Add a smart LCD controller?

B9Creator - Ideas and Discussions
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akgold
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#1 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:46 pm

would this benefit the B9 to add a smart LCD controller?
http://www.3ders.org/articles/20140124-add-a-smart-lcd-controller-to-your-robo3d-printer.html
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danmr
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#2 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:00 pm

I thing for the $69 that they sale those it will be a cool upgrade, dunno if necessary but its a very interesting proposition, to free your computer from the printer.

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mikej
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#3 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:46 pm

It only generates gcode (text), not the video signal needed by the projector.

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akgold
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#4 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:52 am

:)
I'm so far behind I think I'm First !!

Billions
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#5 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:39 am

I wish that there was an app for an iPad, etc., so you wouldn't have to tie up a computer on the B9. That would be great. But it would likely involve a specialized USB/Video out combo piece of hardware that would cost quite a bit.

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brumbaer
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#6 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:18 am

Basically it would be possible to use an iPad - add an VGA adapter 39$ or so, a BT4.0 interface (bought one for 8$ from some chinese supplier, but there is also a BT4.0 shield available ) a 5V power supply (< 10$), because the Arduino is now powered via USB, but that wouldn't be the case with a BT4.0 interface.

The question is why would you want to do that. For the price of an iPad, you get some kind of laptop to use with your B9 Creator, without the need to write a new software and make hardware modifications.

In some other thread somebody talked about using a Raspberry - that should be a simpler, less expensive way to add an "dedicated controller" to your B9Creator.

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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#7 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:41 pm

The question is why would you want to do that. For the price of an iPad, you get some kind of laptop to use with your B9 Creator, without the need to write a new software and make hardware modifications.

Well, for starters, I already own two iPads, so like many people, it might not be an additional expenditure like getting another computer would be. And of course, I do understand that someone somewhere would have to create the software - in reality not very realistic or profitable for anyone since there probably aren't more than 1000 people using this printer. Developing iOS/Android software for the B9 would be a labor of love with very little benefit for the skilled person able to do it.

I'm just hypothesizing that this B9 could be run from a tablet or a phone, once the layer files are generated on a computer, and be a far quieter and more efficient.

Again, though - just a pipe dream. Currently I use one of my old laptops on the B9.

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brumbaer
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#8 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:43 pm

Sorry,
I phrased that badly - language barrier.
I didn't mean that literally. I understand that there are reasons and even "because its cool" or "just because I want it" are valid reasons in my opinion.
What I wanted to express was that when judging pain and gain, one may find more effortless ways to reach the same or most of the goals.

PS
I for one wouldn't want my iPad to be bound up for hours :)

etienne
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Post#9 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:47 am

Isn't the B9 software also available for linux ?

I guess it does need two Video outs, otherwise the Raspberry PI could do the job. it has an HDMI port that could be connected to the Video In of the projector, but again than you have a second screenmissing, for controlling the software.

Maybe two RaspberryPI's ?

In either case, the software would probably need some adaption.

cl2635
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Post#10 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:55 am

if it is possible, it would be nice because you don't need a free laptop/computer or when you need to take the machine to a show, meeting or friend's place and want the benefit of printing from the LCD screen without having to occupy your laptop or haul that 10 year old desktop you set aside for printing use :)

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Robert Howle
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#11 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:41 am

I don't know anything about how all this works, with that being said, what are the changes needed to put a sliced file on a thumb drive and plug into the B9. Please explain, i really don't have a clue here.
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brumbaer
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Post#12 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:04 am

Basically the projector shows an image for some time, than goes blank, changes the image, goes blank and so on.
When it goes blank the mechanic does some stuff, like moving the vat and build platform.
The image has to come from somewhere and the control signals for the mechanics have to come from somewhere. And both has to be synchronized.

The mechanics are controlled by a mikrocontroller - a small computer, even if it doesn't look like one.

This mikrocontroller executes commands like open vat, close vat, move the build table and it also sends commands to the projector - no video data just commands like switch yourself on.

The video (exposure) data is provided by your PC/Mac/Linux Box. The PC (etc.) tells the mikrocontroller, when to open the vat, when and what to tell the projector.

If the mikrocontroller would be more intelligent and could provide the video signal to the projector (there are mikrocontrollers that can do that) we wouldn't need a PC. But the one used in the B9 is too small for that.

So you will have to replace the PC with a device, that can do what the PC does, i.e. create the video and talk to the mikrocontroller.
That could be an iPad, because it can talk to the mikrocontroller and you can connect an projector to it, and it is programmable, so you could write a program doing all that has to be done.
That could be an Rasberry or any other form of computer that has an video output.
You could build a mikrocontroller from scratch being able to do that, but it would be most likely more expensive than buying something that's already exist.
One limitation is that depending on the UI you want to have, you must be able to have two separate video ports, one for the UI and one for the exposure data. If you are satisfied with a simple UI, you could use a text only LCD display, so there would be no need for a second "graphics port".

Whenever standard video output as VGA is involved it is simples to use a system that provides it already. So a single board computer like the Rasberry or a small computer like an iPad are natural choices.

Even if you only wanted to start an job automatically on inserting an USB stick, you would choose something like a Rasberry, because you will have top create the video for the projector.

