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Author Topic: So ... 3d Printers....  (Read 3699 times)

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Howard_Casto

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So ... 3d Printers....
« on: November 26, 2016, 12:54:56 pm »
It's that time of year again and all the low to mid end 3d printers are on sale.  I'm considering it this time, but I'm a little overwhelmed from all the choices. 

Thus far these two stick out on the low end:

http://www.monoprice.com/product?c_id=107&cp_id=10724&cs_id=1072403&p_id=15365&seq=1&format=2&AID=11064683&PID=4485850&ref=cj&utm_source=cj&utm_medium=11064683&utm_term=Slickdeals+LLC-1122587

I believe this is the one a bunch of you got a while back.  It seems to be built to high quality and it isn't a kit, which is nice.  Then I found this one....

http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kits/pp_343643.html?wid=8&siteid=136649&utm_source=webgains&utm_campaign=GearbestUSA

Now obviously it's a kit, it's constructed of a cheaper lexan base, and the fit and finish isn't as nice but....  it has a build volume of 220x220x240mm!  That's nearly a 10 inch cube!

So suggestions or comments sure would be appreciated.  I really like the larger build size of the cheaper model, but if it's a piece of junk all the extra volume is pointless.


BadMouth

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 10:03:44 am »
I got the monoprice mini for $170.  The learning curve for it isn't nearly what I expected.
Make crap in tinkercad>export stl file>open in the copy of Cura included with the printer>export gcode to microsd card>pop in printer and select file.
I cranked out this fairly quickly: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,152133.0.html
I also made a bracket to hold my cell phone right under the radio in my truck.
So far, I only have a couple ideas in my head that I'd need a larger printer for, but decided I'd just join the local maker space and use their 3D printer after I get the designs done.
For me, this purchase was all about getting my feet wet and moving along the learning curve.  It has been great for that.

As far as the other one, I'd probably still be a bit intimidated by the user interface and needing to tweak it to get better results.
The guy in the video sounds like he had some issues before printing modifications for it.

So as a total noob I'd want the monoprice one, but if I were more experienced the bigger one would be better.

After I get experienced with design software more complicated with Tinkercad, I'll probably move up to a bigger machine.




Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 12:36:22 pm »
Well the tinkering I expect, but there are a few issues creeping up with the china unit.  Apparently the included software isn't supported by win 10.  I'm sure you can download something else, but that means software tinkering as well.  Also I'm unsure if it comes with sample filament, which isn't a huge deal, but then it isn't really cheaper.  I'll have to research more.  I'm waiting until Monday to see if there are any sales.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 12:48:46 pm »
Well the tinkering I expect, but there are a few issues creeping up with the china unit.  Apparently the included software isn't supported by win 10.  I'm sure you can download something else, but that means software tinkering as well.  Also I'm unsure if it comes with sample filament, which isn't a huge deal, but then it isn't really cheaper.  I'll have to research more.  I'm waiting until Monday to see if there are any sales.

The amount of filament the monoprice comes with isn't really enough to make anything.
For me, it did the bed level test print (per the instructions) and about 1/5th of the included cat figurine.
Rough estimate: only pennies worth of filament.

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 01:19:30 pm »
Well I'm just wondering how much I'll waste before getting it calibrated properly.  Yeah it's probably not enough to matter, but when you'll throw a decent portion in the trash every little bit helps. 

They've also sold out at the LA warehouse, meaning shipping isn't free and it'll likely come over on the slow boat from China. 

Slippyblade

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 04:16:48 pm »
When I get a 3D printer, I intend to build a grinder/extruder to recycle botched prints.

pbj

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2016, 04:28:07 pm »
Howard - No.  No new projects.

Finish up your other projects first.  My Everdrive purchase is on hiatus until you clean up that front end.

 :cheers:

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2016, 04:32:52 pm »
I was just reading up on that.  One guy made a pellet extruder that you just swap out instead of the normal filament extruder.  He's gotten decent results thus far but the thing about pellets is you typically have to buy them in massive quantities to get those big savings. 

I'm impressed with what you can print with now.  They have metal filament, wood-like filament and even felt filament. 

pbj:  This would probably give me more time to work on that junk.  The physical building of my racing cab has taken up the bulk of my time.  Being able to just print the fiddly bits would be a huge help.  Are you talking about the n64 one?  The third party FE isn't that bad once you get it configured.... it probably needs a bit more fit and finish though.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2016, 04:36:38 pm »
Howard - No.  No new projects.

Finish up your other projects first.  My Everdrive purchase is on hiatus until you clean up that front end.

 :cheers:
Might want to step on that while they are still on sale.

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2016, 01:05:23 am »
Been researching this tonight.  Man my head is spinning.... so many options.  I found one that is an i3 clone (apparently the Chinese model and several others are just i3 clones) and uses a rigid steel construction.... it's a slightly smaller print area, but many of the bugs have been fixed.  Unfortunately the shipping is ridiculously high... I think the cheapest option was 70 bucks.  Maybe this is why many of the diy kits are acrylic based.   

Still torn between the two.  Something that is leaning me towards the monoprice one is the fact that it hasn't been known to catch fire.  Apparently many of the i3 clones use sub-standard connectors that can heat up and melt over time.  So right out of the box it has to be modded with molex connectors. 

pbj

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2016, 11:08:45 am »
Eh, I thought you were hacking the NES and Genesis Everdrives.  Nobody cares about N64.  Get that 3D printer.


Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2016, 04:27:49 pm »
Well if somebody can find me some source code I can.  The n64 cart has an open-source alternative.  The others don't afaik. 

SammyWI

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2016, 07:39:41 pm »
I have the Anet A8.  It definitely needs some upgrades and several plugs and wires are undersized which are a known fire hazard.  Expect to spend an extra $100 or so on upgrades.  That said, I really like it.  It's my second 3d printer and it has worked really well for me.  The print volume really sold it for me.  If you can live with a bit smaller print volume I'd go with one of the smaller Prusia I3 based units that doesn't need quite so many upgrades.

With RepRap based printers like the A8 or other Prusia I3 based units, you really don't need to worry about included software as there are many free and often open source options that work well.  Some of the closed source hardware designs may lock you into certain software.  The Anet controller board firmware is not open source but there is a group called Skynet3D that has an alternative firmware available that's I believe open source (free anyway).

Starter filament I wouldn't worry about since you will need far more to get things dialed in and then plenty more for printing.

They are available from more places than Gearbest but pretty much all of the sources I've heard of have non-existent customer service.  I got mine from https://www.3dprintersbay.com which lists a US address but ships from China. 
Ship time was a bit under 2 weeks but might be more now with the holidays.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 07:50:17 pm by SammyWI »

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2016, 11:32:11 pm »
My next question was going to be where to buy.  Gearbest is out... as you said their customer service isn't great, they are out of units in the US, and shipping is no longer free. 

I've found a ton of i3 clones on ebay/amazon/ect.  Some have anet pcbs and some have melzi.  I've heard bad things about both so I'm not sure which one to get.  The melzi are slightly cheaper which makes me think they are worse.

The build size is what interests me.  It's large enough to print enclosures for projects without having to print in pieces. 

I want to try and get one that's already in the USA just so it'll get here before the holidays. 

SammyWI

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2016, 08:39:21 am »
I believe the Anet PCB is a rearranged Melzi. But I am seeing reports that people are getting newer Anet boards that have improved connectors which is good. I've seen some other variations between kits. Some have gotten acrylic sub frames on the heat bed which is not as good as the aluminum that I got.

Keep in mind that printing right up to the edge of the designed print volume can be difficult. I try to leave some margin. And large prints are both more difficult to print and can take a very long time.

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2016, 04:08:01 pm »
Well then I'm probably seeing an older model of the same printer then, and that's the reason for the discount. 

How could I tell about the printer sub-frame?  It's covered in most pics, but if I knew what to look for...

