General 3D Printing Thread


 

Tom Kole

TVWBB Pro
I can't figure out who is in charge of the RAMPS board development and I don't want to shoot off emails to everyone in the 3D printing world and bother them.

This is from the RAMPS 1.4 wiki page

Name: Johnny Russell
Email: johnny at ultimachine.com
Company Name: UltiMachine
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
My Prusa i3 kit was just delivered, got it unboxed, everything seems to be in order so far...
Building will commence immediately...
Wish me luck!
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Well, I'm assembled up to having the y-axis mounted, but when the carriage slides out the printer bed nicks the end stop on the side that only has one bearing.... I'm not sure if the bed is warped, or I have something out of melvin? I loosened up the nuts on the threaded rods (that secure to the frame) which I had very carefully tightened making sure to keep everything square and level, the bed still nicks the end stop....
How much clearance do you have down at that end? I don't think I could have something assembled wrong? Seems to me like there should be two bearings on both sides... Perhaps I tightened down that single bearing mount too much and dug the bearing into the wood a bit...
I would appreciate your feedback on this, right now I'm thinking I need to put something thin under that bearing to give the bed a tiny lift there, what do ya think?
 

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Wow I never noticed how close they are to hitting each other. Mine has slightly less clearance on the one bearing side as well and it is less than 0.004", which is the smallest feeler gauge I have. It fits in but is a little snug. Maybe give it a light sanding? That part doesn't need to be exactly that high, so you could shorten it a little.

I also disassembled my X Carriage (loosened the screws anyway) and rocked it back and forth and re-screwed it. Now my X Motor seems to stay the same temperature at the other motors.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Well, there's gonna be no extruding here today, my kit was missing the extruder motor gear... I'm pretty bummed cause it seems I've been waiting forever already...

I ended up putting a thin piece of plastic sheet under the single bearing on the bed to lift it up a bit, that did the trick, the bed comes real close but doesn't hit the stop/idler. I had thought of sanding the idler down a bit but right now the edges are all black from the laser cutting and sanding that side would make it turn white again, I just didn't want to look at that forever so I went this other route. This interference between the bed and the idler cost me a lot of time and frustration, I basically ended up taking apart the whole frame just to make sure something wasn't out of melvin, it turns out the problem was due to a combo of very low clearance in that area, and the bearing biting into the wood a little much on the front end of the single bearing on the bed.

All of my carriages move pretty smoothly (I think?). Before I built I noticed my smooth rods weren't so smooth, one of them had blue paint (like on the end) all over the rod making it rough and the other had a rough spot where it looked like it had been clamped in a vise (for cutting I assume). I used some Goop hand cleaner "With Fine American Pumice" on a wet rag to buff out the bars until they were really smooth, I had to use some steel wool on the rod that had the vise marks in it.

Right now I have what looks like a well assembled printer on my desk, but who knows how long before I can do anything with it cause I am stuck waiting for that gear. I wish I wasn't the first guy on my block to have a 3D printer so I could have someone print that gear locally for me.... So it's back to waiting for the mail man again for me I guess....
 

Tom Kole

TVWBB Pro
Well, there's gonna be no extruding here today, my kit was missing the extruder motor gear... I'm pretty bummed cause it seems I've been waiting forever already...

I ended up putting a thin piece of plastic sheet under the single bearing on the bed to lift it up a bit, that did the trick, the bed comes real close but doesn't hit the stop/idler. I had thought of sanding the idler down a bit but right now the edges are all black from the laser cutting and sanding that side would make it turn white again, I just didn't want to look at that forever so I went this other route. This interference between the bed and the idler cost me a lot of time and frustration, I basically ended up taking apart the whole frame just to make sure something wasn't out of melvin, it turns out the problem was due to a combo of very low clearance in that area, and the bearing biting into the wood a little much on the front end of the single bearing on the bed.

