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  1. cloakfiend: Don't the Ultimaker's have snap-in quick change heads? It seems it would be advisable to have a spare handy for just such situations. I know... the only argument against is $$$. I have found that I get really nice prints using MakerGeeks Raptor High Heat PLA. It holds up great in the sun, dishwasher, microwave (250 Degree F.), and it is food safe! It prints better than PLA and is really strong. I subscribe to their $30 monthly geekbox subscription. You get 2 rolls 2.2# each (1KG ea.) of some random selection of filament in your chosen size (1.75mm or 2.85mm), a tool of some kind, a link to a downloadable monthly project, some stickers for the kids, and a discount coupon for the next month of usually 15 to 40% off the purchase of anything (except the next GeekBox). Usually you will get about $50-100 worth of stuff. One month, we even got a $100 gift card to buy whatever we wanted. It is great filament and the price is fantastic. They have a micro-fiber line that even includes carbon fiber. It prints like a dream!
  2. cloakfiend, I just use washable Elmer's School Glue Stick. I rub it on to the surface of the glass then put a quarter sized drop of water in the center and rub it around using my hand. When I get it all dissolved into a micro thin, consistent layer, I wipe off the excess and let it dry for a minute or two while I heat up the bed and hot end. If I am using the whole bed, it will take several water drops over the surface to get it all consistent. Too much water and it doesn't stick. Too thick a layer and it doesn't stick well. It only takes a couple of tries to figure out how thick is thick enough. To keep items with high warp, I add a drop of Super glue at the corners after the first or second layer has finished printing. I then dab the excess glue away with a rag so it leaves a very strong, but micro thin attachment. When it cools off, the super glue usually releases, and a little water will soak loose the glue stick. If you want a better hold, I found the cheapest glue sticks from Office Depot work well, but do leave a little residue.
  3. Have you tried using water based glue stick to attach the fabric to the print bed? If you have a removable bed, you could soak it loose without causing any damage to the print or the fabric mesh. I have used this method to attach plastic bags to cardstock for use in my Silhouette digital craft cutter, and for adhering prints to my glass bed on my 3-D printer. I love the color and the shiny smooth finish you have attained. Will we get to see the finished product when it is all done? Is it going to be a dress?
  4. Thanks for the feedback. I have been sidetracked from my 3-IN-1 development. We bought an inexpensive JGAurora kit for the club and I bought one for myself as they were under $300 at the time. What I really liked about the kit was the metal enclosure with all the electronics tucked away safely (working with kids). I have modified mine. I put in some longer y-axis rails and a longer GT2 belt, and beefed up the bed support plate and added a larger glass bed (250mm x 400mm). The JGAurora has a 270mm height with my new bed arrangement. I just glued the first layer of a printed boarder to the glass and printed a frame that surrounds the old bed, so the glass just sits on top with a tight fit. The downsize is that the heated bed is still the original size and only heats the center of the now larger build plate. I have bought a larger heated bed, I just have not made the time to get it installed. Getting back to the 3-IN-1 design. The hardest part so far has been the need for a control board that supports 6 stepper motors. They exist and are getting cheaper, but I am trying something new. I have been looking into using I2C with a standard buss. Two heavy duty power wires for powering the motors and a 4wire buss (GROVE) to deal with the I2C control communications. I want an I2C control module for the hot bed as well, then the controller can be any micro with I2C communications. I am planning to use my Raspberry Pi 3+. The I2C stepper controllers are under $25 and the bed I2C control is around $15 so that puts all the control under $250 including the Raspberry Pi and a beefy power supply. With mass production, this cost can be halved. So, having hardware almost done, I am thinking about software. Converting what is out there now to run on a Pi and communicate via I2C to all the components should not be all that hard. Getting models sliced for full color printing will be a bit tougher. First I need a file that supports full color information for every triangle point in the model that will be seeable from the outside of the model. When printing with clear filaments, this will also include the inside of the models needing color and detail information. I am theorizing Composite Color Stl files (CCS). This is all new ground for me. I have taught myself Java, C++, C#, and am starting on Python now. My formal training was with Fortran in the mid 80's. If you know of any individuals that might be interested in assisting with some of this, I would be willing to share and collaborate.
