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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a 3d printer to print?

It depends on the size and complexity of the print, and also on your chosen layer height. A finer, higher resolution print will take much longer, but will look very much smoother.

 

Where can I download printable models?

The best place, without question, is Thingiverse. It’s a community site run by Makerbot, makers of the Replicator2 printer, but it caters for all machines and printing systems. Great search facilities and a vast library of user-submitted content means it’s easy to find the object you’re looking for.

Feel free to visit:
Thingiverse
3D Via
Google 3D Warehouse
Turbosquid
123D Autodesk
CGTrader

 

How do I build my own printable models?

There are many CAD programs available, including free ones such as Autodesk’s Inventor Fusion. A great place to start is the online CAD service Tinkercad, which is very easy to use.

Tinkercad

AutoDesk

 

When I download models from Thingiverse they’re in STL format. What do I do with them?

STL is the standard interchange format for 3D models. Your printer, however, can only read G-Code files, which is the STL model divided into separate slices for each printable layer, along with the instructions for printing that layer.

Import your STL into Repetier host and use the built in slicer to prep your model for 3D printing

 

I’ve heard you can print anything you can imagine. Is this true?

No. You can print anything that can support itself while it’s being printed, and that can be made out of plastic. And you do need to have reasonable expectations. You could probably print a scale model of the USS Enterprise, with a supporting structure, but if you want to print a replica of the Mayflower complete with masts, sails and rigging, you’ll be disappointed.

 

Should I print with PLA or ABS?

ABS melts at a higher temperature, which means your machine has to run hotter in order to print with it. It also has worse adherence qualities, so many printers that print ABS have a heated bed to help the material to stick. PLA, by contrast, cools quicker and sticks better, and so you can generally print faster with it.

LCD:

Q. My LCD lights up blue but there is no text.
A. There is a contrast pot on the rear of the screen that needs to be adjusted.

Q. My LCD is displaying blocks but no text.
A. The wires need to be swapped on the back of the LCD
A. check to make sure there is firmware loaded on the Arduino mega
A. check the contrast on the LCD

Q. I bought a 12864 LCD to use with my printer but it doesn’t work.
A. You will need the special configuration of the firmware to operate the LCD. Ask service for a copy of the firmware.

Q. My SD card will not work.
A. Make sure you slice and save the part in reptierhost. Simply saving a part to the SD card will not open in the LCD menu.

Frame:

Q. What side does the power supply and electronics go on.
A. The power supply should be on the left and the electronics on the right if looking front facing.

Q. My frame is bowing on the top.
A. The X Axis rods are not all the way seated in the plastic part, remove them and see if there is a obstruction or if the hole needs to be drilled out.

Q. What is the correct orientation the main frame is supposed to be.
A. The main frame should have the LCD cut out for the turn knob and speaker on the right side of facing forward.

Q. The motor mount will not fit in the main frame.
A. Loosen the top screws and fit the part on the frame then tighten it down, proceed to secure the mount on the backside of the frame.

Extruder:

Q. My extruder is making a clicking sound.
A. Make sure the temperature is set correct for the filament. (190-220 for PLA and 230-250 ABS) moving the temp 5 degrees until it stops
A. Make sure the filament is all the way down to the nozzle and not stuck on the rim of the throat tube. The filament should load about 3” from the top of the feeder to the nozzle.
A. Make sure there is not a jam in the nozzle. Turn the fan and the extruder on until temp, depress the thumb spoon on the feeder and manually feed filament down it should come straight down and coil on the glass if it comes out to the left or right then there is likely a jam. you can try and clear it buy feeding filament until it corrects itself. If it doesn’t then you will have to remove the nozzle and manually clean it.
A. Make sure the Teflon tube is not pinched. If you tried to remove the filament loaded under temp it could mushroom the liner in the tube and become stuck. To fix remove the lower heating block and examine the liner in the throat tube. Replace the lining or change the tube entirely.
A. check the Vref on the stepper driver. It should be at or very close to .550Mv
A. Replace the stepper driver with the spare driver supplied.

Q. My Extruder is doing nothing when told to extrude manually.
A. The Extruder will not respond to commands until it is at temp. cold extrusion is turned off in the firmware.
A. If at temp and still no movement then check with your hand while told to extrude if you can feel vibration on the motor. If you can, then you will need to disassemble the extruder by removing the 2 screws in the fan and dropping the hot end until you have nothing but the feeder block exposed now you can make sure the gear in the feeder block is tight to the motor shaft and center of the opening.
A. If the gear is tight and still not extruding then the stepper driver is likely the issue and should be swapped with the spare supplied.
A. If swapping the driver does not correct the issue then metering the motor wires to make sure they are in correct place is needed. You will be measuring continuity across red/blue and green/black if there is no continuity across those colors then you will need to find out which wires are the pairs and move them around in the black connector so they are closest to each other. If you can not identify the pairs then the wire is likely broken you will then need to test each wire to make sure it is in fact the wires and not the coils in the motor.
A. If they are wired right and still no movement then the ramps fuse is likely blown and the ramps board will need to be replaced.

