Sunday, February 22, 2015

Replikeo Prusa i3 Rework Build - Part 3: Wiring and Software Setup

Part 3 will cover my wiring of the Replikeo Prusa i3 Rework (mostly following the wiki page). Then I will cover my setup of the Repetier Firmware. I'll save first prints for Part 4. If you are interested in the unboxing and assembly see Part 1 and Part 2 respectively.


"Completed" Wiring

As the wiki page already has a very complete set of instructions on wiring, I will refrain from giving a step-by-step description of the procedure. I will instead clarify a few points that caused me a bit of confusion or could cause confusion.

1) The Arduino does indeed mount in the holes shown on the wiki page. The USB port points down. I initially could not manage to get the holes lined up, but they eventually cooperated.

2) The endstops as wired in the picture are connected to the min endstop pin. That doesn't really matter right now, but you will need to know that when you go to setup the firmware.

3) On the power supply L=Line, N=Neutral, and G= Ground. I used a multimeter to find out which wire goes to which pin. If you live in Tennessee you should have about 120 VAC across the line and neutral. Be sure you change the switch on the power supply to 110V mode.

4) When wiring the motors you can plug both Z motors into the ramps board. There are (quite conveniently) two headers there. You don't have to have an external combining pcb as shown in the picture on the wiki.

5) I used the fan that came with the Replikeo kit as an extruder cooling fan, not a "Print Fan". As such, I did not connect it to D9. This required that I crimp on an old servo connector I had to attach it to the extruder fan pins. These are just a 12V breakout. Whenever you plug your printer in, it is going to come on.

Ramps 1.4 Pinout


I am using the Repetier Firmware with Repetier Host and Slic3r. Repetier has a very convenient web setup tool. It really wasn't all that difficult and was pretty helpful in figuring out how things worked, but if you are having problems and want to try the firmware I am using download mine HERE. Just upload the configuration.h file and see what's going on. One thing to remember, some of the settings may be getting set in EEPROM. This means you will need to update them from Repetier Host. It's under the Config tab. 

In Repetier Host, be sure to input all the correct Printer Settings. For instance I have a max x endstop and the other two are mins. And my bed is actually 190x170. If you follow the installation instructions on Repetier's website you should be fine.

In Slic3r for the ABS that was included with the kit a lot of the default settings work fairly well. For the filament settings my diameter measured to be about 1.73mm and I print at 230 for the first layer and 215 for the rest. Bed is at 100. I also had some success starting the bed at 100 then dropping it to 85. I have not been able to calibrate the thermistor yet, so I can't be verify that those are the actual temperatures. But those settings work for me.

Now the fun part begins, You get to go play and test things. I doubt very many people will read this and use it as a guide to assembling their printers. However, if you are trying to decide if this is the printer for you, I can confirm that the wiring and software is equally simple. A few hours and I had it working.

That's all for part 3. In part 4 I will show some pictures of my "completed" printer and the modifications I made. Some of them are good. Some of them still require work.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Replikeo Prusa i3 Rework Build - Part 2: Assembly

Part 2 will describe the process of building my Replikeo Prusa i3 Rework. Having already taken inventory in part 1, I will continue following the wiki instructions with Y-axis assembly. Below are the pictures from the build.

Y axis assembly

Y axis assembly with carriage

X and Y axis assemblies

X, Y, and Z axis assemblies

Z Steppers added

Attach uprights to base and add X,Y steppers

I don't remember having any serious problems with this portion of the build. I was able to put what you see above together in a few hours. Some screws were too long as I had seen documented elsewhere. I just put some extra washers underneath them. On the z-axis threaded rods, the nuts did not fit snuggly into their housings, so I added a drop of hot glue to each. Other than that, I pretty much followed the instructions. Next was the extruder assembly.