All of my carriages move pretty smoothly (I think?). Before I built I noticed my smooth rods weren't so smooth, one of them had blue paint (like on the end) all over the rod making it rough and the other had a rough spot where it looked like it had been clamped in a vise (for cutting I assume). I used some Goop hand cleaner "With Fine American Pumice" on a wet rag to buff out the bars until they were really smooth, I had to use some steel wool on the rod that had the vise marks in it.

Right now I have what looks like a well assembled printer on my desk, but who knows how long before I can do anything with it cause I am stuck waiting for that gear. I wish I wasn't the first guy on my block to have a 3D printer so I could have someone print that gear locally for me.... So it's back to waiting for the mail man again for me I guess....

You can still start working on the commissioning though.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
You can still start working on the commissioning though.

Well, I got discouraged when I couldn't find the gear and called it a night. Today I will continue working mainly on the electronics and wiring and will prob continue on with whatever I can accomplish without the extruder...

Meanwhile MakerFarm sent me tracking numbers right away so it looks like they shipped my gear out fast. I must say, Colin has been VERY fast in replying to email support requests, even late night and then again early morning. So as much as I wish I had no issues at least the support is there...
 

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Oh that sucks, you've had nothing but problems. My rods were all clear of debris, but I ended up rubbing them down with steel wool anyway because the were so tough to slide on. I had the hardest time getting the extruder to fit together properly, involving shaving down the nub where the idler attaches too as well as the well for the idler bearing because they were too big to fit together. Then I shaved it down some more when I noticed the idler didn't move at all once assembled. At least I has all my parts though.

Have you fired it up yet? Don't need no extruder to drive it around! If I try to use the LCD interface to move the Z more than 1 mm at a time it screams and the motors bind up. Does this happen on yours? It seems it is because the firmware limit on Z speed is 5mm/s and anything over ~3.33mm/s makes everything bind up. 3mm/s is more than enough for printing, but Slic3r by default does a 5mm move at the beginning of its sequence after homing (G1 Z5 F2000) which then confuses the dead reckoning of where the printer thinks it is.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Well, nothing but problems is an understatement, but I am working through it...

I have fired it up, when I hit Auto Home on the LCD the bed went flying away from the end switch and hit the back and skipped a few teeth on the belt before I got the power pulled. This puzzled me, did some reading and found suggestion to change the end stop inversion settings in the firmware, after I did that everything went the right way home! LOL Colin eventually got back to me and said I must have the steppers plugged in backwards, I compared to the wiring diagram and I had them exactly the way they were shown. He said the wire colors are not shown properly in his diagram and I needed to follow the way it says in the video, or invert the end stops like I did in the software. I thought that was kinda funky, giving a diagram that is wrong, and referring to it several times in the videos saying "check your diagram" but never warning in the video that the wires are shown backward on the diagram. At any rate, no harm no foul, everything seems to move quite well. I kinda like doing it the way I did cause I didnt have to rewire the z-motor connector so it would fit, it fits right on the outer row of pins if you put it on the way it is shown on the diagram. I got Pronterface loaded and it seems to contol it properly, so far I haven't seen anything bind, but I have only homed the carriage a few times, still dont know how to command it to move a little bit in any direction.

Then I got another surprise, when I pulled the USB cable out of the PC the printer LCD went blank. It was still glowing blue but no text, so I plugged the USB cable back in and she came to life again. So the board doesnt seem to power up properly without some voltage from the USB cable? I KNOW my PS is strong, it's brand new with a 26A +12v line, and all the motors move really strong. Colin said he is gonna send me another board, so my troubles just continue...

On a positive note, the delay has given me time to wire the thing up very nice, much better than I probably would have done if I had all the parts to print right away. The printer actually seems to have come together quite nicely, it's built neatly and seems solid, and moves well from what I have seen so far. I took the time to remove all the rest of of the unused wires from the ATX power supply so it's nice and neat with only the few wires that are used coming out. I did preserve the +5Vsb wire and the green wire so I can connect a rPi later if I want, with the way things have been going for me I don't think it's a good idea that I mess with that just yet, even after learning from your lessons. I'm not sure if I will ever go the rPi route or not, cause I do like the way the apps run on my PC and the printer will remain close enough for USB connection, and even if I want to power off the PC during a long print I can print from the SD card. So not sure what value the rPi would add for me?