I'm aware I can't print to the bounds easily, but the monoprice ones are so much smaller I'm thinking they would struggle to print out... let's say a Gameboy shell or something similar. 

SammyWI

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2016, 07:03:50 pm »
I don't think you can really tell anything about what particular changes you might get from the resellers pages or photos.  I doubt the resellers themselves have much of a clue, they just get the boxes from China and ship them out.  These Chinese manufacturers tend to make small changes and upgrades as they go without updating descriptions, etc.  Can make assembly interesting! These printers seem to be selling like mad so I doubt you'll really find old stock anywhere.

Most all of the printer parts are available cheaply from Chinese suppliers. Sometimes quality is too cheap but for the most part I have had good luck.  I know an aluminum sub bed is available from other places or making one would not be very hard. It becomes slightly addicting to upgrade and mod your printer when you see parts on Amazon Prime for $10.

A gameboy shell should not be too difficult at all to print.  I looked up sizes and I saw less than 150mm as the biggest dimension.  I'd say you could print that on a 170mm bed or larger very easily.  Pushing things nearly to the edges should be possible but may be more challenging.

If you see versions that have an auto bed level upgrade, don't get it.  I bought that version and it did not actually do auto bed leveling, it just swapped the typical Z home limit switch (physical microswitch) for an inductive sensor that senses the aluminum build plate.  I ended up buying a new inductive sensor (better range and repeatability) and changing to the Skynet3D firmware to enable auto leveling. A very worthwhile upgrade IMO.

Materials: I would stay away from ABS.  I used it for several years and always had problems.  The main issue is that it shrinks when cooling which leads to it pealing of the bed when printing, warping and just a general pain. PLA is the easiest printing material and works for many parts, would probably be fine for gameboy shells.  For stronger and more heat resistant stuff I use PETG.  PETG is also more flexible in thin sections and comes in both opaque and translucent colors.  Both PLA and PETG (and ABS) print at temps low enough for the Anet hot end. Some materials require higher temps (nylon and polycarbonate for example) and really need the hotend changed to an all metal version.  The included hot end has a teflon liner which will melt and give off nasty gasses if heated too high.  How high is too high is debatable but I like to keep mine to 240 C and below.

I'm rambling, I know but I'm at home now with a real keyboard to type on.  And it's nice to talk about this on a real forum rather than a Facebook group where each thread seems to have three reasonable people and a hundred kids screaming: "yes it is, no it isn't, hey look something shiny!"

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2016, 11:29:54 pm »
Yeah I'm swaying back in the i3 direction due to the amount of parts and mods available.  Anything from dual heads to new frames.  I'm glad you said something about the auto-level because on the aforementioned facebook page everybody swears by the auto-level version.  It didn't make sense to me how a cheap sensor would help. 

I'm not interested in abs except for special projects due to the fumes alone.  I'm thinking it might be better to keep it in the house as it looks a bit delicate. 



I hear ya.  As per usual I ask in this forum and somebody who knows what they are talking about answers.  Funny how that works around here.  ;)

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2016, 08:14:40 am »
Keeping it inside is a very good idea. Climate controlled is best as any temperature changes can mess things up. Even a draft can mess up prints, keep away from open windows or HVAC vents. Humidity can affect the filliment too but PLA and PETG are not too sensitive to moisture. Dry filliment is happy filliment.

We are lucky to have the BYOAC forum. Many forums are dying with people shifting to Facebook groups, etc which is a huge loss IMO.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2016, 12:46:49 pm »
Well I know I said gearbest is out, but it's back in.  They just had a new sale, 149 bucks shipped from LA.  I used paypal for payment and bought the shipping insurance for a couple bucks to protect myself. 

So:  [Smee]If anybody's not 3d printing... get here quick![/Smee]

http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kits/pp_343643.html?wid=8&siteid=136649&utm_source=webgains&utm_campaign=GearbestUSA

Pay attention to the warehouse because when they run out it switches over to China and they charge you an additional 30 bucks (not to mention the 4-6 weeks for delivery)

So now that I've ordered one and I've saved so much money, are there any parts/mods/ect you guys recommend getting?  Urls on stuff would be helpful.

I've gotta buy some filament as well.  I stumbled across a ebay store that was selling red and blue pla 1kg spools for a mere 10 bucks a spool.  I'm unsure why those filaments are so cheap while other colors can be upwards of 30 bucks.  I've gotta get black though as I'll be printing some stuff for my car.  Transparent is interesting as well.


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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2016, 12:59:46 pm »
I'll respond in some detail when I get home tonight and can use a real keyboard. But I would stay away from the cheap mystery fillimaent. It will only cause you grief. Hatchbox and Esun brand PLA have both been good for me and are on Amazon Prime. Makergeeks are not on Amazon but are one of my favorites and they do grab bag style deals for discounts but they pick the colors.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2016, 08:35:57 pm »
I'm using Amazon for most links since that's where I buy most but Ebay and Aliexpress (cheap but slow) are both fine sources.

My feeling is that most of the overheating issues people have are a combination of marginally sized connectors / wires and poor assembly.  I have to bet that Howard will have no issues with electrical assembly  ;) after that check things carefully during the first few prints for any overheating.  Also, I don't like running the bed too hot with the stock setup.  50 - 60 C is plenty for PLA and PETG.  ABS needs more like 100+ C which is pushing things for this unit and another reason to avoid ABS.  Make sure the wires to the hotend are secured with a strain relief to the corner of the X carriage. Otherwise things can loosen up and fall out of the hotend causing a thermal runaway. This comes up weekly on the Facebook groups at least.  Make sure the wires to both the hotend and hot bed are able to reach freely to all movement positions and don't get pinched or pulled too tight.  Zipties are your friend.

My must do upgrades:
Power supply.  The supplied unit is 20A with no fan.  It's undersized and poor quality.  Easiest to up it to a 30A with fan like these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MAC9MO6/ref=s9_acsd_hps_bw_c_x_5_w
Also possible to use a computer power supply.  And some people run two power supplies, one for the hot bed and one for the rest.

Hotbed SS relay.  I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HEQVQAK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This lets you bypass the PCB for the hotbed power, the PCB hotbed output is then used as a signal to the relay.  Really cuts down on the undersizing / overheating issues.

Hotbed electrical connection.  The plug / wires are a little undersized and it gets warmer than I'd like but has not failed or discolored on me so far.  Most straight forward fix is to up the power wire size and solder them directly to the board.  Easiest to do during assembly but since I didn't do it then and I hate to disassemble a working unit, I'm still working in this.

Hot bed springs.  The hot bed springs can scratch through the 'paint' insulation on the bed and short the bed.  Easy fix just add some kind of insulating washer.  I just cut up some plastic I had laying around.

Really recommended:
Hot bed surface.  Getting the plastic to stick well for the whole print time but still pull off when done is the eternal problem for 3D printers.  The right print surface is a big part of this.

The masking tape that comes on the bed will work for PLA but is kinda crap.  PLA will print pretty well with blue painters tape and an unheated bed. 3M tape seems to be one of the best.  Needs to be replaced every 10 prints or so (depends on how hard you are on it). Clean off any fingerprint residue, dust, etc with some rubbing alcohol before each print (true for most any surface). May help to roughen up the surface a bit.

My best recommendation here is to use PEI (Ultem). It's a type of plastic that has just the right amount of stick and release on a heated bed, at least for PLA and PETG. Leaves a very smooth surface on the bottom. No glue or other stuff to mess with. Most common PEI is a plastic sheet about 1/32" thick that you have to add adhesive to, often sold as a kit for 3d printers.   I prefer precut PEI tape I get from here: http://catalog.cshyde.com/item/3d-printing-materials/ultem-pei/36-3a-3d-866x866. Lasts for a lot of prints as long as you don't tear it up getting prints up. I have yet to replace my first piece. I've used a lot of different surfaces and PEI bets them all, works great and easy to use. Just wipe with alcohol before each print.