The extruder assembly required a little teasing. It is worth noting that this is the only printed part that is included in the kit. As such, some trimming of support material was required. I was not overly impressed by the print quality. I plan to print a replacement at some point and expect mine to come out much better. The biggest problem was that the hole for the j-head was not round. Luckily the j-head is almost exactly the same diameter as the drum sander attachment on a dremel tool. A bit of sanding and it was good to go. Below are some pictures.

Assembly before stepper

J-head hole enlarged
Hot glue added to keep bearing in place

Fully assembled extruder before stepper

At this point the only things left to do were add the heated bed and wire everything up. Wiring will be in part 3, but I will put the heated bed pictures here. I debated for a while how to best attach the thermistor. Eventually I ended up using silicone sealant and some kapton tape I had. The wide kapton was not included in the kit, but many smaller pieces of the stuff included in the kit could be used if that is all you have. In the end, the silicone did nothing. I would just leave that off.
Thermistor included in the kit. Wires are presoldered and heatshrinked

Thermistor taped to heatbed

Printer ready to be wired
Its worth noting that I used springs to support the heated bed instead of washers like in the wiki instructions. I think it's fairly obvious how to do this; the springs are included in the kit.

At this point the only wiki page left is Electronics and Wiring. Part 3 will address wiring and initial software setup.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Replikeo Prusa i3 Rework Build - Part 1: Unboxing

About a month ago I decided to build a 3D printer. This only left me with the task of deciding what kind of printer to build. While I had dealt with the Makerbot we have at school, I did not want to shell out that kind of money for a prebuilt, so I decided to go the RepRap route. After consulting with a friend that has a RepRap and searching around online, I came up with a few options to decide between.

Eventually those options narrowed to two. I would either build an OB1.4 printer. Or I would buy a full Prusa i3 rework kit. With Christmas break fast approaching and not wanting to forget a screw and have to wait until next semester I decided to go with the full kit from Replikeo. At the time I couldn't find too many reviews on it, so I decided now that I have it up and running I would post a few things about how it went. I would encourage others that buy the printer to do the same.

Long Story - Short 

I would recommend this kit to anyone with a little electronics and mechanical knowledge (the basic knowledge needed to build any RepRap). I got it up and running in about 4 days. Maybe 25ish hours. While I have some improvements planned, it had everything I needed to get it going. I really like the injection molded parts. The electronics look genuine. I am glad I purchased the kit instead of sourcing my own.

Long Story - Long

I ordered the "iron" 1.75mm Replikeo kit for $350. Shipping from wherever to my house in Southern Tennessee (USA) was $90. Addtionally I ordered $23 of Hatchbox PLA filament from Amazon and a Full Graphic Smart Controller from Ebay for $25. Everything came for less than $500. 

Shipping took exactly how long they said it would. 3-5 days via DHL. I think I got mine in 5 days including a weekend. Mine was not beaten up like another post I saw. I was irritated that there was no parts list but HERE is the wiki page. Now here are some unboxing pictures.
All my purchases together. Replikeo box is one the right.
Removed from the cardboard
Top removed exposing the frame
Steppers and Power Supply
ABS filament, electronics (in cardboard box), and rods protected below.
Threaded rods and smooth rods protected in packaging

I thought this was interesting. Apparently this kit was made just for me (that is my name).
Hardware and Electronics removed.
Electronics in anti-static packaging
All small parts laid out.

After getting it unboxed I took inventory of all the parts. While I did not bother to count all the small screws I estimated that I had enough of each. All the electronics were included. The one thing I would recommend is getting a longer USB A-> B Cable. The one included is tiny and inconvenient. I had one sitting around from my Arduino projects. The Arduino appears to be a "real" Arduino (or else a pretty good clone).

The injection molded parts are really nice. I don't see any of them breaking anytime soon, and it makes assembly very easy. While I would probably have used higher gauge wire on some components I am more or less pleased with it. The heated bed works well and the carbon fiber build plate is working well so far.

That is all I have for the unboxing section. Look for the next part (HERE) soon when I post pictures of the build.