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More materials in quickprint
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Current Revision1

Mock Description

Cura currently has 3 material selections, we would like to add lots more.

Event Timeline

nickthetait created More materials in quickprint.Sep 1 2015, 2:14 PM
nickthetait changed the edit policy from "AO (Project)" to "Cura (Project)".
nickthetait added a project: Cura.
nickthetait changed the edit policy from "Cura (Project)" to "AO (Project)".

Can we get a definite list of "Material types". Do we want it by difficulty, by manufacturer, both?
What should happen for corner use cases, such as a material not having a type defined, should a "Others" item be automatically added to the list? Do we also want to have a "All" item added to the list that would just show all the materials ?
I also disagree with using the combobox for the profile type, a combobox requires 2 clicks to activate, and people may want to change profile more often than change material, and the list of profiles will be at most 3 (standard, high detail, high speed) so it can definitely stay as a radio button.
The way I'd see it is :

Material type :
 [Combobox]
Material:
 [Combobox]
Select a quickprint profile :
[Radio buttons]
Options :
[Check boxes]

As for the Material types, I would list is as (the combobox content would be) :

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced:
Flexible
Specialty
Manufacturer : eSun
Manufacturer : Proto-Pasta
Manufacturer : CC Products
Manufacturer : Taulman 3D
Manufacturer : Village Plastics
-- Others --
-- All Materials --

What do you think ?

Note that I personally am not really convinced by the idea of sorting by manufacturer, because most people don't know the manufacturer of their filament, especially when I look at my lulzbot bought PLA, it doesn't state anywhere which manufacturer it is (it does for the eSun one, but not on mypolycarbonate spool or my older ABS or PLA spools or coils).
I don't mind however having "Taulman 3D", or "Proto-Pasta" as part of the list for material types, but I'd consider it more in the sense of "taulman type" rather than "filament from the taulman manufacturer".
Another issue/reason is because it would get pretty complicated to sort the list of material types without hardcoding the order somewhere. I think the best way to order that list is to give a weight to each category depending on the sum of the order of each of the materials contained within the list, but if we start having multiple categories per material (such as a manufacturer), then it gets complicated.

Oh, and I also wanted to ask on what kind of 'material types' we would have for dual extrusion tool heads ? I'm thinking "Dual color" and "With Support" as possible categories to differentiate between PLA&PLA, ABS&ABS and PLA&PVA for example. I don't know though if you want to have specialty filament profiles for dual extruders, or how it would be for the flexy dually.

These are a whole bunch of disjointed concept mockups. Getting consensus and merging them together is the next step.

@kakaroto did the heavy lifting and implemented the first version of the new UI system. Here is a quick look at it:



Categorization

At this moment there are only 3 materials listed. Both "eSun" and "beginner" are listed as categories. We need to pick one of these two categorization systems: "Manufacturer" or "Type".

We also have an "ALL" category which allows you get a big long list of every material which is a great addition! Advanced users will probably swap to all and never go back.

Here is what really wide names look like:

Type

Going this route allows more freedom. We could include the manufacturer name inside the material name like this:

One HUGE opportunity would be to designate an "untested/community submitted/experimental" category which would let advanced users quickly tweak and provide feedback but also indicates to beginner users that these materials are not (yet) ready for general use. This would really help expand the "nonstandard" tool heads get more materials options as most only have 2 or 3 options so far.

Manufacturer

Encourages users to buy from our recommended/tested manufacturers.

I'm not coming up with any other reasons to go this route yet.

Sorting

Alphabetic is my gut feeling. Any other custom ordering could chew up time during implementation.

Scope

How many materials/profiles? Are we testing every single one?
Which toolhead/printer configurations? Just stock configurations (single extruder on Mini/TAZ 0.35/TAZ 0.5)? More configurations MULTIPLIES testing effort.
There are some profiles created for materials the 3 stock configs. Old ones are HIPS/PLA/ABS. New ones we could add are n-vent/laywood/t-glase. Other materials are only have a profile for a single quality or a single printer config polycarbonate has high strength for Taz 0.5 and Mini, but not for 0.35 nozzle size. Do we add these yet? Need to decide on a full list of materials.

