MKS Base V1.5 E1 extruding too fast

The MKS Base V1.5 is a great little board for a discount 3D print controller however I ran into one problem that had me stumped for a while so I’m passing on my solution for getting the second extruder functioning correctly.

Issue: When attempting to configure the MKS board to use a second extruder  I found that it was extruding almost 8 times as much as the E0 extruder. I attempted to configure Marlin to us a smaller number of steps for the E1 extruder but that didn’t resolve the issue.

Problem: When flashing the firmware to the board I reviewed a bunch of posts that suggested that the MKS Base V1.5 was like the Ramps 1.3 or Ranps 1.4 board and to be fair when working with a single extruder it really seems to be.  So when configuring Marlin I attempted to use the BOARD_RAMPS_13_EEB and BOARD_RAMPS_14_EEB but neither one would fix the issue.

Solution: Ok this gets a little weird because the fix seems unrelated to the problem but the solution is to change the pins config file for whichever ramps you are using. Just go to that file in Marlin and search for the pin names and change –

#define HEATER_1_PIN 7

#define FAN_PIN 9

I know that seems counter intuitive to fix the issue but I’m guessing the heater_1_Pin setting must somehow be used by the code to determine if the microsetps should be set to 16 on the E1 extruder.





Review of Taulman 645 Nylon Filament

I spent some time working with Taulman’s 645 Nylon filament over the last several days and I thought I’d give my two cents. First, for small strong small parts it has real potential I printed some incredibly strong parts. I extruded out a 245C and kept my bed at 70C. I tried painters tape, glue stick and Kapton tape and for me strait Kapton tape worked best. My biggest issue in fact was the print was really difficult to remove from the bed, I actually broke one of my glass plates getting a print off. Now I hope you recognized that I clarified that I had great success with small parts because in all my attempts to print larger more complicated models I encountered failure. Simply put I could not stop the model from warping once the model was a larger size. I tried temperature, infill, skirt, print speed, outer wall size and nothing could stop the warping. So in a nutshell if you need small strong parts like nylon washers or rod clamps it’s about the best filament out there but for large models you might need to look elsewhere.

RepRapWeb VS OctoPrint as it relates to Raspberry Pi

I have Now installed and had a chance to review Both OctoPrint and RepRapWeb browser based 3d printer controllers installed on a Rasperry PI. One thing I want to make clear before I start is this is not an evaluation of slicing tools of which each tool comes with at least one. Since slicing is a time consuming process with larger models I found a Raspberry PI and it’s small CPU was just not the place to get that done.

So for now here is what I found, RepRapWeb is a cool new tool in the field, written entirely in Node.js for both client and server it’s a really great work in progress for building a controller but its really not ready for “Prime time”. As of this article, although it looks in the YouTube video that there is a integrated video component it does not have one yet; that is still in the works. So with no integrated video there is also no option for time laps videos either. The lack of integrated video was the show stopper for me as a web based controllers strength in my book is the ability to start a 3D print and then leave the 3D printer, checking it from your cell phone every once in a while to make sure something did not screw up. I know you could run a separate video feed on the Raspberry pi but I was looking for something I could view from my office and the company firewall only lets in port 80, so everything coming through that one port is a must. Another issue is the lack of security at the moment in the RepRapWeb, it completely open right now. OctoPrint on the other hand has a sign on, role based model in place to control the 3D printer.

The long and short of it is RepRapWeb has a great deal of potential if your hosting the application on a PC to use as a 3D print controller but right now as a Raspberry PI solution to control your printer remotely it still has a little ways to go. Id stick with OctoPrint.

Using applications on home U-Verse network from the internet

First, this is really easy to set up and since its U-Verse you already have a static IP address that comes with the U-Verse router/server.

1) Step one, Get your external network IP address.  just type http://www.myipaddress.com/ in your browser and you get that.