Decent tool to remove prints.  Lots of options but I like this one: https://www.amazon.com/ToyBuilder-Labs-Print-Removal-Tool/dp/B00VB1U886/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1480556021&sr=8-2&keywords=3d+print+removal+tool. It's cheap, thin and flexible enough to get under the part but not sharp so won't hurt the surface.

OK I better stop now.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2016, 09:20:08 pm »
I'm using Amazon for most links since that's where I buy most but Ebay and Aliexpress (cheap but slow) are both fine sources.

My feeling is that most of the overheating issues people have are a combination of marginally sized connectors / wires and poor assembly.  I have to bet that Howard will have no issues with electrical assembly  ;) after that check things carefully during the first few prints for any overheating.  Also, I don't like running the bed too hot with the stock setup.  50 - 60 C is plenty for PLA and PETG.  ABS needs more like 100+ C which is pushing things for this unit and another reason to avoid ABS.  Make sure the wires to the hotend are secured with a strain relief to the corner of the X carriage. Otherwise things can loosen up and fall out of the hotend causing a thermal runaway. This comes up weekly on the Facebook groups at least.  Make sure the wires to both the hotend and hot bed are able to reach freely to all movement positions and don't get pinched or pulled too tight.  Zipties are your friend.

My must do upgrades:
Power supply.  The supplied unit is 20A with no fan.  It's undersized and poor quality.  Easiest to up it to a 30A with fan like these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MAC9MO6/ref=s9_acsd_hps_bw_c_x_5_w
Also possible to use a computer power supply.  And some people run two power supplies, one for the hot bed and one for the rest.

Hotbed SS relay.  I use this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HEQVQAK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This lets you bypass the PCB for the hotbed power, the PCB hotbed output is then used as a signal to the relay.  Really cuts down on the undersizing / overheating issues.

Hotbed electrical connection.  The plug / wires are a little undersized and it gets warmer than I'd like but has not failed or discolored on me so far.  Most straight forward fix is to up the power wire size and solder them directly to the board.  Easiest to do during assembly but since I didn't do it then and I hate to disassemble a working unit, I'm still working in this.

Hot bed springs.  The hot bed springs can scratch through the 'paint' insulation on the bed and short the bed.  Easy fix just add some kind of insulating washer.  I just cut up some plastic I had laying around.

Really recommended:
Hot bed surface.  Getting the plastic to stick well for the whole print time but still pull off when done is the eternal problem for 3D printers.  The right print surface is a big part of this.

The masking tape that comes on the bed will work for PLA but is kinda crap.  PLA will print pretty well with blue painters tape and an unheated bed. 3M tape seems to be one of the best.  Needs to be replaced every 10 prints or so (depends on how hard you are on it). Clean off any fingerprint residue, dust, etc with some rubbing alcohol before each print (true for most any surface). May help to roughen up the surface a bit.

My best recommendation here is to use PEI (Ultem). It's a type of plastic that has just the right amount of stick and release on a heated bed, at least for PLA and PETG. Leaves a very smooth surface on the bottom. No glue or other stuff to mess with. Most common PEI is a plastic sheet about 1/32" thick that you have to add adhesive to, often sold as a kit for 3d printers.   I prefer precut PEI tape I get from here: http://catalog.cshyde.com/item/3d-printing-materials/ultem-pei/36-3a-3d-866x866. Lasts for a lot of prints as long as you don't tear it up getting prints up. I have yet to replace my first piece. I've used a lot of different surfaces and PEI bets them all, works great and easy to use. Just wipe with alcohol before each print.

Decent tool to remove prints.  Lots of options but I like this one: https://www.amazon.com/ToyBuilder-Labs-Print-Removal-Tool/dp/B00VB1U886/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1480556021&sr=8-2&keywords=3d+print+removal+tool. It's cheap, thin and flexible enough to get under the part but not sharp so won't hurt the surface.

OK I better stop now.
Wow, I have no interest in getting one of these, but I enjoyed this breakdown, Sammy!!!
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2016, 10:34:47 pm »
Thanks Sammy that's extremely helpful. 

I think I've got an old atx power supply from a gateway of all things.  I'll have to check the wattage but it's small enough to fit on the chassis.  I have some nylon washers from another project that will fix the spring issue. 

In regards to the bed, I saw where one guy used glass that was roughed up with a dremel.  Do you think that would work?  I was thinking of maybe a mirror as I could monitor the underside of a print as it's printing. 

I'll go ahead and order the other stuff. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2016, 08:10:27 am »
Glass is a good choice for a print bed. Best is borosilicate glass that can handle the heat and stress well. Some people report using plain glass or mirrors without problems, others say those can shatter without warning.  Some people like to roughen up the surface but most print with some kind of glue on the glass. Hairspray is one choice but I had great results using PVA glue which is just the basis of Elmer's white glue. Elmer's purple glue stick worked great for pla and nylon on my old printer.  The downside of glue is  bit of mess and needing to clean it off prints and every 5 prints or so I had to clean the build up off the glass and start fresh. But PVA is water soluble and easy to clean.

Glass can be attached to the bed with binder clips so you can remove which is very useful. But the nozzle can run into the clips if you're not careful. You can also stick the glass down more permanently. Heatsink tape works well from what I hear and helps the glass get up to temperature faster. Speaking of that, you will probably have to take a bit more time heating the bed and remember the bed temperature sensor is on the bottom so the glass temp will lag behind the indicated temp.

The big issue that made me switch away from glass is that an inductive sensor needs metal to work. The glass adds more distance to the Aluminium heat bed and it's hard to get a sensor to work for that extra distance. I know I said don't get the auto level version but that is only because Anets version sucks. A DIY upgrade is very worthwhile and is one of my favorite things about my new printer.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 08:14:28 am by SammyWI »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2016, 11:14:30 am »
Awesome thread.  I've been on the fence about getting a 3D Printer and I think I may finally pull the trigger this season.  Merry Christmas to me!  I'm looking at custom brackets, project enclosures, etc. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2016, 11:39:34 am »
I've used mine more than I thought I would.

It's strange.  Several times now I've needed a small part that I would usually have cut out of wood or bent up metal to make.
Rather than getting out the jigsaw to cut it (poorly), drill and bits to drill it, It's easier to just make the thing in tinkercad and print it out.

This weekend I'm going to be stuck at a Christmas party when I'd rather be at home watching football.
I made a tiny stand to hold my phone up at a good viewing angle.  It only took 10 minutes to design and 6 minutes to print.
I printed out extra for the office, car, coat pockets.

What I've found to be the most useful tool is a digital caliper.
Adjust to size of part needed>look at number on display>drag object in tinkercad to that size

I've also started printing thin partial parts to test fit, as part of the design process.


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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2016, 01:24:48 pm »
Well I'm having to come to terms with the fact that in my left eye at least, my eyesight isn't what it used to be.  I used to be really good at fabricating fiddly bits for projects but now I'm constantly screwing stuff up.  Depth perception plays more of a role in making things than you would expect.  Hopefully when I get glasses this spring it will help, but in the meantime I think I would actually save time and money by designing stuff in the computer and then printing it out.  I guess all those years learning 3dsmax and autocad for 3darcade wasn't wasted. ;)

I'm also very excited about the auto gear and sprocket plugin for google sketchup.  Being able to design and print out a working gear box seems very useful. 

A digital caliper is on my short list of things to buy.  I wanted to see if harbor freight had any deals. 

I will get an auto-level kit down the road, but I want to learn how to use the thing first.  I figure manual calibration knowledge will help me troubleshoot any problems with the auto-level system.  Believe it or not I probably have pyrex or possibly some safety glass around here somewhere.  Sometimes I feel like WV is just some elaborate Truman Show, only mixed with Sanford & Son.... and Cops. 

