3D Printing

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About

3D printing is an additive manufacturing process that allows for the creation of real-world, tangible objects from 3D virtual models. MakeICT maintains the following 3D printers:

Machine Access Policy

Use of the 3D printers requires authorization from an approved peer-authorizor or attendance in a 3D printer workshop that includes authorization.

  • Any member who has been authorized to use the 3D printer may peer-authorize other members
  • Authorization instruction must at least include
    • Fundamental knowledge of each printer's working principles
    • Proper use and control of each printer
    • Software workflow
    • How to change filament
    • How to pay for material

Filament Fund

Printing with filament provided by MakeICT costs $0.04 per gram. After printing, please weigh your print using the provided scale and put the appropriate amount of money in the filament fund jar. If you have any requests for new colors/types of filaments, you can post them in the Fab Lab category on our forum, or send an email to fablab@makeict.org.

Workflow

Slicing

Slicing is the process of converting an STL file to the G-Code required to run the printer.

We use PrusaSlicer to generate the G-Code for our printers. The design computer in the Fab Lab has the appropriate profiles installed, as well as laptops 1-6. These profiles are also available on the Slicer Profiles page on this Wiki if you want to install them on your own computer.

To generate the G-Code for a 3D printer, first select the appropriate printer in the 'Printer' dropdown in the upper right-hand side of Plater window. Then select the preset for the material you wish to use. To load your file click the 'Add' button on the left-hand side of the toolbar at the top of the 3D Editor view. You can also go to 'File' > 'Import' > 'Import STL/OBJ/AMF/3MF' or use the hotkey 'Ctrl + i'. PrusaSlicer should automatically slice the file in the background, and progress will be displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the window.

Before you send you G-Code, always check the preview by clicking the second icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. Once you've confirmed that everything looks good, hit the 'Send G-code' button near the bottom right 3D Editor view.

G-Code generated for one machine WILL NOT work properly on the others, so if you manually save the G-code, be sure that you only use it on the printer that it was originally sliced for. This info can be found in the G-code file if you forget.

Printing

Each printer can be run using Octoprint. More thorough instructions on this interface can be found on the Octoprint page. The username and password are 'maker'.

The printers can be reached at the following addresses while connected to the network at MakeICT:

To run a print: select your file and click the print button.

Changing Filament

The process for changing filament varies slightly between the Prusas and the rest of the printers, but all of them use the filament change menus on the LCD control panel. Wiki Page for the specific printer may have more details on the filament change process if needed.

General Use Tips

  • Always watch the first layer of a print to make sure that it sticks to the bed properly.
    • If the first layer does not adhere properly the print will fail and make a big mess, potentially damaging the machine.
  • Check material before starting a print. Make sure it is the correct type, and that there is enough to complete the print.
  • When your print is finished, do not immediately turn off the power; wait until the nozzle has cooled. All of our printers have actively-cooled heatsinks on their hotends, and if power is cut before the nozzle is cool the filament can melt higher up than intended and cause a jam.
  • Be careful when removing prints. The glass beds are fairly durable, but can be cracked with excessive force. No hammers, mallets, or other bludgeoning devices are to be used for print removal!
  • G-Code files generated for one printer should never be used on another. Re-run the slicer with the appropriate profiles for the machine that is being used
  • Abrasive materials (carbon, metal, glow-in-the-dark, etc.) require hardened nozzles to print. DO NOT print any abrasives with the regular brass nozzles!
  • NEVER use metal scrapers to remove prints from the Prusa printers. You will damage the print surface. Remove the spring steel sheet and bend it to detach printed objects from the surface.

References