In this video I try out what Simplify3D refer to on their website as “Strong Foundations”. What this actually means is that in version 4 they have added a couple of new settings to improve the bed adhesion and overall strength of support material.
I look at what these new settings do and what that could mean for support structures – especially if you have ever had issues with the supports lifting off the printer bed.
The third video in my series on the changes in Version 4 of Simplify3D runs through the added functionality to use multiple processes on multiple parts when printing them one after the other, sequentially.
This feature will greatly assist those that sequentially print multiple parts that need their own individual split processes.
I also show the new feature in Version 4 which allows you to simply drag and drop the order in which the split processes are printed. If you got this wrong in previous versions it meant having to delete them all, starting again and creating them in a certain order. This too is a great time saver.
A while ago I decided to use Simplify3D as my every day slicer and as a new version, version 4, was recently released I thought I would have a good look at what advantages and new features this version brings.
I had a search around on YouTube and found a few videos all talking about pretty much one feature – the variable print settings. I wanted to see if there was more to Version 4 than that, so I visited the Simplify3D website and dug into all of the changes in the latest release.
As I plan to try out all the new aspects to version 4 (where possible), I thought I would make a short series of videos showing these changes. I will cover all the new features and changes listed on their website and, where it makes sense, combine associated functionality into a single video.
This is the first of these videos. In this one I discuss the “Variable Print Settings” feature, which I see as more of a refinement of functionality already in version 3. This is the one feature being discussed most often that I see in other peoples’ discussions on version 4 but I wanted to find out if it truly does something you couldn’t do in previous versions…spoiler – it doesn’t 😉
While doing the Variable Print Settings it made sense to also cover two other new features in version 4, “Preview Your Processes” and “Position Readout”. So I detail these too in this video.
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)
I have changed my mind a few times about how I plan to finish off my Prusa i3 MK2 clone 3D printer… but now I have settled on a plan! None of it was particularly complicated, but I just want to arrange things in such a way that they are safe, tidy and give me the best result.
As I plan to add a physical brace to the Z Axis frame, I want to combine that with a suitable housing for all the electronics. With the actual brace made I can start finishing off the electronics!!!
There are few items I want to do:-
Fix the issues with LCD corruption – presumably cause by electrical noise
Remove the Polyfuses and provide alternative
Integrate the Raspberry Pi in with the other electronics so it is a permanent feature on the printer, including power
Add in additional temp sensors to the electronics and power supplies that will kill the power if anything looks dodgy
Power the Heated Bed with 24V instead of 12V – but keep this 24V separate from the RAMPS board
The last of these is the item I am doing first – and it the subject of this video.
Below is my rough schematic showing how I will wire the RAMPS, Arduino and also a small external board that will perform the heated bed power switching. Beneath that the calculations I made to conclude that the AUIRFB8409 Mosfet would work fine:
Rough Schematic of an external board to switch power to the 24V heated bed, showing relevant parts of the RAMPS and Arduino
Main considerations in choosing the AUIRFB8049 Mosfet, with calculations
Up till now I have been using an old laptop to connect to the 3D printer through Pronterface. While this works fine, it does mean having to shift gcode files around on my network and to have to power up the old donkey… which can take a while… each time I use the printer.
From day zero I knew I wanted to get OctoPrint running on a Raspberry Pi so that I could control the printer from any web browser, upload gcode, start prints and as a massive bonus be able to watch how the printer is getting on via remote viewing a webcam.
In this video I run through, step by step, how I did this and how you could too for very little cost. As I discuss in the video there are at least two ways of doing this on a Raspberry Pi (OctoPrint is also available for many other platforms), the hard way which is preparing the Pi yourself, building OctoPrint and installing all necessary dependencies. Then there is the easy way, flashing an image of OctoPi. In this video I cover the latter method, although I will likely do another video covering the fully manual way.
At this time I see no downside to using the OctoPi image – but we shall see!!!
In order to do this yourself, aside of a Raspberry Pi and cables, you will need some freely available software. Here are the links to download that:-
If you are interested in reading all the documentation for OctoPrint you can find that on the website here.
If for any reason you need to know more about HAProxy you can spend a chunk of your life reading about it here. (Not for the faint hearted. Long story short, among other things, it is a server proxy that runs on Linux that can manage network traffic to and from the machine.)
In this video I go through some of the prints I have made in the first week after building the DIY Prusa i3 MK2, and some of the interim conclusions I have drawn from them together with the settings this had led me to change.
Long story short; it is quite hard to diagnose a lot of issues as they could be caused by a number of different things manifesting with the same symptoms. It maybe even a combination. I had to single out settings and go wild with them to see what effect they had and then apply that to my baseline. However, apart from filament getting stuck on the spool (my fault) I haven’t had any failures and all the prints have been perfectly fit for the job I needed them for. So really we are only looking at aesthetics.
I also gave Simplify3D a try out…. at this time I don’t really need any of the capabilities it has over Slic3r and found it to exhibit some unwanted artifacts on the prints I tried it out on. It is a little disappointing that they offer no free trial as it isn’t particularly cheap and is very much a piece of software you will either get on with or you wont. You have to first spend your money to find out… You can apparently get a refund though if it doesn’t turn out well. For the time being I am sticking with Slic3r as I get better quality prints and really the only feature I would use right now from S3D is the manual supports.
I have decided to make Octoprint my next upgrade as for the time being the electronics are holding together just fine. So on with that!!!
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 😉