Oh btw... companion projects: 

One of the first things I want to build is a 3d scanner.  Sure enough there are thingiverse plans for a small scanner.  I want to up-scale it so it can handle larger objects though.  I also spent all night watching some guy rube-goldberg together a filament extrusion machine over the course of several months only to wake up this morning and see another guy had designed one that I would have made... vertical with the  hot end gravity fed, which solves 90% of the consistency problems because...well...gravity is a constant. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2016, 07:58:28 pm »
If I haven't mentioned it yet check out www.thingiverse.com for models shared to print.

Nothing wrong with using a simple switch for the Z home. I would recommend modding it like this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1479176
This lets you level the bed seperatly from adjusting Z home position and gives you a fairly precise adjustment. Also make sure that you lock the bed into position after leveling the corners. I think this area tends to move during printing and the wing nuts supplied may not have very good threads.  Kits come with extra M3 nuts so I'd use extras as jam nuts.

A better fan duct is a good early mod.  Plenty to choose from, I used this one: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1823404

You'll see a lot of printed frame braces to support the points where the y axis (hotbed) belt attaches. I don't know if the frames tends to bend there or not but it seemed like a reasonable thing to reinforce at assembly.  IMO the printed braces are a lot of material to solve a simple issue.  I liked this idea: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1517525.  But I just ran the extra threaded rod as close to the belt attachment as I could without printing a special belt attachment part.  Just had to drill some holes through the front and center frame pieces, the back frame piece already has an oversized hole to use that can be covered with some fender washers. Again, best to do at initial assembly.  You do risk cracking the acrylic parts drilling the holes but I had no problems going slow with light pressure and scrap wood backing.

3D scanner is on my list of projects.

Funny you should mention gears.  I am a mechanical engineer and I design gears as part of my job. Surprised to hear that SketchUp has a plug in for gears. Last time I tried to look at Sketchup for a friends project it drove me nuts with how imprecise it was.  Maybe it's changed. I do have some gear models shared at Thingiverse under the username Drawcut.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2016, 11:10:49 pm »
For frame stability is was just going to mount the whole thing on some laminated wood.  I think I have part of a countertop lying around somewhere. 

I think I've got everything ordered.  I still need to order a spatula to remove prints and unfortunately spatula city is no longer in business.  ;)  I was looking into pcb milling and some people have add success using the i3 to mill with a large dc motor and spindle.  I've probably got that crap lying around.  I'm also looking into 3d scanning... it hasn't progressed much since the last time I looked.  A laser pointer/camera combo still seems to be the way to go. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2016, 12:49:30 am »
I ended up putting mine downstairs in our spare bedroom closet. I am not sure if your is going to be as loud as mine. The Printrbot Simple Metal gears have a really high pitch to them, gets super annoying after awhile.



The Printrbot has a built in auto level but I had too many issues with it. I just took out the auto level gcode command and threw in some nuts and screws and just manually adjust it. Ive never had leveling issues since.

As mentioned earlier in the thread Hatchbox PLA is my go to filament. Can get it shipped in a couple days through Amazon Prime and consistency has been good.

I was going to get a glass build plate but once I upgraded to a heated build plate I stopped having warping or peeling issues. Now I just slap on some painters tape and I am good to go. (Image shows kapton tape instead, this is when I first upgraded the build plate size, pre auto level fix)

Scanning is also my next thing but the ones I really want are like 5K and up.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2016, 11:11:55 am »
I have mine mounted to some 3/4" plywood I had laying around. I cut pieces of rubber gasket material to put between the printer and the wood then got some stick on rubber feet for under the plywood. Works well and probably helps dampen noise and vibration.  I used this stuff but got it at a local hardware store: https://www.amazon.com/Danco-59859-Rubber-Packing-Sheets/dp/B000PS9Z8A/ref=sr_1_10?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1480866712&sr=1-10&keywords=rubber+sheet

The Anet A8 has been quieter than my Printrbot original. I have it in the basement in an unfinished workbench area.  But it is directly below our bedroom. My wife says she can't hear it at all in the bedroom.  I can just barely hear a few bits if it's quiet and I concentrate but it doesn't bother me for sleeping.

I just got the  heated bed plug worked out.  It is a 6 pin plug with only 4 used.  The two outside plugs are bed power, the two innermost pins are for the thermistor. But the two unused pins are soldered in to the heatbed just unused on the wire side of the plug. (Somebody on a FB group saw this.) So I added two connectors and wires back to the Mofset and I now have 4 wires for heating the bed and the plug sides and wires have gone from warm to the touch to room temperature. Soldering the wires directly is still probably a better way to go but I really didn't want to take the bed off since it has been printing so well.  The bed plug is a JST VH series (or a copy of one). I got parts from Digikey (https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/jst-sales-america-inc/SVH-41T-P1.1/455-1319-1-ND/608888).

Another project I've been considering is a laser cutter / engraver. I won't be able to get the power to cut very heavy material but I wonder how much I could cut with slow speeds and multiple passes.  My old Printrbot may be donating parts.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 11:15:36 am by SammyWI »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2016, 11:16:39 pm »
So for anyone interested I assembled my anet the other day.  It took two afternoons, but some of that had to do with the fact that I stupidly used the instructional videos on the site I ordered it from instead of the ones on the included sd card.  These bad boys are getting revised faster than the vendors can keep up with.  It wasn't particularly hard, but if you want to save yourself a big headache, go ahead and take all the nuts and tape them in place on the slots in the acrylic panels to hold them in place.  I'd say 50% of my time was used up trying to get the little sobs in place.  Cable management is also an issue.  The included wraps work, but they are kind of ugly and some of the cables are waaaay too long, so you have to fold them up and manage them somehow.  I'm thinking of re-routing mine around the board so that it looks better.... perhaps I'll run them behind the board to take up some of that slack.

Overall I'm extremely impressed with the build quality for something so inexpensive.  There are a couple of head scratching design flaws, but they can be fixed easily by just printing out parts.  I would show an example print, but like an idiot I somehow managed to order 3mm filament instead of 1.75mm.  So to be continued I guess. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2016, 11:59:17 pm »
Good to hear you got it running. So beside all the little knick-knacks you'll print is there any major projects lined up to print?

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2016, 01:27:16 pm »
Nothing major.  Third generation Camaros don't have much in the way of cup-holder options, so I'm going to design one for my car.  Hopefully if it turns out well enough I can distribute it to keep people from cutting holes in their center consoles.  There are some extra holes on the extruder carriage, so I'm going to try and design some quick-release accessories like a plotter pen and maybe a pcb mill. 

I've got a couple of arcade related ideas, but really important. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2016, 12:22:44 am »
Decided to take the plunge -- for $154 shipped from California, had to give this one a try - the bedsize is a bit smaller than the Anet A8 (200mmx200mmx180mm) but a good bit larger than the monoprice mini. Was going to wait for the A8 to get replenished in LA but came across this one for about the same price so decided to order rather than wait before I spent the $ on something else  :laugh2:

Now to find a good place to order some filament from (it comes with a small roll (250g) for setup but I'm sure that wont last long !) -- Note to self be sure to get 1.75mm not 3.0mm  ;D

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 12:28:12 am by JDFan »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2016, 09:43:36 am »
Looks like a hell of a deal to me.  I ended up spending another $10 on a spool holder like that to go with my monoprice mini.

I also picked up a little needle nose pliers & sidecutter set at Walmart for 3 or 4 bucks.  Also had a flexible scraper.  I already had this stuff, but it's nice to have a set that stays with the machine.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 09:48:41 am by BadMouth »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2016, 10:59:16 am »
OK - couple questions for those with a printer already -- How long does a roll of filament tend to last ? And has anyone used the monoprice filament - Is it good quality ?

