I was invited to show Raptosaur at the World 3D Printer Expo in Burbank with my MakerSpace: Vocademy, as an example of something built there. This was a very exciting experience. (I’m not in the photo above, taken at a quiet time). We were right next to the See Me CNC booth. We had a lot of interest, often with people 3-deep interested in the printer and Vocademy. I was very encouraged by comments from the other printer vendors.
In order to get ready for this show, I installed a top surround made from thermoplastic that I bent using my plastic bender.
I replaced the Rumba controller with a Smoothieboard, which is a 32-bit controller. This was the best thing ever, as the Smoothieboard runs much better and is easier to configure. Using the Smoothie I was able to finally get the auto-bed-leveling to work, to within 0.02mm which is about 0.0007 inches. I made a script that automatically extends the z-probe, probes the bed, and retracts the probe. Having this working was a big relief, as it makes printing large objects possible – the first layer must be printed at a very precise height in order to stick to the bed properly.
I had a piece of 3/16″ mirror glass cut to size for the print surface. Mirror was used because it is very flat, and it looks good too.
I also had replaced the heavy black cooling hose with cpap hose and two printed adapters. This tubing is used to blow cool air from outside the heated chamber to cool part of the hot-end, and also to cool the top of the printed part. This was much lighter, and allows the printer to move much faster. Another benefit was that I could remove the keychain keeper cable that I had used to hold up the heavy black hose. This was putting enough random torque on the effector that it was causing problems.
We learned by testing at the show that it was extruding at a too low temperature. This causes the extrusion to be inconsistent (banding), causes printed corners to be pulled around, and causes the filament drive gear to clog with filament chips. It’s working much better now. I have to balance the extrusion temperature with the cooling air blowing on the part – small parts can overheat more easily due to the heated chamber. I believe I can program the fan speed in Slic3r depending on the size of feature it’s printing.
What’s next: I ordered a replacement filament drive gear as the threads on the one I made were not perfect, and I need to build some fan controllers. And I have a large commission to print…
There was a lot of cool stuff at the show, I’ll post that separately.