UI Consistency

We have profile selection using the old style radio buttons at this moment. This could be swapped to using a combo box (show below). Downside is that it introduces an extra click (to open the dropdown) every time you want to change profile :S

TL;DR

So, that is a lot of stuff! Here are the 2 important decisions that need to be made immediately:

  1. Which categorization system: Type or Manufacturer?
  2. Scope: specific list of which materials are being added.

I wouldn't mind having two lists, one that's manufacturer, one that's skill level required and they're both set originally to all. Then the list would have the material type and then the manufacturer.

karrad added a subscriber: karrad.Sep 3 2015, 11:35 AM

Categorization: I like the manufacturer option. Perhaps a drop down for the manufacturer, and a click button for the type. This would help prevent PEI damage on the mini from failed levels, as we can have manufacturer specific wiping and probing temps.

Scope: All of the filaments that we sell, and perhaps the top 3 filament manufacturers?

Categories :
The Beginner and eSun, I only put them as tests to demonstrate, but I don't think we should have manufacturers, I'd vote for putting types instead. I would however agree on having a "proto pasta" or "taulman" type even though those names are also the names of the manufacturers.
Note that each material can be listed in more than 1 category.
Also, there is a "Others" category that is added to the end of the list (before "All"), if there's a material that doesn't belong to any category (such as my custom wood profile in ~/.Cura).
Something else to note is that a material can have a full name too now which only appears when you select the "All" category. This would allow something like "Bridge" to appear when selecting Taulman category but "Taulman Bridge" to appear when selecting "All" category. Also, if we use manufacturers for categories, you could see "PLA" under Village plastics and a different "PLA" under eSun, but when selecting "All", they would appear as "eSun PLA" and "Village Plastics PLA" so it's not confusing.

Sorting:
For the sorting, what I've done right now is that I sort it depending on the order of the items within that category, so if you have for example Beginner category with HIPS at order 0, PLA at order 1 and ABS at order 2 and Advanced category with Woodfill at order 3 and bronzefill at order 4, then the Beginner category has an order of 3 (0+1+2) and the Advanced category has an order of 7 (3+4), so Beginner would appear before the Advanced category in the combobox, which is what makes sense.
I'm pretty proud of the way I implemented this sorting with a single line of python :)

choices.sort(key=lambda type: sum([mat.order for mat in self._print_material_types[type]]))

I think it's better than alphabetical because otherwise you'd get Advanced to appear before Beginner which wouldn't be very logical for users. And this way, you can better control the order of all the categories. Although it does have its limitations, specifically, when a material appears in two categories, then you can't control the order of one category without affecting the other one (such as, wanting to have an 'Manufacturer: eSun' category show up at the end of the list with HIPS and PLA in it, it would always appear first since the order is for HIPS +PLA is 1, and if you change the materials order, the beginner category moves away from first position as well).

Scope:
Not really my call

UI consistency:
I think keeping profiles as radio buttons gives a better user experience, and I don't think it would appear as being inconsistent. We have combobox for one thing, radio buttons for another, and checkbox for another.

TL;DR:

  1. Use Type categories
  2. Use current sorting algorithm
  3. Keep radio buttons for profiles

I only meant sorting the material names as alphabetical. That is a nifty system for sorting the category name, I like it!

"Taulman" type could be called "Nylon" and ProtoPasta could be called "Metal infused" Something like that to be less brand name specific if we wanted.

Orias added a subscriber: Orias.EditedSep 3 2015, 12:30 PM

Excuse the wall of text:

Is it possible to do a tree somehow based off an "ease of use" selection?

Ease of use:

Beginner (default)

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Custom
  • Show all

Beginner:

  • ABS
    • ABS (Village Plastics) [If there's only one choice, then there's not much to question on which filament type should I choose.]
  • PLA
    • PLA (eSUN) [Does our eSUN filament have an eSUN label somewhere?]
    • PLA (Village Plastics)
  • HIPS
    • HIPS (eSUN)
    • HIPS (Village Plastics)

Intermediate:

  • n-vent (Taulman)
  • t-glase (Taulman)
  • Metallic
    • Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta)
    • Stainless Steel PLA (Proto-pasta)
  • Wood
    • Laywoo-D3 Cherry (LayWood) (CC-Products)
  • Brick
    • Laybrick (CC-Products)
  • t-glase (Taulman)
  • Conductive
    • Conductive PLA (Proto-pasta)
  • Flexystruder Compatible
    • NinjaFlex (Fenner Drives)
    • SemiFlex (Fenner Drives)

