Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Update and the Printrbot Simple


I looked back at my blog and realized that I hadn't posted since January! Time to correct that...

My first year at UVa has been very enjoyable and I especially look forward to the classes I'll be taking this fall. At the end of the spring semester, I purchased a Printrbot Simple to replace my ailing Makerbot Cupcake CNC.

The Simple hit all of the check marks for me, in terms of what I look for in a 3D printer: it's small, quiet, and has a stepper motor extruder. Additionally, it uses the Printrboard which accommodates an ATX power supply, rather than the included laptop-esque power supply, and a heated build platform. Using these allows me print with ABS plastic.

After significant tweaking, I was able to get the printer to print with decent quality. Below are my Slic3r settings (note: I'm using Slic3r, as part of Repetier-host).

The best build platform I've found is using the Makerbot Cupcake plexiglass printbed on top of the Heated Build Platform with a layer of Kapton tape on top. This works well with ABS plastic, but I've found that a non-heated bed with a layer of Blue Painter's Tape works very well for PLA plastic. Below is a video of me printing with ABS:

Overall, I'm very happy with the Printrbot Simple. I'm not done tinkering with it, though. The problem that I'm currently facing is that prints occasionally become slanted. By that, I mean that occasionally, each successive layer appears to be translated over ~1 millimeter from the previous layer along the Y-axis. Research online suggests that it's likely due to a stepper motor skipping steps or a loose belt on the Y-axis--I'll post more when I figure it out.