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Looking for a build Mentor

Posted by Derae 
Looking for a build Mentor
April 12, 2012 11:36PM
Hello all, my name is Derae and I'm looking to build myself a 3D Printer.
I want to do this fairly cheaply as I'm a poor student. Thing is..., I don't know where to start. I don't even know which model would be the best option for me. I want to build prototypes for ball jointed doll pieces so I'd like the best detail I can get, but it doesn't have to be flawless, I can go over the item with super sculpey to smooth things out.

I have access to a fairly well equipped jewelery workshop so cutting metal parts won't be an issue, and I have family friends who could likely help me with the electronic side of things too.

So gentlemen (and ladies), would you like to help?
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 01:37AM
Hi Derae,

I'm sure there are plenty of people on this forum (as well as the #reprap IRC channel) that would be more than happy to help point you in the right direction. There's also the possibility of going to your local hackerspace to talk and get practical assistance. Where abouts in NZ are you based?


Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 01:42AM
I'm based in Christchurch. (Thanks for being so welcoming!)
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 04:04AM

At the risk of annoying the reprap community...

Is your motivation to build a machine or to design stuff? If you want to spend more time designing stuff have you looked at Shapeways you will get superb quality at a reasonable price. If your motivation is to make a machine consider buying parts from Ebay will save you quite alot compared to sourcing through local shops. If you are after a machine the up and coming Makibox might suit you, rumoured to be a sub $300USD machine when it is complete.

Hope this is of some small help.

Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 08:25AM
Thanks Andrew. I am most definitely looking to build a machine. I've already done most of the designing but I'd rather print it myself and be able to tweak it immediately. Do you have any recommendations for which model would be best for a N00b to put together?
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 08:47AM
I agree with Andrew that if you just want to get your designs printed then it would be much easier for you to use a 3D printing service or find a local RepRapper who was keen to collaborate. However if you're keen to have your own printer, especially one that can print its own parts, then building a RepRap is a very rewarding project.

I would be wary of buying stuff off Ebay unless you've got an experienced person to help you assess whether the products are of good quality. It's not that hard to source stuff locally but does require more work than simply ordering a kit from a reputable web site.

I would also steer clear of projects like Makibox until they prove they can ship actual working products that are any good. I hadn't heard of the project before Andrew mentioned it but the consensus on #reprap is that it's vapourware. Like Printrbot before them they are making some pretty unrealistic claims about the failings of existing RepRap designs and the capabilities of their yet-to-exist printer. It's also curious that he started his own crowdfunding site (www.makible.com) to get the seed funding for Makibox rather than using an existing site like Kickstarter.

As far as RepRaps go the obvious choice is a Prusa Mendel. There are a couple of competing designs (MendelMax and Mendel90 come to mind) but the Prusa design is by far the most tried and tested. I wouldn't recommend anything else to someone wanting to build their first printer.

I know of a few people on this forum in Chch who have built or are looking at building a Prusa. It would be great if a group could be formed there to help you and others get started. Failing that I'm sure we could help you through this thread and it would also be a useful resource for others.

Another great place to get advice and assistance, especially in a hurry, is the #reprap IRC channel on Freenode. You can log in with your favourite IRC client or use the webchat interface. You'll get different advice depending on who is in the channel at the time but there is a helpful bot called kthx who can help you with common questions. For example asking "prusa2?" in the channel will give you information about the latest Prusa design. Just don't forget to reward kthx with a "botsnack" every once in a while. winking smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2012 08:48AM by grokbeer.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 06:26PM
Hi Derae

Im in Christchurch, with almost 3 printer under my belt (and have printed many sets of plastics for many others)

See [dustsreprap.blogspot.co.nz] for 'log' of how I did it.

As for which printer, I always recommend a Prusa. Even if you really want something else, As the Prusa is the defacto standard, lots of people have them and there is lots of documentation and advise.

Once you have built a prusa, you can of course print what ever you want for the next one

Are you at Canterbury Uni? (Im just at the other end of Ilam road)
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 13, 2012 08:54PM
I'm in Nelson and have parts of all kinds available, I only print Prusa plastic parts but I do have all most of the other parts available too. See weblink in my signature

Experimenting in 3D in New Zealand
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 14, 2012 05:20AM
I have just built a Prusa and have just managed to get it connected. So yes I am a noob... However:

- I found it any easy build.

- There are lots of documents (the most useful i found was the Prusa Visual Instructions)

- Lots of people have built these which is great for support.

- I have built mine for sub $500 NZ. (I got the plastic parts for free though)

I would highly recommend building this printer (I do not however know what the build quality is because I have just got my motors moving along all axis)
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
April 17, 2012 04:31AM
Hi Derae,

I'm another newbie in Christchurch, currently busily buying lots of bits to build my first machine. Dust (above) has been really helpful - talk to him for advice. He's advising you go with the Mendel Prusa and that's probably good advice. I've gone a different way (the Mendel90) but for my own reasons - I'm NOT a poor student so my needs are different.