Q. Im getting a min temp error (M999) and my printer stops during printing or on startup. 
A. The hot end thermistor needs to be replaced

Heated bed:

Q. My heated bed is showing 0 in reptierhost/LCD
A. Make sure the thermistor wires are connected to the heatbed.
A. Test the Ohm’s on the thermistor wire and heat bed pads. If there is no reading the heat bed will need to be replaced.

Q. My heat bed starts heating as soon as I plug in the printer without any commands.
A. The mosfet on the ramps board is stuck open and the ramps board will need to be replaced.

Q. My heat bed temp is reading over 200c with out being on.
A. There is a solder bridge on the ramps board and it will need to be removed or the ramps board replaced.

Ramps:

Q.The green connector is blocking one of the mounting holes
A. This was a component upgrade to handle the amp load. You will be using the 2 diagonal holes to mount the stack, you can also mount it upside down to have the USB up but we recommend place the other components and wiring before hand to avoid assembling backwards.

Q. The pins under the green connector are to long are are hitting the arduino power jack.
A. Clip the 4 pins flush with a pair of dikes or nail clippers

Q. The header pins are bent and I can’t get the drivers on.
A. Gently realign them with the drivers

Arduino:

Q. I can’t seem to flash the firmware on the board I’m getting a configuration h file is missing error.
A. The firmware zip folder has not been fully extracted. Extract the folder to the desktop then open the info file in that folder. This will bring in the whole firmware file clearing the error.

Q. I can flash the arduino but my printer will not respond to any commands.
A. Make sure there is actually firmware on the printer to check connect to the printer in reptierhost and select printer setting it should say reprapguru under machine type. If it says unknown then there is no firmware.
A. Make sure the local server is not on. Click the server tab in reptierhost and select stop local server.
A. Make sure you are getting voltage at the motor drivers if the drivers will not reach .550Mv then it is likely the regulator is blown and the arduino will need to be replaced.

Endstops:

Q. My Y endstop is hitting the leveling knob.
A. Swich the end stop to the left side with the endstop facing in the center of the bed.

Q. My endstop won’t fit on the plastic holder.
A. Trim down the 4 pins so it will sit flush.

Stepper driver:

Q. I can’t fit all three drivers in the ramps with out the center overlapping one.
A. Shave or sand the side of the driver so all 3 are flush. If they are not flush the motors my jitter or only move in one direction.

Q. I can’t get the drivers to power over .300Mv
A. It is likely the arduino voltage regulator is blown and the board will need to be replaced.

Q. My drivers are getting very hot.
A. Make sure the vref is set to .550Mv also make sure the heat sinks are not touching the pin heads.

Q. Where is my spare driver located and do I need to mount it for my printer to work.
A. The spare driver will be in E1 on the ramps. You do not have to mount it or install the pin jumpers to operate your printer.

Motor:

Q. My motor will only turn in one direction. (Towards endstop)
A. Check to make sure you are getting a thermistor reading for the extruder. If there is no reading the printer will go into safe mode and only allow you to travel to the end stops.
A. Make sure you home all 3 axis. The printer needs feedback without homing the axis’s they will only travel on direction.

Q. My motor is jittering back and forth
A. Change the motor driver with the spare
A. Check the wire pairs coming from the motor with a meter. Meter continuity with the wire unplugged from the ramps but connected to the motor. Red/blue and green/black should be the correct pairs. They should also be closest together in the black connector.
A. Check to make sure the belt is not to tight.
A. Take the motor off and try and spin the shaft if it is grinding then the motor needs to be replaced.

Glass:

Q. My glass will not fit on the bed
A. It is likely slightly to big and needs to be sanded down or replaced.

Q. I can level the corners but not the center.
A. Put a ruler across the glass diagonally if the center is not flat to the ruler then the glass is bowed and needs to be replaced.

Q. My parts don’t stick to the plate or lift when I’m trying to print.
A. Depending on the filament you will need to prep your glass with something. For PLA use hairspray for ABS use blue painters tape with a glue stick or ABS juice.

Power supply:

Q. My power supply will not turn on.
A. Check to make sure you have it set to 110v. The switch is on the side closest to the acrylic.
A. Check to make sure you have the 110v wired correctly. (Colors for leads change on batchs)
A. Check to see if there is a ground fault on the ramps that is causing the power supply to short out. To check take the 2 red/black wires off the power supply and plug the power supply in to 110v to see if the green led turns on. If it does then there is solder bridge or some kind of ground issue on the ramps board.

Q. My fan is making a loud noise.
A. The bearings are likely dried out. The power supply will still work but it will be annoying. Repair or replace the power supply.

Q. My power supply makes a zap noise when I plug it in for the first time.
A. This is normal and should not be worried about.

Q. Can I plug a fan or led directly to the extra ports on the power supply.
A. Yes as long as they are 12v devices.

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