2) You need to open the firewall for just the app you want. Any app you make available will be just a port on the external IP address. As an example my application which is on the default port 80 of an internal local server is set up as port 8091 of my external IP so I reach it with http://108.239.84.72:8091

a)  Go to U-Verse control panel by typing http://192.168.1.254 in you browser

b) In the top tabs select “settings”

c) Under settings select tap for “Firewall”

d) Select the top bar option of “Applications, Pinholes and DMZ”. You should see select a computer as step 1 and edit firewall as step 2. We are going to the step 2 first.

e) Near the bottom of page click “Add a new user-defined application”

f) This part is really strait forward –

i) give it a simple application name

ii) keep protocol on TCP

iii) Port range should is just the port where the application delivers the content in you local network. In a normal web server that’s 80 so the values for both is the number 80.

iv) Leave timeout empty

v) Map to host Port is just whatever you want it to be but remember that is the port your external access is going to be using, I used 8091.

vi) leave the application type blank.

vii) hit add to list

vii) select the back button. You should now be back at the select a computer page.

g)  Select you internal server by name or type it’s IP if you have a static on setup

h) down below select “Allow individual applications”

g) back at the edit firewall you can now see your new application in the list. Just move it over to hosted applications using add and your done.

OK that’s it you should now be able to test it using something from outside you local wifi network.

Setting up you RepRapWeb Raspberry pi b+ instance

Once you have a working IMG of the RepRapWeb application on your Raspberry PI you probably want to get it tricked out so you can get to controlling your 3D printer. This is a short description of what I did…

When login on to your image the login / password is not your standard one, it’s pi / raspbian. After the image was created I connected it to the network by hardwire to setup my static IP and WIFI. I used a “EDIMAX wireless 802.11 nano USB Adapter” and that worked great for me. Here is the link I used as a reference http://raspberrypihq.com/how-to-add-wifi-to-the-raspberry-pi/

My interfaces file looks like this and my static ip is 192.168.1.97

just run “sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces” make the changes and your ready to disconnect you hard connection.

_______________________________________________________________

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback

iface eth0 inet static

address 192.168.1.97

netmask 255.255.255.0

network 192.168.0.0

broadcast 192.168.1.255

gateway 192.168.1.0

auto wlan0

allow-hotplug wlan0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp

wpa-ssid “wifiname”

wpa-psk “password”

________________________________________________________________

OK my next step was streaming video because lets face it you need to see what your doing. This takes a little while but the directions I found are great. Just go to http://jacobsalmela.com/raspberry-pi-webcam-using-mjpg-streamer-over-internet/ and follow those instructions. You want to follow the instructions to set it up as a service.

** A little disclaimer at this point, as if this writing the reprapweb application does not have a video feed embedded in it. I talked to Andrew and he said he’s working on that now and it should be done soon. Until then you have to run a separate browser window for your video streaming. Not a big deal as mjpg_streamer has a default stream running on port 8080 so once your set up it’s a snap to use.

First thoughts on installing and configuring 3D printer Web Controller REPRAPWEB

I’m beginning my install and configurations of a new 3D printing web based controller from XYZBots and wanted to pass on a few things. This controller is pretty strait forward but it sits on a Raspberry PI b+ controller and having never set on up before I ran into a couple of things. First, Make sure you follow the direction on the software site REPRAPWEB when setting things up or like me when you first plug in your board you’ll get nothing but two solid lights on your board, one green and the other red. The issue is if the image you placed on the SD Micro card is not correct you get nothing and that includes nothing on the video to even tell you what is wrong. Below are my steps to get a functional image on the Raspberry pi b+. You’ll know you’ve got a good image as the red light on the board stays red and the green light flashes as it accesses the card.

1) Run “sudo fdisk -l”. Look at what is returned and then plug in SD Micro card and run again, you’ll see the new device name. Mine was.

“Device    Boot  Start End   Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 8192 62333951 31162880 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)”

2) Format the card with FAT32, I downloaded GParted app using Ubuntu Software center.

3) Download the latest image from software site REPRAPWEB. I took the image, I might play with the source some day but it won’t be today.

4) Unzip the Download into directory and go to it.

** before I go further you need to remember two things. First, be careful you run dd command against wrong device you will be in a world of hurt. Second, in the directions on the software download site it explains that Raspberry Pi for this install does not use partitions. If you just use the device name you found in step 1 without modifying it and push the image across it will install on the SD micro card but Raspberry pi will not function.

5) to install the code to the SD Micro card run the following. Obviously you need to use the right image name if it’s changed. What is most important is my Step 1 command returned and device of “/dev/sdc1” but my “of” parameter below only uses “/dev/sdc”. The reason for that is removing the last number from the device copies the code in one partition. Also an FYI is this stuff is case sensitive the “M” in the bs=4M needs to be capitalized, found that out the hard way.

sudo dd if=reprapweb-2014-09-09-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/sdc bs=4M

The command takes a while but once it completes you can plug in the SD Micro card to you raspberry and your good to go.

