A suggestion for the software

Hello all; I have tried many settings on all three modules of Snapmaker original. While I have had to think a bit and discover new and interesting ways to forget important aspects of getting the machine to work correctly, I am making some progress. The progress I am making cannot really be measured because every other user writing on this forum is using different computers and attempting to do many different things with very different levels of understanding. The instructional videos are helpful to a point but they too are being presented with certain assumptions about the user’s knowledge being made. As a complete novice, I am finding it a frustrating experience to discover everything by myself and having the latest software (Luban) seem to be temperamental and unhelpful (notwithstanding the tooltips that display when hovering over an option) in guiding the new user, I want to make a suggestion.

Would the Snapmaker team please consider producing a PDF format technical guide to getting a known result from a supplied and known test file for each of the modules for Snapmaker original. That way, the new user has a recipe to follow (good practice for instruction) and can learn the correct way to obtain a good result. The user will know if the resulting work is good because it will either match the test file or it will not.

I find myself looking for suitable and known reference material but it does not appear to be available. Even the forum has not yielded the results I am looking for under various headings such as laser, MacOs, file handling in Luban or JS. I am not looking for a cookie cutter experience but I would like confirmation that my work methods are correct for the task in hand. The Luban software is unusable for me right now because I cannot make it work. The .svg file import appears to be subject to issues that prevent laser engraving in JS. Watching a video presentation does not answer any of the questions I have as a new user.

The best example I can provide is the Snapmaker experience of assembling the new machine. Everything was clearly labelled and described and the assembly was no trouble for the new user. I had bought a machine previously (3018 Pro) that was a nightmare to assemble and then when it was completely assembled (about 14 hours to do that) it did not work as it was supposed to work. I am suggesting that a software guide would be a very helpful thing for a brand new user who is both new to 3D printing and new to Snapmaker machines.

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Hi, there is already a comprehensive guide on the laser engraving module for the Snapmaker Original. The file should be similar to the PDF guide you are talking about.

We will update the Online User Manual for the Snapmaker Original mid-June and it will replace instructions of JS to Luban. And there are “test files” already in Luban for the 2.0. We are working towards the same direction you are talking about, as shown with the instructions to print a vase on the user manual for the 2.0, which should give new users a sense of correct work methods. I have also forwarded you suggestions to our team. You can PM me with more suggestions and I will get back to you.

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Hello JKC20; thank you for this response. I had noted that particular guide at some other point when I was trawling through all of the material I could read about the machinery, its uses and how to start, so for me it was not as helpful as the author had intended. I had rejected it because it had only listed settings with no explanation of what each setting did or where it could be accessed from.

It presupposes that I know what the dwell time means or know where and how to change the settings. Work speed, jog speed, power and algorithm also need explaining to a person who is new to the world of CNC/Laser/Printing 3D. I could guess at what the terms mean but I would be wrong and it is not the same as being told what the specific nomenclature means. The hardware and software engineers have assumed rather a lot about the new user just entering the portals of making for the first time.

Technical manuals for software and instructional video presentations provide substance and detail that will help the new user to learn and to avoid common mistakes. A table of titled numbers does not fulfil that function at all. The work in creating the tables of recipes is obvious but I don’t see how one size can fit everyone’s circumstances. This is what is lacking for me… an understanding of who is using the machines and the software and what are they doing with them.

The final piece of that particular puzzle is what does the user know about what Snapmaker is designed to achieve. A few images on a page of items created with Snapmaker does little to inform the user of how to go about the task of replicating what is presented. I am just as guilty because it is easy.

Please be aware that really I struggled for hours and days to produce anything meaningful and finally, the log jam cleared and I get some sense and a little assistance from a forum member and I am finally able to make my first item. I am really hopelessly proud of it and it looks great so I do the thing I am complaining about and post a pretty image. I give the settings that I used and detail the method so that others can attempt to replicate what I have done if they want to.