Advanced:

  • Polycarbonate (Village Plastics)
  • PC-ABS Alloy, 3mm Filament, 500g Reel (Proto-pasta)
  • Natural PVA (eSUN)
  • Nylon
    • PCTPE, 3mm Filament, 1lb Reel (Taulman)
    • Bridge Nylon (Taulman)
    • Alloy 910 (Taulman
    • 645 Nylon (Taulman)
    • 618 Nylon (Taulman)

If a selection structure like that isn't possible, you can condense it into a flat list based off experience level:

Beginner (default)

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Custom
  • Show all (they see it all, including custom profiles they've created)

I'm not sure how this would effect the print profile choices, but you could incorporate the profile name by adding it to the end of the material strings below.

If they select Beginner, they see in the material selection list:

ABS (Village Plastics)
PLA (eSUN)
HIPS (eSUN)
HIPS (Village Plastics)

If they see Intermediate, they see in the material selection list the above plus:

n-vent (Taulman)
t-glase (Taulman)
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta)
Stainless Steel PLA (Proto-pasta)
Laywoo-D3 Cherry (LayWood) (CC-Products)
PC-ABS Alloy (Proto-pasta)
Laybrick (CC-Products)
Conductive PLA (Proto-pasta)
Flexystruder Compatible NinjaFlex (Fenner Drives)
Flexystruder Compatible SemiFlex (Fenner Drives)

If they select Advanced, they see in the material selection list the above plus:

Polycarbonate (Village Plastics)
Dual Extruder Compatible Natural PVA (eSUN)
PCTPE (Taulman)
Bridge Nylon (Taulman)
Alloy 910 (Taulman)
645 Nylon (Taulman)
618 Nylon (Taulman)

This would allow us to present the easier materials to new users. It would also encourage users to graduate to new filament types, and even extruder upgrades.

New users would also be curious and will select "Show all" at some point.

Orias added a comment.Sep 3 2015, 12:35 PM

There's also the ability to add a category for problematic filament for expert users only:

Expert:
Polycarbonate (Village Plastics)
645 Nylon (Taulman)
618 Nylon (Taulman)

Steven added a subscriber: Steven.Sep 3 2015, 12:36 PM
This comment was removed by Steven.
Inline Comments

I'm not certain how wx-python is going to act here but wouldn't we only see one combo box expanded at a time? If so, the combo boxes may be much closer together and the higher ones would just over lap the ones below when you're selecting from that box. I think that would be fine as it would make this section much smaller vertically.

I personally like the ease of use system Orias lays out above. That layout would make more sense, over vendor separation, for the later planned custom profiles.

Beginner (default)
Intermediate
Advanced
Custom
Show all

I'm not sure if I quite agree with which ease of use level some of the filaments are listed as in his proposal, but that could be further refined if we go that way.

Having another sub section would mean having an additional combo box which may be one combo box too many, I dunno :P

Orias added a comment.Sep 3 2015, 12:44 PM

Can the material selection and the quick print profile be combined into one selection option? That would leave:

Experience level and quick print profiles, with material name and vendor included in the profile naming structure.

Orias added a comment.Sep 3 2015, 12:51 PM

Ideally, we'd want to unify the ease of use with what's listed on our product page (match user experience levels), a profile material name similar to our store retail filament naming structure (so they can find it easily), and something that mimics the printing profile/config naming structure (if they want to get the latest and greatest).

print profiles:
PLA (eSUN) Standard
PLA (eSUN) High Speed
PLA (eSUN) High Detail
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) Standard
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) High Speed
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) High Detail
t-glase (Taulman) High Clarity

Here's my vote, but I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else thinks-

1. "Manufacturer" for a few reasons:

