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I have a wooden first generation Replicator with dual extruders and I'm trying to get an X, Y, Z position from the printer to the computer in real time. Is that even possible?

The firmware used by the replicator is version 5.5 I believe, and I've been doing tests with ReplicatorG but I'm not married to that software.

Please let me know if you need any extra info before being able to comment on this...

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  • $\begingroup$ I personally use a Dremel and the Dremel 3D software. Using that software I am able to see what the layer pattern will be like but I am not able to see the printing on the software in real time. Could you give me more information about your software and your printing setup. I personally don't know why you would want have you pc tell you what is happening when you can just look at the machine itself. But looking at your question from the surface I would say there is not way. The x,y,z coordinates wont show in real time on your PC if you printing via SD card like i do. $\endgroup$ – Gregory Janes May 31 '17 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ The firmware used by the replicator is version 5.5 I believe, and I've been doing tests with ReplicatorG but I'm not married to that software. From Ecnerwal's comment it sounds like Repetier might have more functionality? $\endgroup$ – Satellite Icarus Jun 1 '17 at 14:42
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Depending on your methods, you can easily (evidently) get (or compute) "where the printhead is commanded to be" in more-or-less real time, as evidenced by the "progress display" in Repetier Host software (based off the G-Code it's sending to the printer) - though I have found it advisable to stick with the temperature display while printing as I've had the host bog down on processing the display at least once, which then made the print go slow.

As for "is it even possible" - sure, how much would you like to spend? Add encoders to each axis that are read by the computer, or by something (probably not your printer processor for "least impact on the printing" and "most real-time") that reads them and talks to the computer. The more precise you need, the more expensive it gets. Of course that also starts to probe 'what you mean by "real time" ?' as there are applications where the time spent reading the encoder and sending/receiving the data would be considered "not real-time" by the time the computer had the data, but for the average person with a printer built partly from wood, it's likely "real-time enough."

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks Ecnerwal. I'm going to explore some software routes before getting to buying encoders, but I agree with you that if I really wanted to monitor xyz position in real time (an update rate of 1/10th a second is probably fine) that would be the way to go. I'll definitely look into Repetier - the tracking doesn't have to be perfectly accurate. This is for a (music) composition project, so I have a fair amount of freedom deciding what is needed / accurate enough but its hard to know in advance. $\endgroup$ – Satellite Icarus Jun 1 '17 at 14:46
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There is an open source MTConnect adapter/agent written in Python for MakerBot Replicator that includes axis position. To my knowledge it was only developed for and tested on a Replicator 2, though.

https://github.com/mtconnect/makerbot_agent

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  • $\begingroup$ oh dang, thank you! this looks rad! I think the 2 had additional data logging mechanisms (the makerbot desktop software seems to offer some sorts of monitoring functions but only on the 2?) but I will dig into it. $\endgroup$ – Satellite Icarus Jun 9 '17 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure you would actually need the MTConnect adapter/agent for anything, but it was developed by some random users not MakerBot. So there must be some way to get axis position natively in order to write this adapter/agent in the first place. $\endgroup$ – rkwadd Jun 16 '17 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ right - I dont think the hardware existed the 1st gen reps, so no native position monitoring as far as I understand things $\endgroup$ – Satellite Icarus Jun 17 '17 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ Late to the conversation, but applying the MTConnect Adapter/Agent linked above to a Replicator Dual mostly provided Extruder (both) and Heat Bed temps (I believe commanded and actual), some of the standard state values (Execution State, Activity, etc.), and the program running. $\endgroup$ – tbm0115 Sep 13 '18 at 13:08

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