What I have done by logging my approach on the showcase pages can in no way be called a technical manual. I could write the method up as if it belongs in a technical manual and that may be helpful if my results in the showcase are to be copied. Feedback may often sound like a complaint and I do not intend to shout at anyone or run the products into the ground. I happen to like what I have been able to achieve using Snapmaker. The pathway to getting to that point could have been assisted and simplified if the Snapmaker team had adopted an approach to technical writing which is common throughout the software industry.

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Thank you for writing to me. I will start with an experience I had when I first placed an order for Snapmaker. There was no acknowledgement from the vendor and every day I wrote e-mail or via a web page or I left a telephone message. In the event I received an effusive apology for being ignored and compensation by way of the 1600mW laser module. All was not quite as it should have been when I received the machine and I contacted the vendor again.

The matter was placed in the hands of an engineer who was detailed to assist me to get the machine up and running. Despite my explanations, the machine would not run. I suggested that a file be sent to me that was known to work and I could then assess the state of the machine. The file worked and there began my education. The file was a 3D file to be made in PLA. Many things became obvious to me then. Getting the filament into the printing module was incredibly difficult.

The instructions are to load the filament and show the button on the front of the module being touched or pressed. I could not depress the button on the module and thought it was broken by being completely seized and immobile. The engineer asked me to keep trying and eventually I was able to load the filament and at the end of the test I was able to remove the filament. I still had not pressed the button, which was on a very stiff spring. If I had had that stiff spring explained to me I would have fixed the module to the rail and then pressed it to load or unload the filament.

This incident illustrates what is missing for new users. There probably is no engineer who is familiar with the Snapmaker that would not have known about the stiffness of that button. The engineer helping me had forgotten that I knew nothing about the machine and assumed that I would know how to load the filament. It was not explained to me that the .svg files I had been attempting to work with could not be read correctly by the software.

So having detailed for you a time consuming and simple to fix couple of issues, you can now see what is missing from the instruction set for Snapmaker. A well written technical manual with supporting video demonstrations will prevent the time of support staff being wasted with the same issues every day.

I want to link you to some video demonstrations that support some image editing software that I use. Image editing is a complex series of processes and creating software and instructing users in its use is a massive undertaking. The company, Serif, decided to make a new imaging editing software that would compete with Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop was the long standing professional application that was the heavyweight of the professional photo editing world. Serif managed to revolutionise the way that image editing was done because they did not have 20 years of legacy software approach to drag along with them.

The link is to 90 short video tutorials lasting a few minutes each. It is a model of clarity. Many test files were provided to the users with a users manual that detailed every button push and discussed every software widget that was used to drive the software. It is very complete and super clear. It can be used in the way that requires the reader to go from cover to cover or, like the videos, the user is free to research how to carry out a certain task.

I commend this type of approach to the Snapmaker team. The basic instructions for the software were free via an online manual which I have also linked for you. https://www.dropbox.com/s/d3uxmmypdx9ruzw/Affinity%20Photo%20Manual.pdf?dl=0

The user manual is also available as a hardcover workbook with many example files. The users would have paid £40 for this. I bought the software and the workbook to their Photo application. It brought me up to speed quickly and in the right way so that I was using the software as the designers and engineers had intended.

I hope to have given you some idea of the pathway that is open to the Snapmaker team and it would improve the user experience beyond measure.

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Hi Jepho, sorry for the late response and thank you for posting a very thorough explanation of the predicaments you have gone through. It took you a long time to learn the process but unfortunately our guides only helped to some certain extent. I get where you are coming from, and I can see many users can benefit from having detailed technical manuals with test files as references. That way new users even with different backgrounds can learn the process faster.

I will forward your suggestion including the examples from Affinity to our team, but please know that we might not have a conclusion right away, as opposed to something that can be fixed in a software or firmware update. I can see that you are passionate about the technologies your Snapmaker brings you. Keep up the good work! :+1:

Hi JKC20, thank you for this response. As long as the suggestion gets some air time with your development team, I feel that my suggestion has served its purpose. The timing is not a matter of life and death but to know that the idea may be on the roadmap is all it takes for the users to have continuing confidence in the products.

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