HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Check here for instructions and tips on how to operate your printer.

HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby justdon » Sat May 24, 2014 6:59 pm

So I got my kit, put it together, but have no clue what to do next. I just want to start printing. I've gone through the forum looking for help, instructions on how to get started, anything. All I know is that you need to slice an stl file and generate a gcode from that.

I have downloaded Repetier Host....and have no clue how to operate it. Ive a bunch of commands waiting and for some reason it wont run prints.

Ive tried putting a gcode on the sd card, put it the printer and it said...card inserted but nothing happens. When I went to the menu and it says...No Card :?:

How do you feed the extruder filament???

Can someone PLEASE!!! post steps on how to begin printing after you've finished building the printer. Or even post create a video. Im new to 3d printing and feel like a fish out of water.

Someone help :( :( :(
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby RPz376 » Sat May 24, 2014 9:15 pm

I agree it can be a bit tough to get everything working so you are able to print the first time out.

To feed the filament into the hotend, press down the control knob next to the lcd screen once, which brings up several submenu headers on the screen. Turn the knob until the pointer is next to Prepare and press the knob again. Additional choices will be listed - turn the knob until the pointer is next to Preheat PLA and press the knob again. The hotend will start heating. Once it reaches 200, you will be able to thread the filament through the lever arm above the knurled extruder stepper drive wheel and into the entry hole on top of the hotend. You'll have to squeeze the lever arm down with your fingers to open the gap between the drive wheel and the idler bearing large enough to insert the filament between them. With the hotend at temp, you should be able to manually push the filament through until it extrudes out the tip. I suggest raising the extruder a couple of inches off the bed before feeding the filament the first time. (Prepare, move axis, 1mm, z axis, turn knob to move)

The No Card error seems to show up every once in a while. On my machine, I typically just take the card out and try again. Occasionally I need to unplug the printer and plug in again. Make sure you insert the SD card with the contacts up. There could be other causes, but I have never experienced them.

Repetier Host works well to position and scale your .stl files before slicing. If you want to control your printer using the Repetier Host , you will need to download and install arduino drivers before your computer will recognize your printer when connected via USB. You will also need to config Repetier and type the correct build space dimensions for the gMax.

Gordon has recently posted updated slic3r configurations on the gmaxprinter download page. I recommend you use those if you haven't already. You can easily import the print, filament and printer config files into slic3r, then you can pick the ones you wish to use each time you slice and generate the .gcode (or .gco) file for your print.

You will likely need to adjust the pots on the stepper motor drivers when you get started. There is plenty written about that already in the manual and the forum.

I would recommend using blue painters tape to cover the bed to get started. PLA sticks reasonably well to the tape (I suggest Scotch brand rather than Home Depot's HDX brand). Pulling your print off the tape is much easier than scraping it off the acrylic and you don't have to sand. I use a utility knife blade (just the blade) to assist getting the print to lift off and to clean up the tape.
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby raykholo » Sat May 24, 2014 11:18 pm

One quick add since I'm the guy advocating Repetier-host:

You might be having issues getting the printer talking to the computer/ program.

Go into "Printer Settings", a button in the upper right corner. In the Port row, press 'Refresh Ports' and then select COM# from the drop down. # should be small like 1 - 4.

Baud Rate needs to be 250000.

Then make sure Reset on Connect is "DTR low>high>low.

That's the major thing to be aware of ^^. Hit Apply, OK, and then press connect in the upper left. Wait a few seconds, this icon should turn green to disconnect, and then you should be connected.

On the right side, there is a manual control tab, go in there and use some arrows to move the printer around. This should verify movement.

Go back to printer settings, Printer Shape tab, and make X Max 400, Y Max 400, Print Area Width 400, Print Area Depth 400, and Print Area Height 228.
Leave everything else alone as Min or 0. Once again, Apply, OK, and you should be on your way.

RPz gave good advice on everything else. Follow his instructions starting with Repetier configuration, defer to my post above for the specifics, and let us know how we fellow community members can help more once you work through all that as best you can. Best of luck!
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby Don Bedwell » Mon May 26, 2014 9:35 am

I agree with needing help.

I also have the machine built but what do I do now?

