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tools:3d_printing:start

3D Printing Bench

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Current Printers

    • Build Area: Roughly 4x4x4 inches
    • Can work PLA and ABS (has heated bed)
    • Workflow: Connected to computer with Cura 2.4 series slicer.
    • Portable; can run on battery power
      • Requires at least 12V @ 4A for running without heated bed
      • Running the heated bed on battery power has not been tested and is not allowed at present.
  • Solidoodle 3
    • Build Area: Roughly 8x8x8 inches
    • Has a heated bed
    • Fully enclosed with acrylic sheeting
    • Currently non-functional – Has issues with Y-axis traversal, thermistor issues
  • Mbot Cube (revision 1)
    • Build Area: Roughly 8x8x8 inches
    • No heated bed (though one can be added)
    • Dual extruders (though they need alignment)
    • Workflow
      1. Uses Proprietary MPrint software to communicate with printer via USB
      2. Can also print from an .x3g file read from the on-board SD card reader (2 GB maximum capacity); .x3g files can be made in ReplicatorG with appropriate configuration.
    • Currently non-functional – Bed alignment system is damaged; new print bed needed

Current Filament Available

  • PLA filament (transparent blue) – ~1kg spool
  • ABS filament (green) – ~1kg spool

Usage and Workflow

The 3D printer is controlled via the desktop computer set up next to it. The basic workflow is this:

  1. Take a 3D model and convert it to an STL file.
  2. The STL file then must be converted to GCode.
  3. The GCode is sent to the printer for printing.

3D Modeling/STL creation

We have three CAD programs installed for creating 3D models. Two rely on the principle of Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG).

  • OpenSCAD is the more mature of the two programs. It uses a scripting language to define a model using CSG.
  • Antimony is a new program, released in Spring 2015 as a visual approach to CSG. While it is easier to use, its STL export is considerably cruder (it uses a naive algorithm for creating models).
  • SolveSpace is a constraint-based, parametric CAD program. It has the advantage of having a more traditional CAD interface, but there is a bit of a learning curve; going through the tutorials on the program's website is highly recommended.

Alternatively, you can download an STL file from an online 3D printing repository like YouMagine or Thingiverse.

GCode Production

STL is converted to GCode using a *slicer program* which produces GCode of slices of the modeling file for the 3D printer to print. The best slicer for the Printrbot is Cura, which is preinstalled on the computer.

The Solidoodle and Mbot have their own workflows. Solidoodle uses Pronterface to send Gcode, though work is ongoing to find replacements. Mbot's software toolchain is a bit more complicated; supposedly, it uses RepetierHost, but initial tests were unsuccessful. The Mbot has an onboard control panel with an SD card reader, but uses a nonstandard format for printer instructions (not G-code). Investigations are ongoing.

Visual Troubleshooting Guides

Webcam Access

There are three options to access the webcam to view 3D prints in progress.

  • Static View: Click Here (This does not work on Hacksburg WiFi, refresh the page for an updated image.
  • Basic Stream:
    1. Open VLC and navigate to Tools>Preferences.
    2. In the bottom left corner of the Preferences window under “Show Settings” click the “All” option.
    3. In the search box, type “Image Demuxer” and select the “Image” option.
    4. Change the “Duration in Seconds” option to 1.00 seconds and click save.
    5. Turn on looping.
    6. Select Media>“Open a Network Stream” and type http://216.252.200.71:65413//cgi-bin/CGIStream.fcgi?cmd=snapPicture2&usr=Snap&pwd=123snap! into the Network URL box.
    7. Click Play and the video should begin playing at ~1 FPS
    8. Note: This method is a workaround if you do not wish to install the IPCWebComponents.exe required for full camera contol. That method provides better video quality and the option to pan/tilt/zoom.
  • Full Control: Click Here Visit from Internet Explorer initially to download and install IPCWebComponents.exe. The interface can then be accessed from other browsers (does not appear to work in Firefox).
    • User: Operator
    • Password: 123snap!

Planned Printers

  • Prusa i3 derivative
    • Plannning discussions started in early January 2015, but stalled.
    • Current components: RAMPS board, Arduino, heated bed, thermistor, user interface board, one pulley with CL2 toothed belt
    • Missing components: Just about everything else
tools/3d_printing/start.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/19 18:13 by john