heatbed-cover
Thu, 05/04/2017 - 23:18

After more than one year of struggle with Micro M3D printer I decided to buy something bigger, faster, and more reliable. So why not original Prusa i3 MK2, which was on top of the chart (which I can not find anymore) while M3D was at the bottom. Back when I've made the order, waiting time was around 6 weeks, some things are worth the waiting.

I've bought original kit from Prusa Shop (for 699 €), if I paid 300 € more, I'd have assembled, calibrated, and ready to print version, but where is fun in that? And it would take 2 more months to deliver. (Note: currently is Prusa selling upgraded MK2S version, these upgrades can be bought separately if you have MK2)

Prusa i3 box

Assembly

So from the beginning, the shop is almost around the corner, so I went for the printer personally, to carry those 10kg a few 100 meters is not so fun, fortunately the packaging is very handy. I'm not going to describe it all, it has simple manual and a few online guides. Summary in few words: All parts are clearly divided into pockets depending on what chapter are they needed. Ikea could also learn from the instructions.

Tools and parts X/Y axis Tools and X/Y axis Y closeup Z frame Extruder head Extruder head Almost done

OK, I still have a few things to mention: if it's not in the guide, do not screw it tight. On the other hand, in another place, it is necessary to think a bit: combine the two parts together before you continue. Otherwise, it was without any problems. As a first-time builder without experience, it took me a few hours (~4?), I do not know exactly how log, I did not measure time exactly. I build it in 3-4 sessions. I also enjoyed a small bonus in the form of candies that I ate for a reward (candies were in the box).

Calibration

After the assembly, the calibration time was here, which was more or less just a few turns of the knob and a few presses. Everything was fine for first try, I just had a little problem matching X axis with the pad. The firmware would be able to compensate for it. But I wanted to have it right and square, so loosened some nuts, aligned everything and tightened them. A note for the future, really, make everything perpendicular and with the precision of a tenth of millimeter.

Not so parallel Not so parallel Z axis parallel with print bed

Hooray, lets print, almost. After automatic calibration, it is time to manually correct the Z (height) and eventually move the P.I.N.D.A. probe, which is really good to tighten and glue properly so that it does not move in the future. What I found out the hard way few weeks later, when nut loosened due to vibrations and I've had to calibrate again.

Printing

And now really, the first object was the Prusa logo from the SD card, there is nothing to say. I went on to some more complicated, relatively large objects with a small base printed from ABS. It took me a few tries to get to 275 °C at a nozzle and 115 °C on the heatbed, which helped me a lot. I couldn't even dream about this with my previous printer, especially because of size and printbed.

After this I went back to PLA, it's easier to print with it.

Noise

From the noise perspective, this is not the most silent printer. Most of the noise is produced by fans, and there is probably not much to do about it.

Another source of noise is the heatbed and the head movement, which can be improved a bit by proper tighting of the straps.

The third source I encounter is the occasional rattle of the heatbed, which should now be solved by the MK2S version and the tightening of the bearings to the pad by replacing pulling straps for new ones.

A bonus way to reduce noise is the easiest thing to switch from High Power mode to Silent, but it's not absolutely without drawbacks. In silent mode, powering of the motors is lower, which will cause less noise, but can slow down printing and decrease quality. So far, I did not test it extensively, but I did not notice the differences in quality or in speed either. [TODO: test properly]

Prusa done

Summary

After testing printing from ABS I threw away almost 1 kilo of spool before I split model to smaller parts, set Z height properly and temperature that way the print didn't split mid print, didn't lean, fall and so on. In the end I did it, and I've got custom light shade on the ceiling.

Do everything as they say in the manual and you'll make it.

I regret no penny spent on the printer. This opens new possibilities, mostly the print volume. Now I just need to convert ideas from my head to 3D models and print them.

I might update article with comparison of High Power and Silent mode and comparinson of Micro M3D and Prusa i3 MK2, or better I'll write separate articles.

Octopi bonus

As a bonus I bought Raspberry Pi Zero W, so don't have to save gcode to SD card and go back and forth. This way I've got Octopi server running on RPi0W, and I can control printer via web interface and after adding camera I can record timelapses.

One thing that doesn't work, is uploading files directly to SD card from web, but until you need to use printer control to print, you won't miss it.

For now is the RPi0W powered by USB charger, but I want to power it directly from printer priamo na tlačiareň.

Gallery