B9Creator 2.0 could even use a Rasberry or something like it as mikrocontroller for the machine instead of the arduino and you download the sliced files via ethernet to it and it generates the video and controls on his own without further need of your PC.

The point is using an Arduino and control it with a PC and get the video data from a PC is cheaper and easier to develop mainly because people have more experience with PCs than Rasberries and the resources on a PC are so much bigger that you get away with a lot of things that will cause problems on a smaller computing device.

So basically even if you only want to "connect a thumb drive only", you will need a computer with video output to generate the data from it and control the B9 - may it be a PC, iPad, Rasberry or whatever.

Which device to choose depends on cost, form factor, UI needed, development experience and personal preferences.

I'd take an iPad and mount it on an swan neck fastened to the B9 - mainly because it looks cool - provide that the OS doesn't prevent you for whatever reason.

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Robert Howle
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Post#13 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:02 pm

Thank you very much for the explanation. All of it makes sense. Understood everything, except don't know what UI stands for.

Robert
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brumbaer
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Post#14 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:50 pm

UI stands for User Interface. That could be anything from nothing, over a number of buttons, switches and leds to a touch screen or even a PC or a cell phone.
And while you often do not need many, if any, UI elements to start a process (i.e. insert USB stick, everything else is done automatically - what do I need an UI for ?),
You might to have some status information, like how much print time remaining.
and you will be needing one as soon as problems occur. The user would want to get an indication of the problem - wrong file format or no file ? Is the motor blocked ? and so on.
Than again you could connect a PC for diagnostics, so the device itself does not need any kind of status display, but that somehow defies the stand alone approach - you see it's a can of worms, many ways to solve (and create ;) ) problems.
The point is the possibilities are endless and when you exactly know what you want you can choose the one that you think fits best.
Knowing exactly what you want and expressing it is a serious problem, getting it understood is a even more serious problem, especially if the one expressing and the one listening have different backgrounds/concepts/ideas how things work i.e. programmer - jeweler.

danmr
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Post#15 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:41 pm

What about old smart phones like the Samsung galaxy phones, they can output HDMI video, and they also have slide show apps. They come loaded with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, I even have a .3dm file viewer that looks a lot like the B9 layout UI; They are small computers after all, but will they be able to handle it? Theoretically?

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Robert Howle
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#16 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:05 pm

Thank you for the time u spent on my tutorial. Greatly appreciated.

Robert Howle
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brumbaer
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#17 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:06 pm

Quote from danmr on February 13, 2014, 23:41
What about old smart phones like the Samsung galaxy phones, they can output HDMI video, and they also have slide show apps. They come loaded with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, I even have a .3dm file viewer that looks a lot like the B9 layout UI; They are small computers after all, but will they be able to handle it? Theoretically?


The base components are there.

Theoretically - Yes like in asking a mechanic "can you repair my car ?"

I do neither know enough about the inner workings of the B9 software nor about the inner workings of an Android phone to give a more definite answer.

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brumbaer
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#18 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:09 am

I admit I couldn't resist.
I tried to use an iPad to control my B9 Printer.
The software is not based on the B9Creator software, because I don't know wether the iPad supports the same version of QT and the UI and the communications would be different anyway and I'm faster doing things on my own instead of trying to understand what somebody else thought when he did what he did.
Disadvantage: there is nothing to be taken for granted - there is no reason why something should work only because it does work in B9Creator Software -and there might be differences in behavior.

Anyway to show what it looks like I did a movie - I reasoned it would be faster than writing some pages and do screenshots, as I have to go through all the motions anyway for testing. But I doubt that this really worked out.

The video is a bit longish and could be shortened, but not now :)

There are two videos the a version is of a bit lower quality but only a fifth in size. If you do not really have to read every word on the screens please use the a version, to save bandwidth.
I tried to convert it for youtube, but the converter didn't manage to convert the file.

So here are the links:
http://brumbaer.de/B9Pada.mp4
http://brumbaer.de/B9Pad.mp4

Edit:

The iPad (iPad 4 - I can't spare my iPad Air) is easily up to it, but I have my doubts about an iPad 2.
Can't say anything about performance on an Adroid device.

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mikej
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Add a smart LCD controller?

Post#19 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:45 am

Great work! Do you plan to offer it as an app?
As I've mentioned, I'm working on a new software version (still!) and it includes a total rework of the firmware. That's going to change the API commands to the printer so let me know if you want a draft of the API / firmware so you can adapt to the new version.
Measure Twice, Cut Once.

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brumbaer
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Post#20 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:48 am

Thanks Mike.
I haven't decided. I neither intent to sell the app nor the hardware, but I might make the app available for free and put the schematic and pcb layout on the web.
But wether I do so at all, depends on the interest and if there is a way to handle the distribution of the hardware.
The vga adapter is easy enough to get hold of, but the BT Adapter is different. The modules have to be configured and a PCB needs to be produced and soldered - or it has to be replaced with an Standard Arduino BTLE shield.

I just checked there were only 4 people looking at the video up to now and only 1 reply (yours), so this doesn't look like there is much interest.
This might be partially due to this thread, which might only be of interest to a small group of people - I probably should post the info again in a separate thread with a catching title :).

Anyhow I'm very interested in the new API and would be happy to take a look.

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