Asking because Monoprice has a pretty good deal on the filament right now ($19.99 per 1Kg roll of most PLA ) and till the 31st they have a 15% off code (maker15) that makes it $16.99 a roll but the thing is if you purchase 1 or 2 rolls the shipping is about $12 but if you get 3 rolls it makes the free shipping cut off and shipping is free which means the 3rd roll only costs a couple bucks and seems like it is what I should order but will 3 1Kg rolls be too much ? :dunno

Total cost breakdown :

Quote
3 rolls @19.99 + Free shipping = $59.97 - $9 code Maker15 = $50.97 or $16.99 per roll
2 rolls @19.99 + $12.44 shipping = $52.42 - $6 code Maker15 = $46.42 or $23.21 per roll
1 roll @19.99 + $11.39 shipping = $31.38 - $3 code Maker15 = $28.38 per roll




SammyWI

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2016, 11:17:42 am »
How long a roll will last is pretty hard to answer because everybody is printing different things / shapes / sizes, etc.  I found a couple of places that try to answer that question:
http://www.soliforum.com/topic/1409/how-long-will-a-spool-last-how-much-can-i-print/
https://www.makerbot.com/media-center/2012/02/24/a-matter-of-scales-how-much-can-you-print-with-a-single-1kg-spool

IMO, buy the three spools. If you enjoy 3d printing at all, you will end up buying a lot more than that in the long run.  Plus it's always nice to have a variety of colors to use. I have not used the Monoprice filament but it is a brand that I have heard others using and those prices are good at the 2 roll option and very good at 3 rolls. For one roll $28 is fairly expensive for basic PLA.

Now I do need to go dig up that thread on printing a Star Wars control yoke. That's been something I have wanted to do for a while but have never gotten around to.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 11:21:24 am by SammyWI »

JDFan

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2016, 03:22:42 pm »
Looks like a hell of a deal to me.  I ended up spending another $10 on a spool holder like that to go with my monoprice mini.

I also picked up a little needle nose pliers & sidecutter set at Walmart for 3 or 4 bucks.  Also had a flexible scraper.  I already had this stuff, but it's nice to have a set that stays with the machine.

Yeah - I was surprised the price had come down that much recently - they were quite a bit higher when I was looking a few months ago so was hard to not order when I came across it.(esp. since they had stock in CA rather than having to wait for shipping from China !) Completely agree about having a set of tools specifically for the printer (otherwise it can get hard to find the correct one when needed - since I tend to leave tools laying where they were last used at times  :cheers: )

IMO, buy the three spools. If you enjoy 3d printing at all, you will end up buying a lot more than that in the long run.  Plus it's always nice to have a variety of colors to use. I have not used the Monoprice filament but it is a brand that I have heard others using and those prices are good at the 2 roll option and very good at 3 rolls. For one roll $28 is fairly expensive for basic PLA.

Thanks for the response - interesting links - seems it goes a bit further than expected on a roll - but agree having the extra never hurts and I can see it becoming a matter of getting all the right colors for each project. Went ahead and ordered the 3 rolls so should have plenty to get started and play with for awhile  :cheers:

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 03:29:55 pm by JDFan »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #41 on: December 30, 2016, 07:12:08 pm »
So 1.75mm pla is on the way.  You know I think that might be the thing keeping these rigs from going mainstream.  My local hardware store sells some rep-raps and such, but you can't buy filament.  They need to keep filament in stock at the hardware/electronics/hobby stores.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #42 on: December 30, 2016, 07:41:25 pm »
So 1.75mm pla is on the way.  You know I think that might be the thing keeping these rigs from going mainstream.  My local hardware store sells some rep-raps and such, but you can't buy filament.  They need to keep filament in stock at the hardware/electronics/hobby stores.

Would be nice if the Hardware stores carried it ( even nicer if they sold it by the meter/foot for a decent price so you could quickly pick up any color that you wanted for a project for a few bucks )

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #43 on: December 30, 2016, 07:54:59 pm »
We actually have a few 3d print stores that popped up in the Utah area. They carry most of the main stream printers and they make and sell there own filament. They also have 3d design classes and other lessons about the printers and print ideas.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2016, 09:59:11 pm »
So 1.75mm pla is on the way.  You know I think that might be the thing keeping these rigs from going mainstream.  My local hardware store sells some rep-raps and such, but you can't buy filament.  They need to keep filament in stock at the hardware/electronics/hobby stores.

Would be nice if the Hardware stores carried it ( even nicer if they sold it by the meter/foot for a decent price so you could quickly pick up any color that you wanted for a project for a few bucks )

Man that would be nice if you could just pull out a length and cut it off like you do rope and chain. 

I'm going to make a filament extruder eventually.  I'm hoping I can recycle plastic water bottles.  Save the planet, make cheap stuff.  :)

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2017, 10:18:53 pm »
Printer arrived today along with the order from Monoprice with the 3 rolls of filament - Now just need to find the time to put things together. ( Busy laying tile this week - so not much free time )

Opened the box after getting home and it actually seems to be decent quality for the $154 shipped - will know more after assembly. ( noticed the price went to $209 from the same seller, when I went to check the order status yesterday - glad I purchased when I did ! )

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #46 on: January 05, 2017, 12:40:03 pm »
I'm hoping this thread re-motivates me. Bought a new nozzle and extruder. only found the time to install the nozzle. Lost motivation/time to finish leveling the bed and test.

Saw a interesting article that suggests that dusty filament can increase clogs. saw that some folks install gizmos to wipe off the filament as it enters the extruder. Go figure.
I'll just be happy once I start printing again.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #47 on: January 05, 2017, 12:47:00 pm »
I would think printing out one of those filament guides and wrapping it in a baby wipe would clean it as you go. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #48 on: January 05, 2017, 12:49:39 pm »
I would think printing out one of those filament guides and wrapping it in a baby wipe would clean it as you go.

Most definitely. Thingiverse is full of designs, many use olive oil to clean and lubricate the filament.

pbj

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #49 on: January 05, 2017, 04:40:53 pm »
Get the butter.

knave

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2017, 05:15:40 pm »
Get the butter.

But don't tell the filament, we want an authentic reaction.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #51 on: January 05, 2017, 05:19:38 pm »



SammyWI

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #52 on: January 05, 2017, 09:40:03 pm »
I wouldn't recommend using anything that will leave a residue on the filament.  Could easily cause printing issues or clogging.  Don't leave your hotend heated up for long periods when not printing.  If your hotend has a cooling fan, leave the fan running after shutting off the hotend heater until the temp drops below about 40C.  Both of those things will help prevent clogging.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2017, 02:23:28 pm »
Ok so I finally got my filament.  I'm running into problems.  :(

The first problem was that I couldn't get the printer to take the filament... apparently the filament guide mechanism is designed poorly, so I had to remove the fan from the extruder (which essentially disassembles the whole extruder assembly), feed it into the hot end, and reassemble.  Then I had some really bad problems with leveling... I finally got it to an acceptable level. 

Ok now for the final problem.  The printer is printing the first layer of a file perfectly, but once it needs to move up, it jumps waaaay too far up and I've essentially got silly string from then on.  Now I haven't modded it or anything, this is the stock printer with the original firmware installed and I'm trying to print from the test files on the included sd card.  Do you think the examples could be the problem?

I'll install the software and find a file later tonight, but if anyone has had experience with this I could sure use some help.... worked on it about an hour at lunch.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 04:32:23 pm by Howard_Casto »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2017, 04:34:58 pm »
So the sd card was corrupted, so that might be part of the problem.  I think CURA and/or the built in firmware might be the rest of the issue.  I tried some more prints and as per usual the first layer printed fine.  On the second layer it jumped up like an inch, so I'm not sure what is going on.  I used the included cura profile for my printer and I tried one of their models as well as one I converted... same problem with both. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2017, 04:42:12 pm »
Whats the layer height set too? I usually start with .2 mm.

Sounds like the firmware might be having issues, could always flash it with the latest version.

