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  1. #1

    Question n00b to the 3d printing world

    Hey guys,
    I'm new to the forum (first post) and I am going to do some searching around and see if I can find some answers to the plethora of questions that I have. However, I'm also going to ask in this thread in case anyone is interested in helping me out.

    I'll start off with a small backstory...

    I am a video game nerd. I collect video games and consoles. I've played video games my whole life (I was born in '83) and I now have 3 kids who are all following in my footsteps (not to mention 2 out of 3 step children as well) and I have another baby on the way (yes, 7 kids all together ) OK I didn't mean the angry face... lol. I self-taught myself HTML and began building some webpages with a couple of friends about 15 years ago. I got really into Photoshop, (at the time Macromedia) Flash, learned some javascript, C++, and was basically on the path to begin a career in some sort of technological field before my girlfriend at that time announced she was pregnant, so I went to trade school, studied automotive collision repair, and have been doing body work on cars for almost 15 years now. It pays the bills.

    With some free time I have now, plus the kids don't want me around that much (pre-teens, lol) I have ventured back into video games. I want to essentially build repro carts, design some handhelds, just basically make all kinds of cool stuff. So, I have been introduced (and fascinated) with the world of 3d printing.

    So, last year, I ordered a 3d printer off of ebay, and received it on the 4th of July weekend (I don't know if this board is an international forum... but I live in the USA.) I assembled the printer using photos off the web (I am pretty handy and crafty) and mainly stored the printer up until about a month ago when I got a fire to get this thing completed.

    So, here is where I am. I have a HICTOP Prusa i3 3DP08. I was able to assemble it in a weekend. I'm very meticulous so I made sure everything is assembled correctly; everything is tight how it is supposed to be, and everything is greased and wired and etc. I am at the point where I am testing (calibrating) it all out. The x- and y-axis work perfectly. Then we get to the double z motors. These things honestly sound like grinding and binding and not turning like they should. I disconnect both threaded rods from the motors; same thing happens. I removed the motors from the maching and connected them... still the same. I hook the motors up (1 at a time) to the x-axis plug in; works like a dream. So, I know it isn't a malfunction of the motor(s).

    So now I am trying to indulge into learning what firmware to use... what software... how to connect the printer to the computer. Honestly, I am basically lost. I am mainly looking for this easy "download this super easy program, install it, hit connect, control your printer, and bam everything works!" but I would be naive to believe something like this exists lol. I mainly just need some coaching, and help, from veterans and people who have experienced similar problems and can point me in the right direction.

    I initially downloaded Arduino drivers, but my computer doesn't recognize the printer (still). However, when I downloaded Repetier-Host, then Repetier-Server, it tells me it is connected (through server) but after that I can't figure anything out. Like, how do I get the z motors to work? I then downloaded Cura, I downloaded Marlin... I installed Cura, it says there is no printer to connect to. I haven't even installed Marlin... I know I don't need *all* these programs, but I'm looking for one that is preferably easy-to-use. I'm looking to see what is the popular choices out there... why I should use it, and if it's possible to explain in a very detailed explanation on what I need to do.

    I'm running Windows 10, my computer is home-made: Gigabyte mobo, 16gb ram, intel i5 3.2ghz (usually people want the pc specs lol)

    I really am new to the whole arduino world. I don't even know where to begin. I just know that I am highly interested in learning about 3d printing, learning this printer, and hoping I can build my skills and be of service to this community when I get to that point.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Technologist Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Let's Start with calibrating the stepper motor current.

    Before you start adjustments, measure all steppers motor currents and log them somewhere.
    Current adjustments can be made using USB cable or the Stock power supply.
    Watch this Video and after you will get a good ideal of what is going on, make your adjustments.

    May not be any reason to adjust those that are working.
    The Lower you can run the Steppers the Longer they will last.


    Having the Same controller as you will show you my readings using a USB cable for power.
    Made the adjustments on my 3DP11 the numbers are .936 on all but the Z and this is 1.2 all are higher than suggested.
    Now on my 3DP12 with 24 volt supply they are .5 on all but Z and this is .9. lower than suggested.
    Tried to get lower but steppers would start acting up like yours


    The adjustments for the stepper motors are basically the same for all 3D Printers.
    There are other videos that tell you to start with a lower voltage and slowly raise it until the steppers turn smoothly.

    When I received my used 3DP11 the Extruder Stepper motor turn in the opposite direction of what it was suppose to so I reversed the wiring making it run correctly.
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 06-13-2017 at 04:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Technologist Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Cura 15.04.6 is what I use mainly.