I want/need a EASY to follow, STEP BY STEP for a ROOKIE. Yes we have configurations so using them, if I do this step by step, I should get something. I CAN POLISH the product later.

Jordon, many of us has paid a lot of money, PLEASE HELP US NOW.

Don Bedwell
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby justdon » Mon May 26, 2014 5:42 pm

raykholo wrote:One quick add since I'm the guy advocating Repetier-host:

You might be having issues getting the printer talking to the computer/ program.

Go into "Printer Settings", a button in the upper right corner. In the Port row, press 'Refresh Ports' and then select COM# from the drop down. # should be small like 1 - 4.

Then make sure Reset on Connect is "DTR low>high>low.



So i kinda got it working thanks to @Raykholo and @RPz376....but im 100% sure its not working the way it should.

First...@Raykholo I tried to follow the directions above that you gave but the Repetier Host that I have for some reason doesn't have some of the things such as Port row, refresh ports, COM# ect. Though somehow it does seem to connect becuz it says "Connected" in green. But i still haven't gotten Repetier to work/control the printer. For now im using Slic3r alone but eventually it would be nice to control it with my Macbook instead of just using the SD card.
Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.43.48 PM.png
@Raykholo What my Repetier Host print settings look like.
Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.43.48 PM.png (199.06 KiB) Viewed 4214 times


Next...@RPz376 thanks to your directions i was able to feed the extruder and got the SD card to read and because of that...i got it to try to print. However I did try to download the drivers you described but I wasnt sure which driver to download since there was more than one option.

The problem I'm having now is a layer shift. At first I was having a problem with the y-axis shifting during the print. This turned out to be too much power going to the motor once i turned that down a bit it began to print properly somewhat. The BIG problem is that once it reaches a certain height it begins to shift back and forth like a deck of cards...I don't think its the same problem that i was having with the motor becuz to start out it prints fine until it hits around a half a inch in height.
DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS???????
Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.38.43 PM.png
problem Im getting
Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.38.43 PM.png (243.66 KiB) Viewed 4214 times

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.33.01 PM.png
what it should look like
Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 6.33.01 PM.png (57.63 KiB) Viewed 4214 times


WE DO NEED some kind of formal instructions or a video showing how to opperate the printer because unless you have some prior knowledge of 3d printing were left stranded and it would be nice to not just build the printer but to actually print something to get going.

Thank to @Raykholo and @RPz376 for the help you've provided so far. Any additional help and instructions anyone can/willing to provide to your fellow Gmax-ers is VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! :D




To @Don Bedwell and everyone else wanting some kind of guidance to get your expensive piece of machinery going...the following is how I got my printer printing.

00. You need to feed the extruder the filament. Preheat the extruder by going Prepare> Preheat PLA or ABS which ever your using. Press down the spring arm on the extruder and feed the filament through hole on the spring arm, between the feed wheels and down the cylinder. Since its preheated when feeding the filament it may come out through the extruder.

1. Your going to need something to print. So to achieve this you can create an object with a 3d design software such as Sketch Up,Auto Cad, Blender ect. (there are many more which can be found here http://www.3ders.org/3d-software/3d-software-list.html) or you can go the easy route and download a 3d object from http://www.thingiverse.com

2. Once you have your 3d object, your going to need to slice it up. This is going to require a program like Slic3r which can be downloaded here http://slic3r.org/

3. Now that you have downloaded and installed Slic3r. Open it and you should see a grid that say "Drag your objects here"... Drag and drop the 3d object you created or downloaded which should be a .STL file.
You should see your object that you've brought in, at an birds eye view.

4. Before you do anything else you NEED to set the configurations for your printer. Those can be found in the manual or downloaded from the download page on the gmax site http://www.gmaxprinter.com/?page_id=146 (find and install the latest slic3r configurations) If your going off of your build manual you need to type in manually in the "Print Settings, Filament Settings, Printer Settings". If you download the configurations (which is the easiest route) go to File>Load Config...locate the download configurations which may have to be unzipped. Then choose to open the configurations that best describes the printer you have.