  • 1A Not every material has an obvious "type". Putting these in a "Blend" type category seems inadequate to me and would grow to be too large over time.
    • For example: PC-ABS by Proto-pasta, is it polycarbonate or ABS? That's a hybrid material, I'm guessing more ABS but the polycarbonate is what really distinguishes it.
    • Another example: Magnetic Iron PLA by Proto-pasta, is it PLA or iron? This is basically PLA carrying the iron, again the material seems to be PLA but the iron is what distinguishes it.
  • 1B It reinforces accountability for the manufacturer as it relates to ensuring quality of their materials.
  • 1C We develop profiles specifically for the manufacturers who we test, therefore they will be optimized accordingly and I can't imagine a situation where we have generic profiles by type -- materials are not that much of a commodity (yet, at least).
  • 1D It simplifies the selection process because manufacturers utilize varying naming conventions.
    • Example: Taulman 3D makes a premium PLA. However it's not called PLA, it's called In-PLA. Let's assume Taulman introduces a second type of PLA, one that's lower cost or has some other special property. Listing by manufacturer allows us to simply use the name that the manufacturer's give their product, whether it's made up by them or simply the type of material. On the other hand, listing by type forces us to sometimes use three identifiers for materials. In this case, would it be "PLA (Taulman 3D, In-PLA)"?

2. We should include every material available on LulzBot.com, because we have profiles for all of them... However we will not have these print profiles for every printer/tool head combination. Some will show fewer than others. Those users will have to go to Phabricator to get print profiles, then adapt/modify them if they're using an older printer/tool head combination. Also, "All" is a great idea! Here's a list by manufacturer in alphabetical order:

CC-Products

eSUN

Fenner Drives (Flexystruder only)

Taulman 3D

Proto-pasta

Village Plastics

Steven, yes only one combo box would expand at a time. I built that mock into one picture just to save time, so yes it would condense considerably. When the top boxes are open they cover up the lower ones.

Steven added a comment.EditedSep 3 2015, 12:57 PM

In reference to Orias:

print profiles:
PLA (eSUN) Standard
PLA (eSUN) High Speed
PLA (eSUN) High Detail
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) Standard
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) High Speed
Magnetic Iron PLA (Proto-pasta) High Detail
t-glase (Taulman) High Clarity

The High Speed, High Detail, etc would be a selection after the filament selection. See: https://code.alephobjectscontent.com/file/xform/preview/PHID-FILE-io3rtgrals76yzui7bsw/itoinezeznguqkph6f6k/

If one category gets too big we can change the name of it and spit them into two or more groups.

^ Sorry for wall of text. Probably the biggest shortcoming of moving the profiles into Cura is that we lose the ability to communicate: Ease of use and bed preparation.

Sounds like including ease of use has support here, I'm definitely open to that. Bed preparation is a tricky one, however. Most of the time that just means using a glue stick, but it could be more than that depending on the printer / tool head combo.

We can't have that tree structure using the combobox and adding a second combobox would be too much. We can however use a TreeView control which looks like this : http://wxpython.org/Phoenix/docs/html/TreeCtrl.html#appearance-control-appearance
You can use this example code to see how it looks and feels to navigate it : http://wxpython.org/Phoenix/docs/html/_downloads/TreeCtrl.1.py
I'm not a fan of using that however as it just feels like a weird widget to use for the material/profile selection.
I'm also not a fan of including the profile (standard/high speed/high detail) in the material selection, I prefer to keep them as radio buttons separate from the material selection (one reason is that people might think there are 3 types of PLA and wonder which type they have).

Orias added a comment.Sep 3 2015, 1:03 PM

Tooltip on nylon, PC, fenner drive stuffs: "Apply a PVA Glue solution/glue stick to the print surface
to aid in print performance".

Here are some other type names that we could use instead of beginner/intermediate/advanced:
Basic/Normal/Rigid (HIPS/PLA/ABS/n-vent)
Flexible (NinjaFlex/SemiFlex/PCTPE)
Nylon (618/645/910/Bridge/PCTPE)
Strong (polycarbonate, PC-ABS, 910)
Pretty/display/Optical/specialty (T-glase/all the protopastas)

Not sure where to put PVA yet. If there were another support type material it could go in a "support" category.

kenhara added a comment.EditedSep 3 2015, 1:10 PM

Some sort of suggestion cue would be neat. I will say that there are varying levels of importance regarding bed preparation. E.g. PEI + NinjaFlex = practically permanently stuck together if you don't use a glue stick.