I'm reallly looking forward to having a machine, and looking forward to having a group of reprappers in Christchurch so we can help each other out and print parts when something breaks. :-)

Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 05, 2012 03:20AM
Hi all!

This is my first post. I am also located in Christchurch and would love to see something like a Reprap builders group in town!

I started building a Prusa last year, I got a set of parts from Paul (Hackerspace Dunedin), and found the mechanical side of the build to be lots of fun. I've done a few changes to the printer while building it, Am using DU bushings (teflon coated me thinks, maybe brass) and the printer looks good and all axis move ok without any play.

The firmware/software installation however is doing my head in! It took me ages to get the firmware going (Am using Ramps 1.2, ReplicatorG and Teacup Firmware). I've got the firmaware sorted, but I can't seem to be able to use RepG properly. I was reading their "usage" page and the version of RepG pictured doesn't seem anything like the version Am running! I can't set the temperature for the build. However I can go to the Configuration window and move all the axis, set the temperature to whatever and squirt some PLA. But then I tell RepG to print and the temperature just drops.

Is there something that I'm missing? Am I skipping steps somewhere? Should I be using a different firmware/software?

What are your thoughts?

Good to see so many people Reprapping in Chch!

Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 05, 2012 06:11AM
Teacup is really old firmware, most use Sprinter or Marlin. There is a configuration for ramps 1.2 in sprinter. It doesnt look like marlin supports the older ramps. link for sprinter [github.com]

ReplicatorG is also not the best, it looks fancy but... are you trying to make a makerbot??
I recommend Pronterface [github.com] and use slic3r for you slicer [slic3r.org]

But if you insist on RepG...
Check the generated gcode, the first 10-15 lines, find out what they do via this table [reprap.org]
and see what its doing temperature wise

Temperature codes start with m104 or m109. The former sets the temp but doesn't wait for the machine to get to that temperature, the latter waits till the machine gets to temp before doing the next command.

Since the gcode is just text you can edit it, just make the temp what it should be.. then work out where its coming from later (may even have comments saying where its from)

The machine (at least in theory) only every does what the gcode tells it to do.

Hope this helps.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/05/2012 06:19AM by Dust.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 12, 2012 05:10AM
Thanks for the reply, Dust.

I have uploaded Sprinter and downloaded the ready-to-run version of Pronterface with Slic3r from the Printrun wiki.

Do I load the STL file using Pronterface, Slic3r or Plater?

I can't find instructions anywhere. I can control the printer using Pronterface but I can't load a file. I tried using both the "Load File" button on Pronterface and the "Slice" button on Slic3r.

What is the workflow on Pronterface and Slic3r?
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 12, 2012 06:30AM
Hi Ekman

There is a bit of cross over

Normally you run Pronterface and load the stl file, it will run slic3r and generate gcode. Which pronterface will then send to the printer (after you have connected and hit print)

First thing to check is you configure slic3r from pronterface (settings|slicer setting) should start up slic3r
If it doesnt you need to check settings|options in pronterface
Check the slicecommand and sliceoptscommand setting point to your slic3r executable
Myne are set to:
slicecommand: {full_path_to}slic3r $s --load {full_path_to}config.ini --output $o
sliceoptscommand: {full_path_to}slic3r --load {full_path_to}config.ini --ignore-nonexistent-config

You can load stl's into slicer directly and generate gcoed files ahead of time. You can then just load the gcode file into pronterface and print (no having to wait to slice), also used by people who print from SD cards.

Platter is a tool turn multiple slt objects into one gcode file to print at once. You can also use the compose button in pronterface, or the GUI in slic3r to do this.

Hope this makes thinks clearer

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2012 06:32AM by Dust.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 13, 2012 04:34AM
Thanks again Dust, you've been super helpfull!

I successfully loaded and printed a 10mm cube today, for the first time ever!!! So stoked!

Still a long way to go, the cube is 9.91mm one way, 10.17mm the other way... but 10.05mm tall, which is good! The cube looks a bit bulgy on the sides but i guess that's just because the part is too small and it doesn't cool down in time.

I still can't rotate and position the objects on the print table using Pronterface. Printing a cube is easy, as it doesn't matter how it's loaded, but I tryed loading the letter "F" and that was a fail, it was sitting up instead of lying down. When I click on the print table on Pronterface another window pops up, with a bigger version of the print table, but without the part in it.