Also does it do the same thing on the 3rd layer?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 04:52:41 pm by 05SRT4 »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2017, 04:43:23 pm »
Post a screen grab of your cura settings.
(the ones on the left of where the model is displayed.)

If it is the settings and not a hardware issue, it could be that the layer height is set to something crazy high.
It has separate settings for the first layer height and following layer heights.

EDIT: was posting same time as 05SRT4....we're thinking along the same lines.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #57 on: January 10, 2017, 04:59:03 pm »
Only did a cursory search, but .....
http://shop.prusa3d.com/forum/original-prusa-i3-mk2-f23/cura-print-settings-t999.html
Quote
DO NOT USE CURA 2.1.X, IT DOESN'T WORK

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2017, 06:07:12 pm »
I've never had the layer height jumping issue but I would not be surprised if the installed firmware was corrupted. I'm pretty sure mine was as it would not accept an auto level command and would not communicate temperatures with Octoprint.  Flashing to the Skynet firmware fixed both.  Not sure if still true but when I flashed there was no original firmware files available so a flash to Skynet was one way.

ETA: After some searching I see a lot of people say the included SD card is crap and can cause this.  Using a different card seems to fix it.  Also the filament loading is tricky but after a few times it gets pretty easy.  Straighten out the end of the filament and you'll need to get used to where that tube is that you need to hit.  I also replaced the socket head screw they used for the part you have to press on with a hex head so that my thumb has a more comfortable piece to press on.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 06:27:50 pm by SammyWI »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2017, 08:06:15 pm »
Ok, to reply. 

I'm using Cura 14.7, which is what the documentation recommends.  The layer height is 0.2mm.  Tried with a different sd card... it didn't help. I tried a rep-rap stl file of the maker bot mascot and things got weird.  First time it just set at idle and did do nothing, the next time it make noises like the printer was moving and the percentage meter went up, but nothing happened.  Then I tried two of the models I tried earlier... they are still doing the same thing.   The printer is acting weird.... like when I browse files I can hear the fan ramping up as I go through the menu.   Can Skynet be configured to not use auto level?  I need to print the sensor bracket before I buy the sensor. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #60 on: January 11, 2017, 01:12:12 am »
Ok more stuff. 

I tried a different slicer, it didn't help, so I think that rules that out.  I haven't been able to do anything via a usb connection.  Cura will connect if I force the port number and the printer will reset, but then cura hangs.  I've had similar issues with other software. 

Skynet includes the stock firmware for A8, but I'm afraid to install it.  I used it in avrdude with the verify option (surprisingly avr dude can connect?) and it comes back saying some of the bytes don't match.  I checked what is supposedly an updated version and it doesn't match either (shows the exact same byte differences).  I'm just scared that I'll brick the thing because there are multiple driver boards and I'm not 100% sure which one I have. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #61 on: January 11, 2017, 08:41:35 am »
I found this link for original firmware in one of the Facebook groups. No idea if they are correct.

http://anet3d.en.made-in-china.com/custom-detail/xmQExQndGJUQxmQExQndGJUQ/The-Firmware-Links-You-May-Need.html

Also Skynet does not have to use autolevel. You would just ignore setting up any z offset for the sensor, set z height manually and don't use the gcode for autolevel in your slicer.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #62 on: January 11, 2017, 11:52:35 am »
Yeah I've got a set of those as well.  What worries me is the fact that I can't get the bytes to match via verify with any version of the firmware.  I *think*  I dumped the firmware to a hex file for backup, but if there is any kind of strange bootloader or funny business going on it could corrupt the dump.  I've seen tutorials on how to use an uno to write directly to the serial port in case of issues after a bricked unit, but I would like to avoid that.

Did you flash yours with avrdude or arduino's toolkit?

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #63 on: January 11, 2017, 02:32:48 pm »
I flashed using what was included with Skynet, arduino I think.

What are you comparing to match bytes? Just a non programmer guess but if you are comparing the fw that came on your board wouldn't you expect the bytes to be wrong if that fw was corrupt from the factory?

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #64 on: January 11, 2017, 02:46:41 pm »
Well yeah that's true, but what concerns me is that it finds errors so early on... like in the first 30 bytes or so... that could be the boot loader.  I opened them up in a hex editor and they look nothing alike.  Mind you they are compiled, so a different revision would change things drastically.

I mean at this point it isn't working and I've heard very few complaints about Skynet, so I'll probably take a chance and update it tonight, I just don't want to have a gigantic project of getting things re-flashed if it doesn't work or the boot loader is corrupted, ect.

Oh and this morning just to make sure it wasn't a mechanical issue I used the position commands within the printer and the movement is dead on, down to the millimeter, so that rules one more thing out.  It's really odd, it's almost like it can't read the g-code properly, because everything else seems to work ok. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #65 on: January 11, 2017, 10:39:20 pm »
Alright guys, I got it sorted.  Thanks a bunch for the help.  Part of the problem was on my end and the other part was on the printer's end. 

Ok now keep in mind that I can't see well yet, so don't make fun of me too bad.  It turns out my hotbed leads had a single strand of the braided wire touching and it was causing the sensor to go nuts.  The thing is, the crappy firmware that is included with the printer doesn't really have any status messages, and thus why some of the models I sliced myself yesterday were just hanging... the bed never read the correct temp so it just sat there heating up. 

Skynet also hang, but it hang at the "heating" message and the temp seemed off to me so I figured it out.

That still didn't explain the huge z-axis jumps though and why I couldn't connect the printer via usb in cura... that was all corrupted firmware. 

So yeah, for those that order one of these, just skip some frustration and install Skynet.  They even have a config file for the non-autolevel  version so if you are going to buy the better sensor later on like me you are still covered. 

The test cube turned out great.  No gaps, no distorted edges, ect. and keep in mind I had to pick the thing up to fix that wire and didn't re-calibrate afterwards.  I have a few issues to sort out though.  I couldn't figure out how to set the z-offset as the instructions are for the auto level sensor and some of the menu options aren't in the new firmware anymore.  So it's like .1mm off.... it still prints fine but if there is a bubble in my tape or something it drags.  Speaking of dragging... the cooling neck that goes on the fan drags really bad... I had to take it off to print.  I figure this isn't a big deal as I'm going to print a new one anyway. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #66 on: January 12, 2017, 08:43:15 am »
Glad to hear that you got it running. You don't need to set any z offset in software. Leave it as is and adjust the nozzel to bed gap by adjusting the z switch height or the bed height. The cooling duct height is probably off because the hot end height can be installed at different heights and it may be a bit high. Be very careful if you adjust it - the threaded tube is not strong and many people break them. But they are cheap to replace. Most people print a different cooling duct but you may find that the models out there will also run too low unless you adjust the hot end or adjust the duct model. You can do plenty of printing with no cooling duct.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #67 on: January 12, 2017, 09:47:00 am »
No pic = no test cube


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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2017, 12:22:23 am »
I figured somebody would say that.  I can't find the charger to my good camera.  I can take a crappy one on my phone.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2017, 01:49:24 am »
I guess I'll just keep posting my progress in case someone else wants to takes the plunge on this particular printer and wants some tips.

So I printed out this:

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1954001

It replaces the stock fan duct and it fits much better. It latches on the tab on the left wall of the fan, so it won't fall off anymore.  It also sets a few mm above the hotend and just blows the air downwards, so it's far less likely to hang. 

I'm done printing for the night so I'll report back if it works well when I print the next upgrade.  I think I'll print the power supply cover next because not getting electrocuted = good.  Also it might be nice to have a switch to turn the thing off.... I currently have to unplug it. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2017, 01:53:47 am »
Glad to hear that you got it running. You don't need to set any z offset in software. Leave it as is and adjust the nozzel to bed gap by adjusting the z switch height or the bed height. The cooling duct height is probably off because the hot end height can be installed at different heights and it may be a bit high. Be very careful if you adjust it - the threaded tube is not strong and many people break them. But they are cheap to replace. Most people print a different cooling duct but you may find that the models out there will also run too low unless you adjust the hot end or adjust the duct model. You can do plenty of printing with no cooling duct.

