Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Hains" Prusa Mendel RepRap: Printing!

On schedule, the machine is now printing. The first attempt, as you'll see, wasn't perfect. It was, however, much better than anticipated. I'd been told that especially because of my nozzle selection, starting to print would be particularly difficult. But it worked. In the video I sound somewhat less enthusiastic than the results ultimately warranted, but I really was quite proud of the outcome.

Blue tape goes on to the print bed. Then I put some kind of catch for the leaking plastic, usually I use newspaper, while I heat the nozzle. I clear the nozzle of plastic and load the file into the printer host, called Pronterface. When I hit "print" the nozzle goes to "home" on all three axis, and then moves to the print area. There it goes through its routine until finished, at which point the nozzle is retracted a little bit. I then have to move the Y axis back to home and move the nozzle up a little more.

Peel the part off the blue tape, and there you have it. Looks like hell, but as first prints go it is actually very good, I'm told. It's supposed to be a mustache ring. It's called the Movember Ring and I downloaded it from Thingiverse to be printed on my machine. It's supposed to be a good calibration print because it has something round for judging geometry and something detailed to determine resolution.

Last night I succeeded at recalibrating the machine to produce some better results and changed over to a more simple object, a 1cm high and 2cm around cylinder. The first attempt was somewhat successful (pictured above), but a second try with a little tweak to get the nozzle up off the bed a little before printing started, that helped a lot and I got my best print yet (pictured at top.)

I've started live-streaming much of the activity with the RepRap. You can sometimes catch me live at my UStream channel. You can also follow me on Twitter and I post there when I'm about to start.

So three cheers. I'm printing! Soon I'll have it dialed in and will start printing parts for a child machine (i.e., another machine made by the first.)

But tomorrow I go to GenCon! Next few blog posts will be about that.

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