Last update on .

Over the last few months, I've been silent as I transitioned from the life of a student to the life of a professional.  But!  I have finished that transition (for the most part) and am now back.  I even bring new software with me.

This new software (which has the rather uncreative name "gcode splitter") is a utility for use in 3D printing.  I have acquired a 3D printer for me to experiment with.  The printer I own has one printhead.  However, many of my designs require two or more materials.  (I'm using a lot of "exotics", like conductive or flexible plastics).  It occurred to me that as long as the two materials never shared a layer (or only shared one layer at the interface), I could split the print into parts, change the plastic between prints and thereby end up with multi-material objects.

The code is available on my github.  The utility has fairly simple inputs - it takes a (specially formatted) gcode file, followed by the locations in which the print should be split.  Obviously, some limitations exist:

  • The gcode must have special formatting or to have no setup/cooldown instructions
  • Units to determine where to split are only millimeters (mm) or layers (l)
  • The movement instructions must be absolute
  • Layers must be visited sequentially from bottom to top (tool does not work with sequential prints)

There are several major improvements I plan to make to this tool, especially if there is interest:

  • Support for relative movements and layers
  • Support for input gcode which does not go strictly bottom to top
  • Support for additional units
  • Support for adjusting the temperature for each portion of the print
  • Unit tests
  • Installer

I welcome suggestions for additional features to add.  At some point soon, I will probably post pictures of results of printing in this method.  In the meantime, enjoy!

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