Well yeah and for normal printing I'll just adjust the screws on the hotbed.  The thing is I would also like to experiment with a glass bed and perhaps print out a spindle attachment so it would be nice to be able to throw some g-code in there to change the offset.  I might not even bother with auto level.... it seems to do ok as-is. 

As mentioned, the duct I printed out is about right, so that much isn't an issue at least.

05SRT4

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #71 on: January 13, 2017, 10:30:33 pm »
Glad you got it going. Having a 3d printer is 90% figuring out how to use it and making adjustments and 10% printing.

The printer I had was all about the Auto level feature but after awhile it just started causing more issues. I ended up removing the auto level Gcode and just put nuts and bolts on each corner of the bed. I rarely need to adjust anything once I get it dialed in.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #72 on: January 13, 2017, 11:26:01 pm »
Heh yeah tell me about it.  I'll be spending the next day or so printing out parts to make the printer better.  The duct was an instant improvement... much smoother texture on the objects now.  I just printed out z-axis bushings to fix a flaw in the design (z-screws were too short).  Right now I'm printing out a top-mounted spindle holder since the one that came with it is basically a stick and the spool wobbles like crazy when printing (which has to screw up the precision).  Then I want to design and print some tool holders since apparently fiddling is going to be a thing any time I change anything. 

After all of that I'll be able to trust it to print with a good degree of precision. 

I still need to print a power supply cover and motherboard cover as well... I might have to design my own for that as I can't find one that I like.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #73 on: January 14, 2017, 09:39:27 am »
..... I just printed out z-axis bushings to fix a flaw in the design (z-screws were too short).  ....

This comes up on the FB groups a lot.  If the ends of the Z axis threaded rods don't quite reach to the holes in the top piece it's almost always because coupling to the Z motor is installed wrong.  It usually comes from the factory with the coupling pushed too far down on the motor shaft, and people often push the threaded Z rod too far in the top.  Both the motor shafts and the threaded Z rods should only be inserted about 5 mm into the coupling, then the threaded rods will reach into the upper holes and the coupling is free to flex correctly.  Also the top of the threaded rods do not need to be tightly restrained.  The smooth Z rods hold the alignment, small movements of the threaded rods will not hurt anything and trying to tightly restrain them can cause binding.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #74 on: January 14, 2017, 12:31:55 pm »
Nah it's a flaw in the design.  Even with the couplings raised to where there is just barely enough contact to grip onto the motor shaft and z screw the screws just barely make it into the upper holes.  I mean it's so little that if the axis were to have any kind of strain I would be afraid of them popping off.  Before I installed them the right z screw had a tendency to lay crooked and when the z axis got towards the top it squeaked horribly....I think it was rubbing on the frame.  Now it moves much more smoothly and their isn't any squeak.  The bushings I printed don't bind the screws as there is just a little bit of room. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #75 on: January 14, 2017, 10:47:45 pm »
Printed out a new spool holder that mounts to the top of the unit and a power supply switch.  I think I might reprint both later on because they weren't designed real well.  I'm learning that blindly printing out stuff on thingiverse isn't always wise.  I suppose I'm going to have to download a 3d cad program and knock the rust off my old school skills. 

Oh and for pbj, because pbj:


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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #76 on: January 14, 2017, 11:15:10 pm »
Nice cube.

Tinker Cad is a great place to start. You can import stuff and make adjustments with it. Ive seen a few people on this forum that have been using it.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #77 on: January 15, 2017, 02:59:32 pm »
I suppose I'm going to have to download a 3d cad program and knock the rust off my old school skills. 

Tinkercad is stupid easy if you just want to get stuff done quickly.
It has spoiled me and prevented me from moving on to a real cad program though.
So far everything I've wanted to do can be whipped out in short order using Tinkercad, so I haven't had a reason to move on.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #78 on: January 15, 2017, 03:04:46 pm »
Bah!  Another day, another problem.  I was printing out a pcb cover, which is the last part I need to print and shortly after printing the bottom layer the printer throws a thermal runaway error and aborts the print.  I'm trying again, but I'm not too optimistic. 

The interwebs tell me that a drastic change in temperature will do this, but I didn't notice any change.  It certainly didn't overheat at least.  Re-checked the wiring and it looks secure and in tact.  Could my new fan duct be cooling too well?  Is there a way to stop the fan on a running print?  (Other than unplugging it of course).

05SRT4

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #79 on: January 15, 2017, 04:29:33 pm »
Is there a way to stop the fan on a running print?  (Other than unplugging it of course).

I am not familiar with the printer you are using but on mine since I am using OctoPrint software I am able to adjust or turn off the fan mid print from my phone or PC. When connected to my PC and using simplify3d (slicer) I am also able to make the adjustments mid print.

But I doubt its because the fan is cooling it to fast. I would recommend checking the hot end and heated bed's thermistor, it may be loose or out of place or bad. Its a good idea to pick up a cheap laser temp gauge and use that to confirm the hotends actual temps.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 04:42:29 pm by 05SRT4 »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #80 on: January 15, 2017, 04:44:28 pm »
Well cura has a little status window and it has a text box.... I'm assuming I can use that to send commands, but I don't know what the command is to stop the fan.  It seems to be doing ok this time.  The only thing I did was put a big old fan on the power supply just in case and cinched up the wires to the hot end a little better as they were hanging below the fan duct. 

It's very annoying... one of those watched pot deals.... It was printing fine last time so I went in the living room to watch a movie and it crapped out on me.  Right now I'm on my computer anyway and wouldn't you know it... no errors.  I don't mind checking in occasionally, but this is a 6 hour print.    It's about halfway done, so hopefully it'll make it this time.  The solution for rapid cooling is to insulate the hotend, so I'll look into that.  And of course overheating just needs more fans, so I'll go through my junk drawers and start throwing every 12v fan I have at it. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #81 on: January 15, 2017, 07:15:31 pm »
While I'm waiting for this to finish I took a look at tinkercad.  it's surprisingly robust.  The only thing I don't like about it is there doesn't seem to be any way to work on models at the vertex level or the ability to delete/add/weld vertices.  I'm old school.  I usually plop down the basic shapes and then do all of the detail work with vertices.  I want to try one or two projects with it though.  No having to install a bloated 3d modeling program is a big check in the pro box for me. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #82 on: January 15, 2017, 07:40:10 pm »
I went through the included tutorials, then a few from this youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLt4JWLrDaOYmjyhE08HbNdsHMGKAmX6jG

With that, I've been able to pull off everything I can think up, except for complex curves.

The only annoying part is that every single thing you do is recorded in the file, so designs you've worked on a lot and redone parts of get so complicated that they take longer to load and sometimes get glitchy.  You can work around this by saving individual pieces as stl files, then importing them into a new design file.  Then they only show up as one shape instead of all the shapes & changes that went into making them.  Of course you can't undo or ungroup the parts that went into it.

You can also copy and paste from one design to another, which is helpful.

EDIT: BTW for some reason I can't access the drop down menu to change the snap grid size on the new Beta version (lower right corner of grid area).
         I can click on it, but the options are always hidden behind the tool panel or right edge of the screen.  Could be the 1600x900 resolution on my laptop.
         If you have the same issue, you may want to use the Legacy Design option.


« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 07:47:01 pm by BadMouth »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #83 on: January 15, 2017, 08:48:38 pm »
Is there a way to stop the fan on a running print?  (Other than unplugging it of course).
But I doubt its because the fan is cooling it to fast. I would recommend checking the hot end and heated bed's thermistor, it may be loose or out of place or bad. Its a good idea to pick up a cheap laser temp gauge and use that to confirm the hotends actual temps.