  5. I had the connector to my hot bed start to melt. I caught it before it got too bad thanks to having recalled your experience. Thanks for the intel and insight! I have been working on a solution to tall dams not being able to use fish ladders. I have come up with a new type of fish passage. Anyone have any knowledge about international patents?
  6. Thanks for the ongoing conversation. I think that if you are going to purchase replacement boards for printers you have already, you should consider buying boards that support 6 steppers. I think the 3-IN-1 hot end is going to become a standard in the future when support for drawing and slicing color 3-D models is common. If you add support for those extra two extruders now, installation of the three color hot end will be pretty simple. I am curious to hear how well the FT-i3 works. I have always thought that the builds with the z-axis stepper motors on top have more sway because of the excessive weight that is so far up. The biggest problem that I see with the moving bed y-axis style of machines for large sizes is the amount of inertia that such a large table has, especially if you slap a glass plate on top. This means that you have to slow the print speed down, and that really delicate models are impossible to print (too much shaking of the model). When you get the ACM bed installed, please post some pictures and evaluation notes... I am always trying to find out what options work best. I have not heard of the EZABL auto leveling add on yet, I will check it out. Does the auto leveling add to print time significantly or only on the first layer? If your print bed is warped, does it level the print to three points on the bed and then print the bottom flat, bridging the low spots, or does it print a warped support layer that adheres to the bed everywhere and establishes a level layer for the print to be constructed upon? Maybe it just warps the bottom layer of the print to conform to the warped bed??? I prefer to print on a glass bed. The glass is so level that it is easy to get the print head aligned perfectly with the surface of the glass. To achieve good adhesion, I like to use common glue stick diluted with water and spread very thin on the glass. On prints that are likely to warp, I add a drop of superglue at the corners after the first layer has printed. After the bed has cooled, it all pops off really easily. Have you tried any of the flexible magnetic bed mats? It seems that they would be simple to use and effective, once the metal print surface is installed. The down side being the weight of a metal table over that of an aluminum one. Monday I started a robotics project that should be fun... I am building a robot that retrieves tennis balls. Hopefully, a couple of the students from my robotics club course that I coordinate, will help with the software creation and troubleshooting. It only took an hour to build the first version of the robot using a Lego EV3 kit.
  7. I too wanted a bigger print size for some of my projects. My solution was to take my $300 JGAurora and add a thicker aluminum bed support, then I put in 500mm long, 8mm rods for the y-axis with threaded rod extensions through the use of coupling nuts and m8 x 80 hex head bolts (4 each), then re-connected the bed and y-axis motor with a new, longer GT2 belt. I then put a 250 mm x 400 mm x 3 mm piece of Borosilicate Glass on top of the heated bed (after recessing new bevel head leveling bolts into the surface of the heated bed). I super glued aluminum strips to the underside of the glass to frame the build plate as an easy way to keep the glass in place but have it still just lift off. I then loaded new values for the print size followed by a new home offset position and re-flashed the board with the updated software. Now my JGAurora has a build size of 9" x 13.5" x 7.8" and it only cost around $50 for the parts. My next upgrade will be to add a larger hotbed under the glass so the whole print surface will be heated rather than just the center 8" x 8" (approx. cost will be $19). I am playing around with a 3-IN-1 hot end and 3 extruders added to a board with control of 6 steppers to create a full color 3-D printer that I am hoping will have a print size of 480 mm x 480 mm x 350 mm. I am trying to build it in such a way as to be able to set the printer on any surface and have it print directly onto that surface. I hope to be able to print images in tiles by moving the printer on the surface, thus producing prints of any X-Y size on any suitable substrate, in full color. I might even be able to tile in the Z axis by having the print contain support pads for the printer to sit on so another print can be made on top of the first print in those areas that have height greater than the 350 mm capability of the z-axis.
  8. Thank you for the advice on finding volunteers. I hope you will find SoloLearn.com a useful reference. Another idea for 3-D printing without a lot of cost is to check out the maker spaces in your area. The local teen center in my town has an Ultimaker2 that is available for about 4 days a month. They have a FormsLab as well, but it is far more expensive to use. I think the tool I use the most, though, is the 50 watt laser cutter.