Thoughts on NinjaFlex filament

Experimenting with NinjaFlex which as the name implies is a flexible 3D printing filament. So far my impression is that it’s a great product if not a little difficult to work with. I’m guessing a Bowden would be even more difficult as this stuff is really, really bendable. I found my standard “Go To” setting for my printer just did not work. So to save anyone some time who might read this here is my quick list.

  • This material seems to melt slower than normal PLA or ABS so I really had to slow my extruding down. I set all slicer settings to 15 mm per second and that seemed to get things going. Funny as it sounds even my manual extruding using “PrintRun” to get my printer set up extruded too fast.
  • If you extrude too fast the extruder will bend the material so if you do start to see slippage in the extruder just give it up, pull out what is in there cut off the 2 inches and re-thread and try again. Once there is slippage the material deforms and the extruder can’t grip it anymore.
  • This stuff needs to run hot. I found 250 was a good number with 50 for the bed
  • Give up using Kapton tape or some type of hair spray to cause it to stick to the bed. The only way I got things to work was Blue carpenters tape.

If it sounds like a pain to work with then, yea maybe just a little but the results are great. To print something with a little give and bounce is really a trip compared to standard hard plastic and by controlling the infill you can create objects that can go all the way from almost soft to hard as normal plastic.

3D printer Conductive Plastic

Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find conductive plastic that has resistance properties even close to wire. What I’ve found is currently there is nothing on the market that comes even close. Although a plastic “Described” as conducting is offered by quite a few venders the conductivity it pretty bad. If you are making an anti-static pad or a Faraday cage your OK but for most circuits it’s not practical, basically it just plastic with infused Carbon Black.

I did spend some time trying to make my own and I did get some good batches but I had a real hard time with getting consistent batches. If you interested I used Multi Walled Carbon Nanotubes and infused them is standard PLA. believe it or not nanotubes are pretty cheap now. I got mine from “CheapTubes.com“. Yes, believe it or not that’s the name of the company. I tried a bunch of combinations but my greatest success was with MWNT’s around the 30-50nm range. Basic method is to take existing 3D printing plastic and mix it with “Dichloromethane” this liquefies it and after a time just remove to stopper off your mixing bottle and the dichloromethane will evaporate leaving just the plastic infused with the nanotubes. Now all you have to do is get it back in 3D printer plastic form. To do that I just built a 3D printing extruder.

If someone comes up with a better way to do it let me know but the best I was able to get was about 200 ohms per inch, still not what I was looking for but way better then stuff available on the market now.

 

 

RepRapPro and Selection of Extruder

When selecting the extruder for the RepRapPro be sure to take a little extra time before just selecting the Mini extruder as I did. My line of though was that it was smaller and would look better on the printer which, looking back on it was a pretty stupid reason to make a section. By and large I consider my selection of the Mini extruder to be my biggest misstate with regard to that printer build.  Here is what I’ve fount;

  • The mini is really small. it’s small so the gear teeth are small which means your prints need to be dead on. There is no room for even a small deviation.
  • The threading channel hole for the plastic is static. Simply put it’s a printed diameter hole. threading and working with it is a pain.
  • the Friction adjustment is not really all that effective.
  • The mounting of the extruder on the printer itself can effect the friction applied to the plastic being extruded. (Really an pain)

So simply put for me the choice of the Mini extruder was really bad! It’s just my opinion but you’ve been warned, choose the curtain on the left and go with the normal, proven Huxley_Extruder.

in the RepRapPro model files it’s the directory Modified_RepRapPro_Huxley_Extruder not the Mini you want. (Picture on left)

500px-Reprappro_multi-materials-alternate-drives

OpenSCad and integration with notepad++ text editor

OpenSCad is a great open source 3D modeling tool for 3D printable models but it’s weak point is the code editor and since everything is code based with no GUI tool set you have to look elsewhere for a good editor. I’ve found for myself that Notepad++ has some great plug-ins. It’s a windows tool but Ubuntu has “Wine” a windows compatibility emulator that works great with it and is available in the Ubuntu Software Center.   After installing OpenSCad and Notepad++ go to Thingiverse to pick up the XML Config files  for OpenSCad and follow the directions provided along with them. Remember to configure OpenScad for Automatic Reload and Compile and also in the view tab you can hide the default OpenSCad editor which you won’t be using anymore. I’ve found the whole experience of using OpenSCad to be much better since I moved on from the default editor.