Right now we communicate this on product pages and in the profiles section of LulzBot.com. LulzBot.com v3 will allow better ways to communicate alerts and things like this. However if it looks like a simple "Check" in the software, I fear it may mislead customers and lead to problems.

Edit for clarity: If selecting a print profile is a simple "check", it may mislead customers and lead to problems. Whereas now it's a manual process and we have multiple opportunities to alert the customer.

nickthetait HIPS would be another example of a popular support material (dissolves in Limonene)

Manufacturer" for a few reasons:

1A Not every material has an obvious "type". Putting these in a "Blend" type category seems inadequate to me and would grow to be too large over time
For example: PC-ABS by Proto-pasta, is it polycarbonate or ABS? That's a hybrid material, I'm guessing more ABS but the polycarbonate is what really distinguishes it.
Another example: Magnetic Iron PLA by Proto-pasta, is it PLA or iron? This is basically PLA carrying the iron, again the material seems to be PLA but the iron is what distinguishes it.

The types wouldn't be about it being ABS or PC or Iron, but more about being a filament for "Beginners" or "Advanced" users.

Actually, I'd suggest the following list of types :

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Specialty filaments
  • Metallic filaments
  • Nylons
  • Composite materials

And you can have things like PC-ABS appear in both Advanced and Composite categories, PLA-Iron in Intermediate, Specialty and Metallic categories, etc..

Some sort of suggestion cue would be neat. I will say that there are varying levels of importance regarding bed preparation. E.g. PEI + NinjaFlex = practically permanently stuck together if you don't use a glue stick.
Right now we communicate this on product pages and in the profiles section of LulzBot.com. LulzBot.com v3 will allow better ways to communicate alerts and things like this. However if it looks like a simple "Check" in the software, I fear it may mislead customers and lead to problems.

I've added a "Get more" clickable link that appears under the material selection if the profile has a url= key that points to the store. We could just as easily add a 'comment=' key in the profile which would appear below the material combobox when selected which could be used to indicate bed preparation for users.

kenhara added a comment.EditedSep 3 2015, 1:28 PM

I've added a "Get more" clickable link that appears under the material selection if the profile has a url= key that points to the store. We could just as easily add a 'comment=' key in the profile which would appear below the material combobox when selected which could be used to indicate bed preparation for users.

^ Cool :) Out of curiosity, would it be difficult to show add a sample comment and see a mock up / screen shot?

I've only used HIPS for making real stuff so far. Forgot that it can be a support!

I'll make a mock up of the bed preparation right now...

The text that would go into this material description area would have to be pretty small.
This one has too much text/too wide:

This seems the maximum space we could use. About 25 characters per row and maximum of 3 rows.

An alternative would be to say something like "click here for usage instructions or if you need to buy more filament" which links to the product page.

kakaroto added a comment.EditedSep 3 2015, 2:11 PM

This is what it looks with longer lines and up to 7 lines, I don't really see a problem with it, unless your screen is really small :

Don't forget that if you add things like "Conductive PLA (Proto-Pasta)" That materials combobox will already be wider than it is in @nickthetait's screenshot

kenhara added a comment.EditedSep 3 2015, 3:24 PM

Unrelated exploration of capitalization...

In the bottom "Other options" section of the left-hand menu: The first word (Print) has the first letter capitalized in both cases. However the subsequent words are inconsistent ("support structure" and "Brim").

Debian, Iceweasel, and Libre Office all appear to capitalize the first letter of every major word in their menu options. However in Cura, they appear to almost always capitalize the first letter of the first word, then leave the subsequent words all lower case.

Similarly, there are several exceptions under the File menu: Open Profile, Save Profile, Load Profile from GCode, Reset Profile to default, Recent Model Files, Recent Profile Files. It seems they're treating Profile, Model, and GCode as proper nouns, however I don't know why "Model" or "Files" are capitalized. Do you think any changes are needed here?

TL;DR Seems appropriate to change the capitalization for "Brim" to "brim" The file menu raises similar questions but does not need to be solved immediately for the screen shots we need for documentation.

Edit: Added "Model" above under File menu capitalization questions.

