Today, I downloaded an interesting model from thingiverse and successfully printed it. (And that’s a milestone.) It consists of 3 rings that snap together to form a sphere: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:11034
The printout was a bit rough and stringy, but it worked. It took about 1.5 hours to print.
We had the usual problem with skipping on the Y axis, but Kevin diagnosed it as too little current on the Y axis motor, and adjusted a pot to fix the problem. There wasn’t time to test how well this worked. Hopefully we’ll have better print quality the next time. We also had a problem with the extruder not heating (the temperature was registering as 2000. Kevin diagnosed this as a loose connection: the fix was to unplug the ethernet-style cable from the extruder and plug it in again.
There’s still more fiddling that can be done to make printing easier and more reliable.
1. I’m using the original mendel firmware and host software, which requires hand editing of the gcode before printing. Updating to the TechZone firmware might fix the bug that requires hand editing the gcode.
2. At some point, I want to experiment more with SkeinForge and Repsnapper as alternatives to the Mendel host software (as these are what are recommended by Tech Zone). I need to get SkeinForge settings from TechZone, and compile Repsnapper from source.
I also want to find a test model of moderate difficulty that prints in 15 minutes, and make a series of runs with different printing parameters (eg, different termperatures). I starting printing a cube last night, but it printed nearly perfectly, so it’s not a good test case for the print quality problems we’ve been seeing.