RUG/Basic Print Tutorial

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Basic RepRap Mendel Printing Tutorial

Here is a basic tutorial of how to save files as an STL in SolidWorks, using programs such as ReplicatorG, Slic3r, and Printer Interface as well as an example of how to print using a RepRap Mendel 3D printer.

Video explanations can be found below each title.

Saving file as STL in SolidWorks

Saving as STL in SolidWorks

1) SolidWorks files need to be saved as an STL file

2) Click ‘Save As’ from menu at the top

STL save as 1.png

3) When Save As menu appears in ‘Save as type‘ dropdown menu, locate and click on STL (*.stl)

Choose stl 2.png

4) Click Save then click ‘Yes’ on the warning message that appears

Yes to save stl.png

Using ReplicatorG

Using ReplicatorG

1) Open STL file in File --> Open

2) Part can be moved in X, Y, and Z directions using the ‘Move’ tab

RepG move tab 4.png

3) +/- X, Y, Z buttons can be used to move part around print bed, or value can be entered

RepG move buttons 5.png

4) Part will lay flat on platform by clicking ‘Put on platform’ button

RepG put on platform 6.png

5) Part will be centered on platform by clicking ‘Center’ button

RepG center 7.png

6) The ‘Scale’ tab allows you to increase or decrease the size of the part

RepG scale 8.png

7) Make your part bigger by entering a scaling factor greater than 1, make your part smaller by using a scaling factor less than 1 then click ‘Scale’ to apply size change

RepG scale factor 9.png

8) Use ‘Rotate’ tab to rotate part about the X, Y, and Z axes

RepG rotate 10.png

9) Rotate part by clicking on the +/- X, Y, Z buttons, and part will lay flat on platform with the ‘Lay Flat’ button

RepG rotate buttons 11.png

Using Slic3r

Using Slic3r

1) Open Slic3r to cut the STL file into layers and generate a G-code file that tells the printer how to move during the print

2) Once open first check the extruder nozzle diameter in the ‘Printer Settings’ tab to make sure the value matches the printers nozzle diameter (pic 12)

Slic3r nozzle d 12.png

3) Next in the ‘Print Settings’ tab under ‘Layers and perimeters’ make sure that the Layer height is a value 80% of the nozzle diameter and the Final layer height is 120% (pic 13)

Slic3r layer height 13.png

4) To slice the STL go to File  Quick Slice and go to the location of the saved STL and double click it

5) Once done click ‘Okay’ and the G-code file will be saved in the same folder as the STL

G-code edits

RepRap G-code Edits

1) Before the G-code file is loaded to the printer, a couple edits must be made to the G-code

2) Locate the G-code file and open it in a text program (NotePad, LeafPad, etc.)

3) The first command that needs editing is M104 S(some number), type in a value after the S and this will allow the nozzle to reach a certain temperature during the print

Gcode m104 14.png

4) The next command to edit is M109, either comment it out by placing ; before the command or delete it completely

Gcode m109 15.png

5) Save the G-code

Load Filament

Load Filament into RepRap

1) If filament is not already loaded into the printers extruder then this needs to be done

Load filament 16.png

2) There is a little hole in the top of the extruder where the filament can be inserted and line up the filament with the teeth carved into the bolt so it can be fed to the nozzle as the gears move

Load filament2 17.png

3) While slightly pushing the filament into the hole, simultaneously twist the large gear counterclockwise to feed the filament to the nozzle until the gear no longer turns with ease

Printer Interface

Using Printer Interface

1) Open Printer Interface and connect the printer by clicking ‘Connect’ at the top

Printer interface connect 18.png

2) This message will appear on the right hand side of the printer interface screen if it was a success

Printer interface connect success 19.png

3) Control X, Y, and Z axes of printer using this control, the different numbers shown represent the increments of movement in millimeters and each axis can be sent to its home position by clicking on the home button for each corresponding axis

Printer interface axis control 20.png

4) Set nozzle temperature here

Printer interface set temp 21.png

5) Once temperature reaches desired level the ‘Extrude’ button can be used to be sure the nozzle is hot enough and the filament is properly inserted

Printer Axes

Printer Axes of a RepRap Mendel

1) The picture below shows the different axes of the printer and the extruder is considered to be the E axis

Axes 22.png

Load File into Printer

Load file into Printer Interface

1) Once the file and printer are ready, the file can be loaded into Printer Interface by clicking ‘Load File’ at the top

2) Locate the G-code file and double click it

3) The file will load into Printer Interface and on the right hand side window it will say your file is loaded and your part will show up in the yellow grid

File loaded into pinter interface 23.png

Start Print in Printer Interface

Start Print in Printer Interface

1) Once file has been loaded into Printer Interface, filament is properly loaded into the extruder, and the nozzle is at the correct temperature, click Print at the top of the Pinter Interface window and your print will begin

2) At the bottom of the Printer Interface screen it will show the status of your print with percent complete, the line of G-code the print is on, and the estimated time left for the print

Start Print on RepRap

Start Print on RepRap Mendel

1) Once the print has been started the RepRap will do one test loop before it starts the first layer of the part so there is time to adjust the Z-axis to the proper height

2) Adjust the Z-axis by manually twisting the Z-axis bars

Manually adjust z-axis 24.png

3) The first layer of the print may be a little messy but one can usually get away with this because the subsequent layers will make up for it

Removing Object from Print Bed

Remove completed part off Print Bed

1) The easiest way to remove a finalized object form the print bed is to use a paint scraper

2) Often times the print can be slightly difficult to get off of the bed, use the scraper to pry at the base of the object to get leverage and pop it off

Remove object 25.png

Main Electronics

Main Electronics

If you are having difficulty connecting or turning the printer on below you will see an example of the electronics to check. To fix a power issue sometimes all that needs to happen is disconnecting a cord then plugging it back in.

Electronics 26.png