The area for material description seems sufficient to address concerns about bed preparation and link to the site for people to purchase more filament, and/or get more information about the material itself! Good stuff. Now, if we go that route, preparing that content is a separate task entirely :)

Seems like we're still bouncing around between type of filament, ease of use, and manufacturer category options... Not sure next steps, but if there's anything else I can opine about for this, please let me know.

Steven added a comment.Sep 3 2015, 4:34 PM

I'm going to veto a few of these things because of time restraints. We need to have this profile system done by the end of this week so we can finalize the TAZ manual revisions early next week. If we want to continue some of this discussion into the next release, I think that is fine and more than worthwhile.

  • The Comment text would mean we need finalized text for every filament tomorrow morning, 9/4/2015. I'm just going to say that isn't going to happen so if there is still interest we can put that in the next release.
  • The links to the product page is easier if we want to put that in to have some reference to more information on how to print with that material. That would also mean having all of those links ready to go the morning on 9/4/2015
  • The additional text edits that are not in the profile selection should go to a separate issue task.

I'm still putting my vote in for a basic ease-of-use system as it is simple. Any filament that requires bed prep (glue stick) or a different tool head, we could put in advanced. Also, if for some reason down the road we find an easier way to print a filament we could always move it to another category. This will mean a wider window section though as the names will include the filament vendor.

The one filament to many categories would be nice but I think it is more complex than we have time. Push to next release?

In general, we need a decision early tomorrow so we can finalize this.

"one filament to many categories" is already implemented

Important item to decide right now is the full list of materials and for which printer/tool head configurations. I'm just producing a spreadsheet that will show every profile that we have right now.

Here is the spreadsheet of all profiles available at this moment. Green highlights indicate matches between relevant columns. It would be very strange to release profiles for one nozzle size but not the other. Customers complain that "my Taz 5 can print 6 materials but my friends computer lets him print 15!"

Steven added a comment.Sep 4 2015, 8:52 AM

"one filament to many categories" is already implemented

Sorry, more specifically, I mean we do not have time to decide which additional categories we want and which filaments go into them... then to get everyone to agree on it.

Customers complain that "my Taz 5 can print 6 materials but my friends computer lets him print 15!"

This issue already exists before putting the profiles in the quick print settings. If someone pulled profiles down from github or LulzBot.com, the 0.35mm TAZ users are still not going to see as many profiles. I don't think this is a reason to not make getting to those profiles easier through the quick print settings. We should make it a goal to later add those in, but for now we should put all the profiles we have for all of the filament we sell.

kenhara added a comment.EditedSep 4 2015, 2:29 PM

Starting from Claudio's earlier post on Thursday September 3 at 12:30 PM.

FINAL VERSION CONFIRMED DURING SOFTWARE MEETING

First Print << LulzBot Mini

HIPS (eSUN)


First Print

ABS (Village Plastics) << TAZ 5 and below


Beginner

HIPS (eSUN)
PLA (eSUN)
PLA (Village Plastics)


Intermediate

ABS (Village Plastics)
Laybrick (CC-Products)
Iron PLA (Proto-pasta)
Steel PLA (Proto-pasta)


Advanced

Alloy 910 (Taulman)
Bridge Nylon (Taulman)
Laywoo-D3 (CC-Products)
n-vent (Taulman)
PCTPE (Taulman)
PC-ABS (Proto-pasta)
t-glase (Taulman)


Expert

Conductive (Proto-pasta)
HIPS (Village Plastics)
PC (Village Plastics)
618 Nylon (Taulman)
645 Nylon (Taulman)
Flexystruder Compatible NinjaFlex (Fenner Drives)
Flexystruder Compatible SemiFlex (Fenner Drives)
Dual Extruder Compatible Natural PVA (eSUN)


Guidance:

  • If it requires glue = Advanced
  • If it requires full hardware change (i.e. tool head) = Expert
  • Entire name must be under 25 characters

FUTURE RELEASE:

"All" option to show every material
Cleaning Filament <- Needs special software wizard

Experimental

BambooFill (ColorFabb)
WoodFill (ColorFabb)
In-PLA (taulman)

First print on a TAZ needs to be ABS (based on what is shipping with printers right now)

Orias added a comment.Sep 8 2015, 12:28 PM

I've used Harris' experience index to update that portion of the filament product pages.