  9. Repurposing is fun. I used a 1/2 watt laser with an old print3rbot simple to do laser engraving on wood. It worked quite well. I am currently fooling around with a 3-IN-1 hot end. I am designing a whole new printer around it. Has anyone forayed into this area yet? I am really interested in doing full color printing in 3-D.
  10. So,... I am just curious as to how you have five 3-D printers when you "don't have a huge toy budget". I could see if you started out with a cheap printer, saved and bought a nicer cheap printer, made upgrades and finally saved enough to buy an Ultimaker. That would make sense to me. But why would you spend your limited resources on cheap printers when you already have not just one, but two Ultimakers?
  11. After replacing the nozzle, did you recalibrate your z-axis zero setting to the print bed surface? The old tip was probably worn away and the new tip is therefore much longer. This could account for it's "tearing away at the first layer". After the first layer, it should have raised up a consistent amount from the height of the first layer that the second layer should print with the proper layer thickness. The only other idea that I can think of is that maybe the new nozzle has a sharp leading edge inside where the filament feeds into it. Maybe this is causing the filament to catch and jam inside the hot end, thus restricting the flow of filament from being consistent. As I wrote the last comment, I thought of another possibility, though less likely. Maybe there is a gap between the end of the new tip and the heat break tube (that should be tight against it). This maybe is also causing inconsistent flow and maybe even introducing air bubbles into the filament stream. Did you tighten the heat break tube against the end of the nozzle after tightening the nozzle all the way into the heater block? Then reset the clearance to the bed again, as this will change the length of the hot end.
  12. I teach kids as a volunteer for a First Lego League Robotics Club. This year we assembled a 3-D printer and donated it to the school so it would be available to all the students for use, not just the club. My approach to teaching the 5th - 8th graders how to draw 3-D models also included learning how to code in JAVA. It turned out that using the free OpenJscad.com browser to teach 3-D drawing was a great introduction and preparation for learning more advanced work in JAVA. The most noticeable benefit was the instant gratification of being able to write code for each item and see it added to the model by rendering often. The instant clarification that there was a problem with the code just as soon as that problem was introduced, was super helpful. It allowed the kids to figure out when they made a mistake and what it was that they typed incorrectly. The printer that we purchased for the club was a JGAurora for under $300. Yes, this is not the best printer out there, but it is safe (everything is behind a metal case) and it prints reasonably well. I thought the experience of assembling the printer with the class of 30 kids was a great experience for them. They learned about all the components of the printer, and understand better the reason for some of the limitations that exist in 3-D model designing. I would be telling tales if I were to say that I wouldn't like to have an Ultimaker2+ for the kids to use, but there is no possible way that our small robotics club could possibly afford one. Starting out with an inexpensive printer is not without it's frustrations, but those frustrations can also be seen as good lessons. A lot of learning can be accomplished by overcoming problems (shortcomings in the printer) and extra skills can be developed thru learning ways to circumnavigate those impediments. I wish you great success! It looks like you have an ample supply of mentors in your program. That is an area that I am having trouble finding support. Any suggestions would be welcomed. Another free learning resource that I have successfully used is SoloLearn.com for very nicely done training in programming basics. They cover most of all the modern languages.
  13. Regular edits with search and replace has sped up the process considerably. Thank you for taking the time to send me your suggestion. I am considering writing a plug in to eliminate the editing for all future projects, but I don't have the time to go down that road right now.
  14. I am using code to turn my laser on and off but need a way to get Cura to insert the code at the appropriate times. I have been hand editing the g-code and inserting the code by hand which is getting tedious! Each time I want the laser to turn off I put this code in: G4 P0050 ; Pauses for 50 ms. This makes sure that the last move command executes before the laser turns off. M104 S0 T2 ; Sets the #3 extruder heater output to off. G0 Xnnn Ynnn ; General command for a non-printing move. Each time I want the laser back on: G4 P0050 ; pause M104 S50 T2 ; Sets temp above threashold so it activates Laser to turn on. G4 P0500 ; pauses a short 50ms so Laser can get fully turned on Thanks! Alex .
  15. It is easy to add a wait G4 Pnnn ;(milliseconds) or G4 Snnn ;(seconds) at the point in the code where you want to change colors. Then it will stop for a color change and automatically continue when the time expires.
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