Everyone knows that getting your first layer right is 90% of the battle to getting a successful 3D print. Even if your temperatures and everything else are correct, if your nozzle height is off you will get bad adhesion on the first layer.
Setting it up is actually pretty simple, but it can be confusing. In this video I explain, in very deep detail, what all the parameters and settings do that control nozzle height on your first layer so that you can get perfect first layers. In this video I am using a Cartesian style machine, a Prusa i3 MK2, and Marlin as the firmware – but the principles will remain constant for most printing systems.
Really the only part of my Prusa i3 MK2 clone build that didn’t function as it should out of the box was the LCD Module with builtin SD card reader, rotary encoder, buzzer and stop button.
In this video I discuss how I tracked down the issues and fixed them. I also changed the ribbon cables for shielded cables as I needed them for how I was mounting the module – but it also assisted with preventing corruption.
The model I have is pictured below and its full title is a Bigtreetech RepRapDiscount Full Graphic Smart Controller.
Bigtreetech LCD Module, RepRapDiscount Full Graphic Smart Controller
During my trawling of the internet trying to find specific data for this LCD, (which I didn’t..) I used information from the documents below to build my own schematics, which are at the bottom of this post.
For anyone wishing to tear apart an HDMI cable to use as a shielded cable to the LCD Module, here is a pin diagram for a standard HDMI cable. (Although that isn’t much use as we are only using it as a general shielded multi-core cable! A decent HDMI cable has 7 single cores, and 4 twisted pairs inside their own separate shielding. This gives us 15 conductors, ignoring the shielding. The one I chose also had a metal braided wrap around the whole thing – I earthed them all to building earth)
In this video I finally get to make the first print… I know how it turned out but you will have to watch to see 😉
Before the printing fun could begin, I needed to take care of some minor things, and one slightly more important thing – the power supply for the heated bed!
For the moment all power for the printer is temporary so I make use of a 12v power supply that I already had. It doesn’t have the output to deliver power to all, but it should take care of the heated bed and I will continue to use the lab supply for the rest.
I power on the printer for the first time and set up the Limit Switches, Axis Movement, End Stops, Bed Extents, Bed Levelling, Z Probe/Bed Sensor and do the Extruder Calibration!
I spent quite some time going through the Marlin documentation to see what each possible configuration instruction could do. I had already done a very basic run through of the Configuration.h file in this video/post but now it was time to get it spot on.
One side benefit of the exercise is that I can see I will need to change the way I mount the heated bed. Most importantly the nyloc nuts sitting on top reduce the Y axis extents by nearly 25%!!!!. But secondly the ply wood under the bed allows the nuts to squash the edges down too much, resulting in the opposite bed bend to that I had before! Still, good enough for a first print 😉
So before getting all carried away and wiring in the Arduino and RAMPS I thought it might be a good idea to make sure the Arduino actually works!
As I already work with Arduinos, I have the Arduino IDE installed. If you don’t you can go and grab it from here.
I uploaded a simple blinky sketch and all looks good so I also create a short sketch to wipe all data, if any, lurking in the EEPROM. Just in case it later confuses Marlin.
After downloading the latest version of Marlin I spent quite some time going through the configuration.h sketch file making some basic changes for an initial start up. If anyone is interested in a copy of that, you can download it here. (You might want to change it so my name doesn’t show up on your printer’s LCD all the time!!)
There are a lot of resources on the internet for the configuration of Marlin, here are the main ones I used:-