I’ll be watching in the future. For the moment, I’ve disabled the plugin.

How did the print turn out? Any visible improvement?

Too early to say. I need to do more prints. I can say that it seems to make the g-code files smaller.

Does that translate to faster?

In my test scenario, the times were almost identical! The major savings was in file size as previously noted. Also, by visual inspection, the circular holes appeared to be more round than usual. There where 21 circular pockets in this particular print.

I’m note really expecting much in the way of speed improvements, at least not compared to what you get from using faster print speed, thicker layers, etc. in the slicer.

I would think this could help 8 bit processors like my Ender 3 pro work better. My printer does act a little brain dead once in a while.

I guess this could be improved by increasing the serial command queue in marlin. Memory on those 8 bit systems is not much, but I guess there is enough air to increase it.

I seem to recall, from the video, that you need Marlin 2.x (2.0.6 maybe?) in order to have firmware support for arcs.

Nope, my stock ender does not have V2.x and it is working, but you must have // G2/G3 Arc Support enabled. I have not tried it on my stock tronxy yet but probably it is disabled in order to same memory.

thx @Country_Bubba. Does your Ender have a 32-bit board?

Looking forward to trying this. So often the original 3D model involve circles, spheres, cylinders, etc. and they are all turned to polygons/meshes when they are exported for the slicer. I don’t think STL files have arcs of any kind in them, right? It seems like the magic of this plugin would be that it would partially get your 3D print back to originally-intended shape. In fact, I wonder if you could get even better results by increasing Arc Welder’s tolerance and resolution parameters so that Arc Welder can turn the gcode back into those original circles and arcs in the original model.