Walkthrough and Demos of the Klipper 3D-Printer Firmware Project
In short, instead of modifying any hardware, upgrade your 3D-printer by modifying the firmware powering the unit. (We haven’t tested this so, at your own risk.)
Thanks to reader Alvaro for sending this in. He writes,
With a Raspberry Pi running Octoprint, and a regular 3d printer you can upgrade it without changing hardware, just by changing the firmware of the printer (you can go back if you need to). This new firmware optimizes stepper control to make the printer faster than default, way more silent, anti-oozing and with better torque.
Works with multiple 3d printer models from several vendors.
This project implements a 3d-printer firmware. There are two parts to this firmware – code that runs on a micro-controller and code that runs on a host machine. The host software does the work to build a schedule of events, while the micro-controller software does the work to execute the provided schedule at the specified times.
For starter here’s some demos of Klipper firmware in action:
Here’s a video walking through the firmware installation:
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I’ve been using Klipper for the last few weeks since it was featured on Hackaday. I absolutely love it, although a Pi Zero is not _quite_ fast enough to run it without occasional pauses. A Pi 2 or 3 works glitch free. However, I certainly wouldn’t recommend running an ordinary firmware printer with a Pi Zero either.
What I _have_ been able to do is massively increase my print speeds without significant drops in print quality. I use a Felix Tec 4 standard Cartesian printer with heated bed and PLA or PLA+, and where I used to feel that I needed to limit speeds to a max of 60mm/sec or so, I can now routinely print at 120-150mm/s without major temperature excursions, blobs at corners, or other artifacts I’d attribute to the higher speeds. The straightforward tuning procedures for setting pressure advance values helped significantly.
What you will be losing, however, is “front panel” display and/or control using your printer’s hardware, Z-leveling or probing, and other automated calibration procedures, assuming it had any in the first place. Control will be solely through Octoprint and some manual endstop value tuning in the config file may be required. However, it’s easy to restart the software to pull in the new config values without shutting down printer firmware, so this sort of thing can be done relatively efficiently. I feel it’s been a worthy tradeoff for now. I may go back to Repetier someday, but I like how Klipper is performing.