Oh yah, back to the struggle, I forgot this one. From the start my x-axis never moved, when I got the auto home to work properly and it didn't home I knew something was up. I tried the extruder motor on that line and it didnt move either, so I figured it must be a bad pololu driver. So I swapped the driver from the extruder motor with the x-motor and the x-axis came to life and works fine. IDK WHY this happened, at one point I was sliding the x-axis to check it for smoothness and it got really rough all the sudden. When I unplugged it's wire from the board it got smooth again (while the bad pololu driver was in there) I'm not sure if manually moving the carriage while the board is plugged in is a no-no, perhaps that blew the pololu? What made me think this is I noticed while the printer is powered down if I move the bed the display starts to glow a bit, which confused me at first, then I realized forcing the motor to move makes it behave somewhat like a generator, putting out current instead of consuming it. Not sure if moving the x-carriage could have made enough voltage to kill the pololu or what? It could have been bad from the beginning cause when the bed flew in the wrong direction on first power up the x-axis didnt move at all, but should have also been cruising in the wrong direction...

Reading up on the Pololu I find they are sensitive little beasts, if you plug and unplug things from the board while it is on they like to die, and you killed one taking voltage measurements. I have read people comment that they work great and are convenient but are also a bit sensitive and delicate. I didn't do any of that stuff, the only thing I can think of that might have caused my problem is manually moving the carriage, or it was bad when I got it, or whatever voltage problem I have on my board killed it.

If Colin sends me a whole board I will be good to go, in case he just sends me the base board I ordered another Pololu driver I can use, if I dont need it then I will have a spare on hand in case things get out of hand....

All in all no joy with the printer but I have learned a LOT, and it seems like I am pretty close to being ready to melt some plastic.... hopefully....
 
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RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Just to put myself in a happy place in light of all my 3D printer woes, at risk of being off topic....
Here is a picture of the pizza I cooked last night on my Fauxmado grill, the Heater Meter did a great job stoking it up to pizza oven temperatures....
pizza.jpg

All home made, cooked in 12 minutes and it really had that classic pizzeria smell and taste! YUM!
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
...I had the hardest time getting the extruder to fit together properly...

I also had a hard time getting the idler bearing to seat all the way, and the idler to seat in the extruder, had to do some shaving too, eventually got it together. It still seems kinda tight, might have to do some more shaving on it, or perhaps just work the parts back and forth a bit more. My extruded certainly didnt fit together as easily as it did in the instruction videos.

Were your printed parts brown? I know prints can be better or worse depending on how well the printer is tuned, just wondering if your parts may have been printed in the same batch on the same printer as what I got...

The good thing is we just need to get our printers tuned up and then we can make our own parts...
 

Tom Kole

TVWBB Pro
Did you check the vref of the drivers or play with the trim pots? You definitely don't want to unplug the drivers or motors with the board powered, but I move the carriage all the time with the machine on without any problems. The polulos are somewhat delicate though and you have to be careful, as Bryan has found out. That is why I like my Rambo board that allows me to set the driver current in the firmware so I don't have any pots to accidentally short and fry my board. I believe that Matt is actually working on a RAMPS add on for a different set of drivers so that he can have similar functionality. I'm not sure how his prototypes have turned out though.

Nice pizza BTW. Turn that thing up to 800F or so and it cooks in just a couple of minutes.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Did you check the vref of the drivers or play with the trim pots? You definitely don't want to unplug the drivers or motors with the board powered, but I move the carriage all the time with the machine on without any problems. The polulos are somewhat delicate though and you have to be careful, as Bryan has found out. That is why I like my Rambo board that allows me to set the driver current in the firmware so I don't have any pots to accidentally short and fry my board. I believe that Matt is actually working on a RAMPS add on for a different set of drivers so that he can have similar functionality. I'm not sure how his prototypes have turned out though.

