A small distraction I thought up a few days ago involves how we organise our STL and gcode files. The Windows and Linux file explorers are rather limited when dealing with exotic files (no previews, no metadata). Additionally, I don’t know how other people manage their files, but mine are scattered across my main PC, my laptop and a NAS, within arbitrarily named folders filled with overly long file names (in an attempt to capture some metadata). It certainly has it’s limitations!
This seems ripe for an application of some sort (ignoring the patently absurd, if rational, argument to simply impose a little order on things).
I have always enjoyed using Adobe Lightroom to organise and work on my photos – it has several features that could be very useful when dealing with 3D printer files:
- Directory scanning & sync
- Arbitrary collections and groups
- Adding additional metadata, including comments and ratings
- Previews of non-standard files (e.g. RAW)
I wish I could announce that I have completely written a “Lightroom for 3D Printers” but at this stage I have only created a skeleton app with limited functionality:
- Drop a directory in the top left panel to load it.
- The top file view filters only STL files.
- When an STL is selected the related gcode files are displayed below. This assumes the files start with the same name, e.g. cube.stl -> cube.gcode.
- Any metadata in the gcode file is displayed in a table view (Slic3r only).
- Double clicking a STL file displays a preview (thanks to Tony Buser’s Thingiview).
- Double clicking a gcode file displays a preview (thanks to Joe Walnes’ gcode-viewer).
… and that’s it … so far.
The reason I am posting about this already is to share the idea, gauge interest, and to make the source code available in case anyone wants to pick it up and hack with it.
I chose to develop it with node-webkit, which allows you to develop with HTML + JS + CSS but still release a native binary. (This is necessary in order to use node.js so the local filesystem can be accessed). I’ve added a few notes on the github project on how to hack with it. Or there is a Windows binary available to play with: 3D-Printroom-distribution.zip.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone thinks such an app would be useful.