I thought perhaps Am missing some python lybrary or something, so decided to install Pronterface and Slic3r individually on another PC. I installed the following:

- [python.org]
- [pypi.python.org]
- [downloads.sourceforge.net]
- [launchpad.net]

Then I went to install the last one (http://pyglet.googlecode.com/files/pyglet-1.1.4.zip) and it says I need to open a command terminal and run "python setup.py install". I did it but got a message saying the command is not valid. Any help please?
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 13, 2012 05:24AM
A bit bulgy could be that you e steps is to large, putting out fractionally to much plastic, our you filament measurement is out. Have you tuned it? ie marked 100mm of filament from the top of the extruder, then slowly extruded 100mm via pronterface. and checking the line is now on top of the extruder?

Rotating an object is one thing that missing in pronterface. You can rotate in the Slic3r gui then re save the slt

The large image is the detailed slicing window. It shows the slices in layer by layer detail. it should show the first layer...
Hold down shift and scroll the mouse wheel up and down to move up and down layers.

I don't use windows, but i'm guessing the python executable isn't in your path
Take a look at [pythoncentral.org]
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 13, 2012 04:29PM
Or you can rotate the .stl file with netfabb basic if using windows. This is a very useful peice of software as it can mend broken mesh in poorly executed drawings as well as orientate objects.

On the calibrating I found by removing my nozzle and then doing the 100mm measurement test I could get it really accurate, then put the nozzle back on and double check, it saves wasting sooo much fillament too

Experimenting in 3D in New Zealand
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 16, 2012 01:22AM
I have calibrated the printer the best I could and I'm working out the Slic3r settings now.

Printed parts look good, on a 0.5mm nozzle I get 0.3mm layer height and the finish is pretty good, no warps or bubbles.

What sort of accuracy do you guys get on your prints? I printed a cylinder 80mm in diameter and I get from +0.2 to -0.5 variantions in the diameter. Am pretty happy with that at the moment, but is it realistic to aim at a constant 0.1 or smaller tolerance?

On a different note, Dust, did you get the extrusions for your MendelMax from Chch, if so, where? I would like to upgrade as soon as possible.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 16, 2012 05:21AM
I put a dial gauge on X,Y and Z axis to make 1mm moves as close as possible to 1mm

I have not found any local sources for t-slot extrusions at all.
I got a mate to send me some from the USA.

Now you can now buy it from store.mendelmax.com and get it shipped directly.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 03:52AM
I thought Ullrich Aluminium had some T-slot extrusion in their range, from memory it is fairly expensive.

Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 04:10AM
old posts now, but see [dustsreprap.blogspot.co.nz] and [dustsreprap.blogspot.co.nz]

So yes, technically you can get it in Nz, it will cost to $500-$900nz for $50us of extrusion

re Ullrich Aluminium, "Unfortunatley we have nothing in that size 20x20mm t-slot, our only one is a 57x32mm."
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 05:04AM
Ok, I finished calibrated my printer, then I felt brave and decided to print a set of Herringbone's gears as a trial. The result was astonishing, so then I decided to print a set of Greg's Extruder, and then I got cocky and stuff went wrong. Namely warping, hence me writing here in despair.

Is there any way to get the PLA to stick to the print bed without heating it up? Will it stick to cold glass, or does it need to be heated?Has anyone tried sticking some double-sided tape to the print bed, as crazy as it sounds???

I have an aluminium print bed with masking tape over it, the PLA sticks down well on big parts (the big Herringbone gear has minor warping) but the extruder body has smallish ends and it warped like hell.

See for yourselves:
open | download - IMG-20120717-00164.jpg (197.5 KB)
open | download - IMG-20120717-00167.jpg (231.6 KB)
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 05:14AM
PLA sticks to Blue tape or warm glass

"Blue Tape a painters masking tape found most commonly in US hardware stores or painting supply stores. It comes in several widths, but is commonly found in 3" and 4" rolls.
It's possible that the blue part is trademarked or copy-written by 3M, because apparently in Denmark, masking tape is Yellow. The most recomerd bluetape ist the "Scotch 3M Blue Tape 2090"

Found At bunnings

People have tried all sorts, most recently pva glue watered down on cold glass. Apparently works really well (I havent tried this) But of course you have to re apply it every print

You can also lower your first layer 0.05 to get better adhesion.

But heated glass is the best in my view.
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 06:07AM
Sticking is NOT your problem, WARPING is your problem!

The only way to prevent the warping is to use a heated bed.

Bob Morrison
Wörth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 17, 2012 06:11AM
Cold aluminium conducts the heat away so I think tape on cold glass will work better than tape on cold aluminium.

Perhaps try two layers of tape to give some thermal insulation.

BTW, how is that overhang supposed to print? It seems completely unsupported.

Re: Looking for a build Mentor
July 19, 2012 12:57AM
nophead Wrote:

> BTW, how is that overhang supposed to print? It
> seems completely unsupported.

It was printed with the support. I stopped the print half way as there was too much warping going on.

I borrowed a small piece of glas from a nearby picture frame and will try with the PVA priming solution tonight.
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