It seems to me that it's important to have my machine calibrated properly and to have a basic understanding of the materials I'm using. I guess it's my artist background that I want to know my tools and the materials I'm working. Assuming I have a full functional reprap or repstrap, three things should be read, understood and done. One, go through the Getting started page in the reprap wiki. Two, configure the axes of my machine, because there are always likely to be differences from machine to machine. Three, make sure I have the correct thermistor / thermocouple settings. Adjusting the Thermistor Settings on the Makerbot Wiki is the best page with thermistor/thermocouple calibration methods I've seen.
And to understand the materials I'll be working with I'll be using Category:Filament on the Bits from Bytes wiki. There they have a great listing of the popular polymer filaments used for extruder based 3d printing. Properties of the each polymer and common uses, MSDS sheets if I want to download them and pages on each material, in case I need something more in depth.
I'm using ABS presently, mostly for my childhood love of Legos. In ABS, the page on the Bits from Bytes wiki, I find everything I'd like to know about the plastic and a listing toward the bottom of recommended Skeinforge settings for the rapman printers. The settings might not be exactly what I need for my machine but it seems like one of many great places to start from.
From this point, with a fully calibrated machine and a basic understanding of my materials and tools I'm moving to calibrating skeinforge. I'll be using Skeinforge to create geode files from stl files because of the plethora of options it provides. I could just dump stl files into the reprap host software, but the Gcode that comes out won't necessarily make an object with my machine. Using Skeinforge I can tailor the Gcode to my machine without having to hand code... much.
Skeinforge was made to work with the original Rapman but is now also the default gcode creator for the makerbot and many other repstraps. There is a great deal to learn and tweak in skeinforge but there is just as much information on the internet on how to use it skillfully. There are Calibration Logs on the Makerbot wiki, recommended settings for rapmans based on polymer, already mentioned, and blog posts on thingiverse, bits from bytes, in addition to various blogs that be can found with any search engine.
This is where I'm starting from, your mileage may vary. My next post will begin with testing and finding the best settings for my machine, which is based on the original Catalyst kit from profound devices. I have modified it through building it, so I have to calibrate and make my settings from scratch. Hopefully documenting my little journey toward making a reprap will help someone else. But if not, I'll have documentation I can look back to when I have to stop the grey goo.
- references to work from:
- Single walled test piece by Da3v from Thinigiverse
- Fabmetheus, the Skeinforge Announcement and Troubleshooting blog
- Skeinforge on Bits from Bytes Wiki
- Makerbot skeinforge Calibration logs
- "Configuring Skeinforge" from Makerbot wiki
- How to calibrate Skeinforge for your makerbot
- More skeinforge
- Skeinforge quicktip: Fill from Thinigiverse Blog
- Mendel's first decent print -excitement
- Adjsting the Thermistor settings
- Configuring the axes
- Getting started