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Thread: General 3D Printing Thread

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Bryan Mayland's Avatar
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    General 3D Printing Thread

    The 3D Printed Case thread has gone off the rails and into generalized discussion about 3D Printing in general so I've started a new thread to try to get that one back on track. I'm still getting my Prusa i3 set up to make a good print and here's the progression of how things can go wrong along when trying to print a bog-standard cube:


    From left to right we have:
    -- No bed adhesion
    -- Way shifting X axis, which I think was caused by either the belt being too loose or the pulley set screw not being tight enough
    -- Head just smooshing plastic all over the place
    -- Not enough current to the X motor making it not place properly
    -- Getting closer!

    Just some posts from other last thread I found useful:
    Optimal Layer Heights for your Z axis
    Setting up your 3D printer
    Ballpark do-it-yourself parts list
    Matt's Slic3r settings

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    Questions:

    1. What filament are you using?

    2. What is your build platform?

    3. Have you checked your stepper driver ref voltages?

    Also, please post your slic3r settings. I'll post some of my settings when I get home tonight.

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Bryan Mayland's Avatar
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    1. White ABS 3mm filament from MakerFarm at 210C hotend
    2. A piece of glass from a picture frame covered in Kapon tape. This will be replaced tonight.
    3. I have not yet but I'm not sure how much current my motors need. I thought the easy way was to turn down the current until they don't move, then turn them up until they do?

    All my slic3r settings are the default. I had changed them but I went back to default until I can get my axis problem worked out. I did notice that when I load an STL in pronterface and it kicks off slic3r, the gcode it spits out is significantly different than what I get if I slice it from Slic3r manually. For one tiny test, the pronterface version starts at Z 0.035 and the Slic3r version starts at the proper Z 0.040. One uses 68.7mm of filament vs 75.4mm in the other.

    EDIT: Well that's handy. Looks like if pronterface launches Slic3r it gets the default configuration, which is different than the default configuration it creates when you run Slic3r yourself.
    Last edited by Bryan Mayland; 06-14-2013 at 08:56 AM.

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    I wouldn't load .stl files directly into pronterface for a couple of reasons. 1. It's slow, 2. you can't easily select the config file, 3. you will recalc your gcode file every time. If you open slic3r and do a quick slice and save as, you can do it once and then load that same gcode file into pronterface every time. Furthermore, in slic3r, you have the ability to add multiple objects using the plater tab and can then export the combined gcode file.

    Depending on what drivers you have, there will be a recommended vref potential that you can calculate and then set your drivers to based upon your motor current rating. You can also do the turn down then up method too, but you may be underpowering your motor and missing steps occasionally.

    You need to make sure that slic3r has the correct values for your nozzle and filament diameter. Don't just go by the reported filament diameter. Measure with calipers in several places and then input the average. You will also have to play with retraction settings after you get some of other things worked out.

    BTW, 210 C seems a little low to me.
    Last edited by Tom Kole; 06-14-2013 at 08:43 AM.

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Bryan Mayland's Avatar
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    Yup you're right I just found the same thing out. Glad it isn't just me that pronterface's slicing stinks for. I'm definitely going to hook up a rPi to this thing and install octoprint because it is just seriously cool.

    There are plenty of things to futz with and like you've said it is hypnotic to watch it print so I'll play with it more tonight.

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    Try a hotend temp of 230C

    Definitely check your Vref's if you can

    You're using RAMPS 1.4?

    Load this gcode into your machine.

    It will put the machine through it's paces and allow you to adjust the Vref to get nice, smooth motion.

    Give us a screenshot of your slic3r settings. There's magic in them thar' numbers!

    //EDIT: Sorry, forgot to make it public! Damn you Google! You already give all my stuff to the NSA!
    Last edited by M Miller; 06-14-2013 at 09:42 AM.

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    Other useful links:

    http://calculator.josefprusa.cz/
    http://nathan7.eu/stuff/RepRapCalcul...orStuffPrecise
    http://reprap.org/wiki/Triffid_Hunte...ibration_Guide
    https://github.com/alexrj/Slic3r/wiki/Calibration


    Also, you should auto-tune your hotend for optimal performance. M303 in the command line. Make sure you do it from a cold start (you want the hotend to be room-temp). Also, did you just plunk the thermistor into the hotend? Increasing the contact area by wrapping a tiny bit of tinfoil around the thermistor's glass bead then inserting into the recess will help get you better temps. Another thing to do is to insulate the brass with some ceramic tape and secure it with some kapton.

    Here's a wrapped Prusa Nozzle. Helps to maintain temp and radiates a lot less heat.

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    TVWBB Honor Circle Bryan Mayland's Avatar
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    Of course I just plunked my thermistor in the hotend then wrapped it with tape! Isn't that what everyone does? While building this thing it made me wonder how much of the what is done is because someone did it once because it was all they had available, the results were ok, now everyone does it. Sticking a power resistor into a chunk of metal then taping a thermistor to it? C'mahn!

    I am using RAMPS 1.4 with one of the Ultimate LCDs. The factory firmware limits extruder temp to 225C so I thought that was where it started getting dangerous and stayed away from that. I'll look into some methods to get better thermistor contact. Is heatsink compound frowned upon for some reason?

    I think my problems are still mechanical at this point though. It may be hard to see but my layers don't line up. They're better than they were the first few prints but the way I left it last night, if I moved the head back and forth a few hundred times it would end up at a slightly different place at the end. I think I need to work out why that is before I can start messing with the slicing. Those calibration guides look great though. I've got lots of time to work on this this weekend so I'll be following your advice.

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    I use a thermal epoxy to mount one of my thermistors to my aluminum build plate. Bought it on amazon for around $5 and it works like a champ....

    I extrude ABS at 230C. Download the latest Marlin firmware, or perhaps makerbot has a preconfigured version for download, and change the max settings to 245 or 250C.

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    Yeah, change that upper limit to 245 for a J-head. Don't go above 245 for a prolonged period of it will literally melt. Also make sure that thermistor is really in there and well secured. If it falls out you will have a melted J-head for sure.

    I don't know if thermal grease is rated for that high a temp. 230C is pretty high. Fire cement would do the trick though.

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