First, I have just started to spend time with FDM printing in the last few months. So there is a risk I might be re-visiting old topics.
I was very interested in the early RepRap, but when my then-16 year old son knocked up a girl, caring for my infant grandson became the activity that consumed my spare time.
Fast-forward to the present. Really impressive amounts of progress, and … in many ways still very primitive. (To pick one - how many folk have been injured separating a print from the bed?)
The 3D printing process is a set of equations with rather a lot of unknowns. To get to predictable results, we have to eliminate the unknowns.
To pick one example…
One of the settings always used is the temperature of the print head, and this is entirely wrong as a manual setting.
What we care about is the temperature of the filament when it leaves the nozzle. That is what matters to our prints. When the filament moves slowly and majestically through the print head, the temperature of the extruded plastic will be very close to the temperature of the print head.
Fair enough. Do you want all your prints to be slow and majestic?
The temperature of the zone transferring heat into the plastic should be calculated. The end-goal is plastic leaving the nozzle at an exact temperature.
To calculate the temperature of the print head, you need to know the desired temperature of the plastic when it leaves the nozzle, the amount of plastic flowing through the hot-end, and the exact thermal characteristics of the plastic.
This means filament manufacturers must meet or provide exact parameters. This means printer firmware must target exact extruded-plastic temperatures.
Perhaps this discussion has occurred prior (when I was otherwise occupied), but if so, I am not finding obvious reference.
To take this technology further, we need to take out more of the manual “tuning” (or fiddling around) presently needed.