When I ordered the Fabrikator-mini, I was not concerned too much because I had some experience with 3D printing, but of course getting things to work in Linux is always a challenge. Here are some of them.
The very nicely printed manual told me to install Repetier-host and Cura.
I added Mint 17.3 to an old laptop and installed the Linux versions of these programs only to find that Repetier-host uses Mono 4.3, but the default version of Mono with Mint 17.3 was v3.4 or something like that. I installed repository and the key to install the newer version. Then after adding the new version of Mono the computer became unstable.
After reinstalling Mint 17.3 and Repetier-host and Cura again. I tried the software without updating the version of Mono. It seemed fine.
After playing around with some KDE distros recently, I came across an article saying that Fedora was going to incorporate 3d printing software. I then remembered that I had been using Korora Linux about a year and a half ago. I downloaded it to see what it offered and was pleasantly surprised.
Whilst there were some minor issues with updating using the Apper program, it was an upstream issue that has been reported and is being worked on I used YUMex instead.
I installed Pronterface and Slic3r and it was really easy. Simple as installing from YUM. In Pronterface I clicked connect but it did not connect. I realized it was a permissions issue. I did a quick check and found that to fix it I needed to add myself to the tty group. That was all the installation configuring needed.
As for other choices, the repositories have several other 3d printer utilities that can be downloaded: skeinforge, Cura, netfabb basic are a few that come to mind.
Overall, I really like Korora KDE edition. I had no issues setting up and running 2 monitors, and I have a spinning cube desktop. Considering the age of the computer it runs pretty well.
While Mageia5 has not quite been released, using Mageia 4 I did have to go and set up Slc3r and Pronterface from GitHub. It took quite a while and it was a lot of reading to figure out if I had all the dependencies. It is mentioned that it is proposed but I am not sure if the drivers will be added to Mageia 5.
I am pretty sure when I do my next full back up and reinstall of my main computer I will be moving from Kubuntu over to Korora.
After putting it all together and double double checking the wiring I turned it on.
The 3d printer is designed to work with Pronterface. There was a Linux version so I downloaded it and installed it in Mageia Linux.
I could not connect. I tried various things and tried again still could not connect. Baud rate was supposed to be 250000 I read the number again that is pretty fast and it was not one of the available baud rates available. I emailed to confirm that this was the correct baud rate and sheepishly mentioned that I was using Linux and that I had an issue.
I was expecting the standard “What’s that?” or “We do not support that” reply
instead I got an email back confirming the baud rate and whilst not being very familiar with Linux gave several suggestions of workarounds or how to fix my issue (way more than I expected).
I found that the issue with the connection was that I needed to run a patch for the pyserial.patch driver.
Details here near bottom of page look for the section “Connection with printer failed” http://reprap.org/wiki/Printrun
Finally I was able to connect. I made the bed go forward and back the gantry go left and right. Did a whole pile of tests and then I was ready to print. The kit came with some example shapes.