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How to use the PrintrBot at the lab (notes at the end)

Modified on Tue, 01 Sep 2015 11:39 PM by yuri izgordu Categorized as Uncategorized
Step to use the 3D printer

(By Yuri Izgordu) More knowledgeable members are free to edit and add more info and steps.

Disclaimer: I don't know everything about 3D printing. I know a lot about printing and how to use the printers. But 6 months ago I knew nothing on how to use 3D printers, I learned by researching and asking members to explain and show me how to use them, and I often end up asking them, after Google fails me, what to do when I hit problems. But I will show you how to make prints really good quality prints with the printers at the lab. Remember I can only give advice to the best of my knowledge so don't hold me responsible if the printer doesn't do what you want or if something breaks or you get hurt using the printer. Let's get started :)

Step 1: Do your research and know the process of 3D printing and the limitation of 3D printing.

Step 2: Acquire a 3D model of what you want to print. The most common file format is STLs and __ . You could also create a custom object in programs like Tinkercad.com or 123design or Autodesk. Be careful that the units your creation is in, millimeters or else it will cause a slew of problems printing.

Step 3: Turn the power on for the printer, the on switch is located on the black box PC PSU. Make sure the PC is on and login password is "hacktheworld". Also make sure the printer's USB is connected to both the printer and the PC.

Step 4: Run repetier. Icon is red R inside a silver circle.

Step 5: Press connect in the upper right corner. If successful the icon will change to red disconnect button. Sometimes the printer will connect even if the printer is not powered (since the board gets power from the USB).

Step 6: In repetier go the right section where the tab window is and go to "manual control" Here you can move the extruder and control the temps of the extruder and the bed manually. The circles and arrows are like a compass where you can move the head a certain distance depending on the which section you press the further out you press the bigger the movement. Careful not all directions have a auto stop so don't press a direction too much. There four house button these are the home buttons, they bring the extruder to 0 position for that axis Press the home button towards the lower right, this homes the extruder in all the directions, if the extruder moves this will confirm the printer is connected.

Step 7: Move the extruder Z up and away from the front of the printer and prepare to clean the bed. There are razors and painters chisel thing you can use. There is also acetone is there is plastic or glue really stuck to the bed. The bed is secured by black clips so if you apply excessive force you will move the bed and the clips will slip off and delevel the bed.

Step 8: To ensure the object printed stays on the bed while printing apply either painters tape, hair spray, or printing glue. Repeated layers of glue will make it more difficult to remove so clean according. Also debris may affect printing if its thick enough.

Step 9: In manual control pre-heat the bed and extruder. ABS extruder 240 bed 100 PLA 200 bed 50. (I believe check config files.)

Step 10: As the printing is heating up you need to add a calibrate object to check the printer's level height and extrudion. Go to the object placement tab. Add objects with the plus sign, remove with the minus or delete key. Hover over each button to see what it is, there is auto position, drop (sets object to z height to 0), split (if mult-part object it will split apart, use with caution), copy. Add the object test spiral, this will print out the pattern and show if the bed is the correct height and flow is correct.

Step 11: After you have the test spiral loaded and positioned go to the slicing tab and make sure the drop down menus match the material you are using either ABS or PLA. There are 2 menus that you need to change for each material. Ignore the middle that says 170. You can press config and bring up the slicer config menu to change advanced settings. (Use with extreme caution) If you make changes be sure to save it under a new file with the date and your name on it. After you have set the correct settings and press slice object. If if it gives you an error go to back to object placement and drop the object. 85% of the time that is the issue.

Step 12: If the printer has heated up you need to be sure the printer can extrude. You can do this by going to the manual control and press the extrude button, if filament comes out success you can print the test print. If not you may need to reset the filament by lifting the top clip and pulling out the filament and cutting the first few inches if the filament is bent or chewed up. Then reinsert it through the clip and into the hole until it stops deep, the hole has a edge so be careful the filament doesn't get caught or else the printer wont extrude when it prints. There is no feedback for extrudion so if the filament is catching the printer wont know and will proceed to print with air.

Step 13: Start the print by pressing the run job button on the top row. The printer will automatically home itself and start printing when it reaches the right temp. Sometimes if you preheat it to the wrong temp it may not start printing. If this happens press stop job and start job again.

Step 14: Once the print starts make sure the filament comes out and is sticking to the bed. As it prints MAKE SURE the lines come out like a fine string not too squished and it doesn't fall and dribble on to the bed. Watch the print as it goes and check the spool for any snags or tightness. Be sure to unwind the filament so that there is a lot of slack depending on your print size.

Step 15: After the print finishes allow the bed to cool and remove the test gently and evenly and inspect it, if it looks good the printer is ready for your print. Trust me do this test print because long prints not calibrated will come out bad and broken.

Step 16: Once you are sure the printer is ready go back to "step 11" and load your own object to print and repeat the rest of the step.

This repo: https://github.com/fubarlabs/PrinterbotPlusSlic3rSettings

Software: http://slic3r.org/

Contains the PLA Slic3r settings for the Printrbot PLus. Just import this config into Slic3r, then load the STL file you want printed.

Warning first position the STL file in the orientation you would like it to be printed in before had. RepetierHost is pretty good at positioning.

Last step is upload the G-code to repetier host on 3dmachine

The next thing to add is the Webcam.

Stretch goal for the moment is Web based positioning, and slicing. Also, we should start testing Nylon.

ScrewTurn Wiki version Some of the icons created by FamFamFam.