5. Once you have all the configurations set you can now choose to Export Gcode. Connect the SD card to your computer and save the Gcode file to the SD card. *I didn't the Gcode into a folder.*

6. Take the SD card place it into the side of the LCD screen on the printer connections facing up. When inserted corrected the LCD should say "Card Inserted" Press the button on the LCD (may be an actual button or you may just need to gently press the turn nob depending on which printer you have) Once in the menu Scroll down by turning the nob and you should see Print from SD (if you don't try taking out the card and reinserting it or turning your printer on and off) Select Print from SD and then select the file of the object you want to print.

7. Once the file is selected the printer should begin homing and the LCD screen will say "Heating" when its finished heating it will begin to print!
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby RPz376 » Mon May 26, 2014 9:15 pm

Based on my experience, I believe you still have some adjustment to do on the stepper drivers. You may be able to tell whether it is x or y based on how you had the Makerbot Robot oriented on the bed. I haven't had good luck controlling the extruder head in the x and y directions from the knob next to the LCD screen (my printer prints fine from gcode, but if I move the extruder head 200 mm per the LCD screen, it moves about 400 mm in reality,) so I suggest printing a test cube (here's one from thingiverse.com - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:271736 ) and make the adjustments as you print.

I initially printed a couple of those robots as well, and then went for a scaled up spiral light bulb as my third print to test some limits. I was amazed/surprised that it printed, as I expected the overhangs would be its downfall. It needed some cleanup, and wasn't the smoothest print, but it closed itself when it got to the top. (Lousy photo below)

You may find that you get a higher quality finish if you have a desk fan blowing across the print bed - I recommend turning it on after the first layer or two has been laid down, however, or else the filament may cool too fast and not stick to the bed. I didn't use a fan with the lightbulb.

Leveling the print bed in relation to the extruder is the most important, and probably time consuming, task that you will have to do. Initially, it is relatively easy to get a small area of the bed at the right elevation. The difficulty comes with trying to get the entire bed to be level if you want to print larger objects - which is probably why you bought the gMax to begin with. There is plenty written on the RepRap forums about bed leveling, as well as here on the gMax forum, and there are bed leveling prints that can be downloaded from Thingiverse.com and scaled up for the gMax bed size. I flipped my wingnuts and bed bolts over so that the wing nuts are below the bed rather than on top. That keeps the cables hanging off the extruder from catching on the wings.
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby RPz376 » Mon May 26, 2014 9:22 pm

For your question regarding the Slic3r configuration files, they are prepared for running Slic3r in Expert mode. When you start the program, go to File/Preferences and select Expert Mode, rather than Simple. Then restart the program. In expert mode, you will be able to choose different configurations for the print, filament and printer settings.

Once you get your bed leveled, then the next thing you will spend all your time on is tweaking the slicing configurations to match your model, your filament and the quality/time you have to spend on the print. One size definitely doesn't fit all if you want great prints. And even just changing the color of the filament may have a noticeable effect on the print.
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby SEBASTIAN.BETANCUR » Mon May 26, 2014 9:58 pm

Justdon that looks like the pots are turned a tad low, but i can't tell in which orientation that was sliced so i can't tell you which exactly is off. If the robot was to be printer facing the from of the printer or the back it was you Y pot. I fit was supposed to be printed facing one of the sides its your X. To adjust just take a screwdriver and find the pot for the corresponding axis and turn clockwise approximately a 1/8 turn. Adjust like this until you get layering that does not shift like that.
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby raykholo » Tue May 27, 2014 9:26 am

Regarding the Repetier config, change baud rate to 250000 and try again. This should resolve the commands waiting issue. Let me know how that goes.

Also, grab a straightedge and make sure that your acrylic bed is actually flat. My workaround for the flex was to go to home depot and have them cut me an 18.25" square of 1/2" MDF from a 2' x 4' sheet. That was $10 well spent. I used the acrylic bed to line up and drill the holes.
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Re: HOW DO YOU USE THIS THING????

Postby justdon » Tue May 27, 2014 1:26 pm

:x :( :cry: no matter how little I turn this y axis potentiometer clockwise or counter clockwise my prints still print weird. I turn it just slightly to the left, and the belt starts skipping. Slightly to the right...the print is layers are off. I don't get it :cry: :cry: :cry: is there something in the configuration that could cause this or a way to connect a multimeter to the pot so I can tune it off of that?
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