I agree that a cooling fan is very unlikely to cause a thermal runaway error.  I'd check the temp sensor wiring very carefully.  After that, some of the Skynet releases have had some bugs.  I'm still on 2.0 because it works for me and I hate to fix what's not broken.  2.3 (or 2.3.1) seems to be pretty good from what I've read but some of the in between versions have had reports of thermal runaway errors.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #84 on: January 15, 2017, 10:02:52 pm »
I think it was just glitching out for some reason.  I'm currently running it via usb cable and I think when my pc gets busy it is sending odd data or something. 

The latest print turned out just fine and I checked the print every 15 min or so and there was never a fluctuation in temp more than a degree or two.  I checked the wiring the whole length, even removing the covering and I couldn't find any kinks or breaks. 

Anyway my pcb cover turned out great.  As per usual there was a design flaw in the author's design.... the box hit the right bolt on the z limit switch, pushing it down, so I had to take it off and dremel out a small hole.  It looks nice and tidy though.... I'm only hoping the vent holes are enough to keep it cool.  I'll probably mount a pair of fans to the outside just in case. 

Btw.... I've been using painter's tape on the bed because the included stuff sucked and I have a real hard time removing some prints.  My tape is ruined every two or three jobs.  I was thinking maybe contact paper or something.  Are there any pre-made covers out there that actually work?

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #85 on: January 15, 2017, 10:33:30 pm »
As annoying as peeling tape of every other print its been the best for me. I just get the really thick cuts so I only need to do a few strips. I can go 4-5 prints before changing it out.

They had flexible sheets you can buy, I used one for a bit but eventual stopped when then 1st layer wouldn't stick anymore.

You can check them out here.

http://www.printinz.com/printinz-3d-printer-plates/

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #86 on: January 16, 2017, 10:37:54 am »
First layer sticking (and later releasing) is one of the biggest issues. I've used a lot of surfaces and I have found PEI to be the best so far with PLA or PETG. You can get PEI kits from Amazon or EBay that have a 30 mil sheet plus separate adhesive sold for 3d printing. I personally like 3 mil PEI tape from C S Hyde. Lasts for many prints with just a quick alcohol wipe before each print. Eventually gets beat up to need replacing. I have not yet tried the specialty print surfaces like Printz but the reports seem to be no better than PEI at higher cost.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #87 on: January 16, 2017, 12:15:51 pm »
I've easily done two dozen prints on my current sheet of PEI and have no plans of changing it anytime soon.

I did have an issue once where it turned white and was ever so slightly puffed where the last part was stuck to it.
I do not know if it was that I was experimenting with higher temperatures, that I stretched it slightly while removing the part, or what.
It's just enough that if I print a big flat part face down and you hold it up to the light at just the right angle, you can see the outline.
This has only happened once and I'm still using the same sheet.  Just been too lazy to clean all the adhesive off and I haven't needed to print anything big and flat that needs to have a perfect shiny smooth surface.  Discussion here if interested: http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,151479.msg1597116.html#msg1597116

Other than that once instance, I pretty much consider PEI to be the permanent bed and not a consumable.



Howard_Casto

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #88 on: January 16, 2017, 01:23:27 pm »
Well the smooth surface is one of my concerns.  Right now it is quite noticeable that I'm printing on tape because you can see the lines.  With what I'm printing right now it doesn't really matter, but when I start printing stuff out for my car it would be nice to have a smooth surface, or at least a uniform one. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #89 on: January 18, 2017, 01:45:19 am »
I saw a youtube video where someone used a butane mini torch to smooth pla prints.... I might try it.  Anyway, I figured out the z-offset.  You just want to throw a G92 in your starting g-code. 

Let's say you want to print on some glass and it's 10mm thick.... you would add the g-code:
G92 Z-10

That tells the printer that the current z-position is -10, so before printing it's going to move up 10mm to get to 0, which will be on top of the glass. 

So I need to read up on g-code as my 3d modeling training was more on the artistic side than the industrial. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #90 on: January 24, 2017, 10:23:10 pm »
when I start printing stuff out for my car it would be nice to have a smooth surface, or at least a uniform one.

When I first got my printer I thought I could pull off a nice smooth surface on the side facing the print surface.
I have since given up.  I can get it pretty smooth, but you can still see the path the printer took.
Getting something finished looking enough for a car interior without finishing in some other way is a pretty tall order.

When I had an 83 TransAm, I would cut panels out of textured ABS, clamp a guide across the corners and file the surface of the corners down until they looked like the factory panels.  If your Camaro interior looks the same, you'll understand what I mean.


So make anything cooler than a cube yet?

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #91 on: January 24, 2017, 10:43:57 pm »
Well the idea was to cook each flat side on a hot plate for a second or two to melt everything flat and maybe use a torch for curves, but I think I'll experiment on reject parts first.  If all else fails spraying it with some filler primer and painting isn't a big deal. 

In previous cup holders I've used the excess of a midway 27" crt bezel from happ.  The stuff is a dead ringer for the plastic texture on the center console, but I think I'm about out of it. 

I've printed a bunch of stuff, but not much for fun yet.  I printed out a cover for the pcb and some bushings for the Z axis. I designed a couple of tool holders for the included kit that snap to the top.  I also printed off a spool holder that mounts to the top from thingiverse, but it kind of sucks so I might make a new one.  Other than that, I printed the Nintendo logo (small test size for a HUGE sign) and I made a little mounting box for a wifi extender that doesn't get good service unless I mount it in the window. 

I saw a Shao Kahn model from mk9 on thingiverse... I want to print that and paint it.  I had this idea to print out control panels for candy cab buttons/sticks.  I did some tests and with a 100% solid print it's probably stronger than most plastic madcatz sticks. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #92 on: January 30, 2017, 09:23:31 pm »
Yeah so I've been experimenting a little.

I found a plotter attachment on thingiverse for the i3 in which you had to remove the cooling fan.  I modified it so that it bolts behind the fan instead.  Sorry I should have taken more pics, but here is the first test before I dialed all the settings in.  As of now it has the accuracy of a black and white printer for the most part.  I'm still trying to keep the pen from dragging when it first starts printing, but other than that, it works.  The key to doing this is to save an additional machine profile in cura and change all the settings for the plotter.  Then switching back and forth is as easy as loading profiles. 

The next step is to modify the plate to make it a universal mount.  A dremel extension and vinyl cutting drag knife can work via the same principal for 2d cutting. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #93 on: January 31, 2017, 07:30:29 am »
Some cool things done with a drawing machine: 

(contains some profanity)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 07:32:16 am by BadMouth »

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #94 on: January 31, 2017, 03:29:32 pm »
I saw that one.  I guess our youtube suggestions are similar.  ;)

The more I play with this printer the more I think it could probably handle light-duty cnc milling.  The only weak point is the y axis portion of the frame and as it's only two screw rods attached to flat lexan, it could be modified and made sturdy. 

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #95 on: February 02, 2017, 09:03:17 pm »
So I thought I would give a glass plate a try.  Thus far glass sucks.  I'll try to tweak the settings one more time tomorrow, but even with a bunch of glue down on the bed it's just sliding all over the place.  So I guess I'll try some of the ready made sheets you guys suggested as the parts are sticking to blue tape so bad that I fear I'm going to warp the bed removing prints.

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Re: So ... 3d Printers....
« Reply #96 on: February 02, 2017, 09:57:41 pm »
Bah! 

Never mind, the glass is actually better, I just goofed a bit of g-code.  Printed out the little makerbot keychain and he turned out pretty good.  You can make out most of his buttons and stuff, so I call that a success.  I need to lay off the glue stick a little next time, but I actually managed to get a flat edge on the bottom without any path lines.  He pulled off the glass a lot better than the tape, so assuming I can get this glue stick ratio down I think I'll stick with glass. 

  
 

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