What is Klipper

Klipper: A High-Performance 3D Printing Firmware

3D printing has come a long way in the last decade, with new technologies and hardware advances making it easier than ever to create complex objects from the comfort of your own home. However, the software that powers these machines is just as important as the hardware itself, and one of the most popular firmware solutions for 3D printers today is Klipper.

Klipper is a 3D printing firmware that runs on a Raspberry Pi or other single-board computer (SBC) and controls the movement of the printer. It is designed to be highly flexible and customizable, allowing users to fine-tune their printer settings for optimal performance. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what Klipper is, how it works, and some of its key features.

What is Klipper?

Klipper is an open-source firmware that was first released in 2017 by Kevin O'Connor. It is designed to run on a microcontroller connected to a Raspberry Pi or other SBC, which then handles the real-time motion planning and control. This setup allows Klipper to offload many of the computationally intensive tasks from the microcontroller to the more powerful SBC, resulting in faster and more accurate printing.

One of the key advantages of Klipper is its support for a wide range of 3D printers and controller boards. It can work with popular boards such as the RAMPS and SKR, as well as newer boards like the Duet and Smoothieboard. It also supports a variety of 3D printer firmwares, including Marlin and RepRapFirmware.

How Does Klipper Work?

Klipper is designed to be modular and customizable, with each component of the firmware handling a specific task. The microcontroller on the printer board communicates with the SBC running Klipper over a serial connection, sending it information about the printer's status and receiving commands for movement and other actions.

The SBC then takes these commands and generates real-time motion plans using an algorithm called "look-ahead". This algorithm predicts the printer's movements several steps ahead, allowing it to react more quickly to changes in direction and speed. The SBC then sends these plans back to the printer board, which executes them in real-time.

What Are Some Key Features of Klipper?

One of the standout features of Klipper is its support for pressure advance, a technique that can greatly improve the quality of 3D prints. Pressure advance helps to eliminate the "blobbing" or "oozing" that can occur when the printer stops or changes direction, resulting in smoother and more consistent prints.

Klipper also supports a variety of advanced calibration features, including bed leveling and PID tuning. These features allow users to fine-tune their printer settings for optimal performance, resulting in more accurate and reliable prints.

Finally, Klipper is highly customizable and extendable, with a growing library of plugins and add-ons that can be used to enhance its functionality. These plugins include support for additional sensors and printers, as well as integrations with third-party tools like OctoPrint.