Nice pizza BTW. Turn that thing up to 800F or so and it cooks in just a couple of minutes.

I did NOT check the pots on the suspected bad Pololu, I will do that now, thanks for the suggestion. I didn't unplug ANYTHING while the board was powered, so the only thing I can think of that could kill the pololu was moving the carriage manually. Reason being, I was moving it and it was smooth as butter, then got really rough. I thought it was mechanical so I loosened the motor and the carriage moved really nice again. With the motor tight it was moving rough again, then I unplugged the motor and it moves smoothly again (mind you, there was no power to the board at all while doing all this) That all seems very strange to me and kinda spooked me about moving the carriage manually with the power on or off...

On the pizza, my first try I went WAY high with the temp, the crust was a little too browned on the bottom and I melted a high temp probe as well as scorching my fingers when I accidentally touched it! OUCH! This time I set the HM for 500 degrees and achieved it nicely, and I got a temp gun to measure the pizza stone temp instead of using a probe (and risking my fingers!). The stone measured 485 degrees when the pizza went on, the crust was a tad light but the pizza was really REALLY good! Next time I will go about 100 degrees higher I think.... Gonna have a pizza party get together soon and cook a bunch of pizza's with the family and kids, will be a fun time and I think I will get the pizza cooking down pretty good that day. This one was not bad for the second attempt, when it was all gone the cutting board still had that smell of a really great pizzeria, all in all it was pretty impressive....
 
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Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Yeah I did a pizza experiment for people wondering if you could just put a cast iron pan over a super hot fire and use it like a pizza stone. I had awful results at 750F with the bottom being burned to a crisp before there was even any browning (in like 1.5 minutes). But the 650F was pretty good:
pizza12.jpg
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
Sorry to divert this all into a pizza thread, but it is a more uplifting conversation than 3D printing at this point!
I like to make my sauce from tomato paste instead of sauce, adding just a little water to thin it down but still leaving it much thicker than tomato sauce. This makes a much better tasting sauce IMHO, if I use tomato sauce I usually cook it down, but I prefer an uncooked paste based sauce really. Just make sure to let all the ingredients meld together in the fridge for a couple hours or over night...
 

Tom Kole

TVWBB Pro
My mother is Italian and was blessed with many generations of knowledge passed to her about cooking. I'll post her pasta sauce recipe later. It's pretty amazing. I use it for pizza all the time.
 

RalphTrimble

TVWBB Diamond Member
My grandparents came over from Sicily on the boat! Cooking is def in my DNA, would love to see your sauce recipe cause I know Sicilian cooking is a bit unique....
 

Bryan Mayland

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I would love a better pizza sauce recipe! The sauce one is easy and acceptable but as you see I have to drain it because and it is still a little thin for me.

Back to printing, when the Marlin firmware moves the motors it locks them in place by supplying full current to hold them in position. It does this for something like a minute or so after each movement, so if you try to move anything after just moving them you shouldn't try to move them without sending the "Release Motors" command M84. You can also change the timeout with M84 S(seconds) or S0 to disable it.

I also found the wiring diagram to be of little use and just used the RAMPS schematic to see what was supposed to go where. I'm not sure why they wired the Z thing backward because it doesn't fit the right way to begin with. I did find you can bend the pins to make it squeeze in but it doesn't hold very well so I'll be reversing them when I bundle up my cables tonight.

I'm also going to put some corrugated cardboard under the heat bed. I can only get up to about 106C before it levels out and I have to cover it to get it up to 110C. It might be my power supply which drops to 11.3V when both are heating up which would be a 6% reduction in power. If I had some wool I'd use that but I'm not going to spend $30 on some strips of ceramic wool which would be overkill for something that only gets to 110C.
 

 

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