Monday, July 28, 2014

3D Printer Checklist

Here's the 3D Printer checklist provided by Josh for our shared printer.  There's a few items specific to our site, but in general they're a good set of guidelines.  If you have your own printer you luxuriously won't have to load and unload the filament each time!

Before Printing

  • Sign up for a time slot.  Join the 3DPrint mail alias.
Setting Up
  • Turn on the power switch on the back right side of the printer.
  • PLA Filament reels are in the cabinet to your left (please use your own, or one marked Community or Robot Class).
  • Use the correct sized holder for the reel you picked.
  • Load the reel so the filament goes under the reel and up the tube.
  • Avoid letting the filament cross under itself as this can cause tangles during printing.
  • Push the whole printer back so the reel lightly touches the wall.  This keeps the reel from falling off and also avoids tangles.
  • On the control pad, choose Utilities -> Change Filament -> Load.
  • THE PRINT HEAD IS HOT (230 degrees C, 446 degrees F): DO NOT TOUCH IT.
  • Clip off the end of the filament using scissors.
  • Press and hold the lever on the print head while feeding the filament into the hole.
  • Release the lever and feel the filament being pulled into the hole.
  • If the mechanism doesn’t pull the filament, or you hear grinding & thumping, it may be clogged. Seek help to fix this issue.
  • Watch to see a nice stream of melted filament coming out of the print head.
  • You can use the spatula to clear tangles on the end of the print head.
  • One the control panel, press M a few times to finish the loading process.
  • Inspect the blue tape to make sure it is smooth in an area large enough for your object.
  • If needed, remove the glass print bed and re-surface it with fresh blue tape.
  • At the computer, open MakerWare.
  • Add the model file(s) you want to print.
  • For beginners, we recommend printing one object at a time to minimize the loss if a print fails part way.
  • Position the model so that it will land on a smooth area of blue tape.
  • The middle is safer than the edges in case the plate is not 100% level.
  • Press the "Make" button.
  • Choose a print quality. Low Resolution is Fast and High Resolution is Slow.
  • Decide if you want a Raft or Supports and check the appropriate boxes.
  • Please do not adjust the temperature setting.
  • Check the "Preview before printing" box.
  • Press "Make It".
  • In the Preview window, slide the slider to ensure that it will print as you expect.
  • Note the estimated print time in the Preview window.
  • If everything is good, press "Make It!"
  • You must monitor your print.  We have had at least one case of the printer causing smoke. Please avoid this.
  • You can watch it in person, or watch via the web cam.
Cleaning Up
  • When the print is done, use the spatula to remove your object from the plate.
  • On the control pad, choose Utilities -> Change Filament -> Unload.
  • The print head will heat up again and the motor will back the filament out.
  • Press and hold the lever and gently pull the filament out.
  • Try your best to not leave a gob of half-melted filament inside the print head - that will jam it for the next person.
  • Roll the filament back onto the reel.
  • Put the end of the filament in one of the holes, or tape it down to prev to prevent tangling.
  • Put the filament back into the cabinet.
  • Turn off the printer.
  • Sweep up any debris and tidy up for the next person.
blogodex = {"toc" : "3D Printing", "idx" = "Robotics Class"};

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