    Start Cura From the File menu select "Machine Settings"
    new Windows Add New Machine "Next"
    Select Other Radio Button "Next"
    Select Prusa Mendel i3 "Next"
    "Finish"

    Maximum width = 220
    Maximum depth = 270
    Maximum height = 190

    Extruder count 1
    Heated bed "Check"
    Build area Shape Square
    GCode Flavor RepRap (Marlin/Sprinter)
    Serial port "Select you port" (" your printer must be plugged in")
    Baudrate "115200"

    Change name "to what ever you wish"

    Click OK
    load up an Model "Stl file" you should see


    Image2.jpg

    1st Icon is LOAD
    2nd Icon is Print with USB

    Set layer height to .15 or .2 or .25
    Set Shell thickness .4 or .8
    Set Nozzle to .4 or whatever you nozzle is

    People are curious Mine is a Gigabyte mobo with a true 8 core CPU and 32TB of external Hard drive space.
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 06-13-2017 at 03:18 PM.

  4. #4
    Technologist Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Downloads
    Slic3r 1.2.9
    config file to work with Hictop
    Config.ini


    Just started using Slic3r 1.2.9, It works.
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 06-14-2017 at 10:17 AM.

  5. #5
    Technologist Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    We all learn at different speeds and levels, I believe the more you study and watch 3D Printer You-tube video's the more proficient you will become.

  6. #6
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    Not enough driver current. Fix that first.

  7. #7
    Thanks for all of the replies everyone. I am watching the video provided by Roberts_Clif (big thanks to you) and working on getting the z motors working, and checking the x and y motors. I'll post an update when I am done.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    Actually my question is quite different.
    If you built the computer yourself (spec is largely irrevelant these days, my main cad machine cost under 100 to build) - why on earth did you put windows 10 on it ?
    7 is easy to get hold of as are many variants of linux - all of which piddle on 10 from a truly staggering height.

    As far as cura goes, it won't connect to my delta either. I believe this is because there is no option to tell cura what com port the printer is using (7 or 8, depending on it's mood). All the other software I've used has no problem connecting, once it knows what com port to look on and speed: 115200.
    Try as I might I can find nowhere on cura to tell it this.
    So as far as cura goes - just use it to generate gcode and stick it on an sd card.

    And i agree with the: not enough power for the motors :-)

  9. #9
    Technologist Roberts_Clif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    Actually my question is quite different.
    If you built the computer yourself (spec is largely irrevelant these days, my main cad machine cost under 100 to build) - why on earth did you put windows 10 on it ?
    7 is easy to get hold of as are many variants of linux - all of which piddle on 10 from a truly staggering height.

    As far as cura goes, it won't connect to my delta either. I believe this is because there is no option to tell cura what com port the printer is using (7 or 8, depending on it's mood). All the other software I've used has no problem connecting, once it knows what com port to look on and speed: 115200.
    Try as I might I can find nowhere on cura to tell it this.
    So as far as cura goes - just use it to generate gcode and stick it on an sd card.

    And i agree with the: not enough power for the motors :-)
    In Cura Click "File"
    Click "Machine Settings"
    Serial Port Click "drop down Arrow"
    Highlighted is the Serial Port
    Again shown in "Arduino IDE"


    Serial Port 2.jpg

    Serial Port 1.jpg
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 06-14-2017 at 05:57 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by curious aardvark View Post
    Actually my question is quite different.
    If you built the computer yourself (spec is largely irrevelant these days, my main cad machine cost under 100 to build) - why on earth did you put windows 10 on it ?
    7 is easy to get hold of as are many variants of linux - all of which piddle on 10 from a truly staggering height.
    Well... lol
    I put my copy of 7 on this computer when I got done building it last July. Then a friend told me that Microsoft was offering a free upgrade to 10 from 7 or 8 til the end of July. I was a little hesitant at first, but figured why not and upgraded on the last day they were offering it. I can't really say I'm disappointed with 10... it's been a nice experience so far.

    My laptop had 8 on it, and I planned on using the laptop for all this 3d printing stuff. But, my desktop can do 3d software (using 3ds Max 2013) and run many programs effortlessly, plus the dual 24" monitors... and I gave the laptop to my oldest son since I literally haven't used the thing more than 3 times since I finished this computer.

    I have been flirting with the idea of the whole dual OS and installing some Linux on this machine as well... I just never really got around to it :|

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