Category Archives: RepRap – The Basics

This category has the basic information you will need to learn to understand the basic functions of RepRap 3D printers.

Putting Filaments & Companies to The Test

I decided to test out a few different brands as well as different types of filament. I didn’t want to test brands VS brands because it’s been done again and again. Instead I decided to take a few different types of filament from several companies and print out objects much as, “You” the user would. Also I will share my experiences with each company. At our Prototyping lab we have been adding new equipment which will delay some of the filament tests. I will update the last few filaments that are not yet explored ASAP.

So far I will be doing a few different sample prints from: PushPlastic, Extrudables, MakerGeeks and Printrbot. Printrbot may be removed from the tests as I’ve heard that they recently changed suppliers. If I can get a recent sample, I will include them.

Update ——->>
I will soon add the (Coming soon) filament tests to this post. I will also be getting some of Printrbot’s filament from their new source. I will start testing as soon as the filament arrives from Printrbot.

I chose to test filaments from these few suppliers because RepRap Squad has had positive experiences with them as a company. They have all proven to be reliable companies that always try to keep quality up while offering affordable prices.

I will be testing out about 4+ different colors of PLA from PushPlastics. Extrudables has some HIPS that will be tested. We will be testing a large variety of exotics from MakerGeeks. We will test the updated filaments as soon as they arrive and add them to the lists.

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My Experiences With Push Plastic
Link to PushPlastic’s Store

Push Plastic offers up a good selection of filaments. Shipping is quick and packaging is above average. They take the time to properly pack items for a worry free shipping experience. They are very quick to respond to any questions I had which made for a pleasurable experience.

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PushPlastic 1.75mm Cobalt Blue PLA

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I started the tests with PushPlastic’s cobalt blue 1.75mm PLA. It looks better in person than on the site. Usually it’s the other way around. I’ve noticed that the diameter is very consistent. After a bit of printing, I can say that the colors are very vivid and that they come out the same color as it looks when it’s on the reel. I’ve ran into a lot of filament that looks nothing like it did before printing but, this is defiantly not one of them.

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I printed out several different pieces in the blue. One of my favorite being the 100mm Volkswagen logo. I plan on doing some finish work on the emblem so that it can be mounted on my car. A few pictures of this process will be taken to show how well this filament looks when finishing touches are done.

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So far I am very impressed with the quality of their filaments. This test was done at a high speed, 195 degrees Celsius – hotend, 60 degrees Celsius – bed at .3 layer height with a .4 tip.

PushPlastics 1.75mm Yellow PLA

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I am running the yellow PLA at the same settings as the rest which is stated above. For a few tests I may slow down the overall speeds to help eliminate overshoot. I have seen great results with the yellow filament. It is very consistent and I haven’t seen any signs of the filament delaminating. I will be testing a few more colors from PushPlastic soon.

PushPlastics 1.75mm Black PLA
•• Coming Soon ••

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My Experiences With Maker Geeks
Link To MakerGeeks Store

The guys at MakerGeeks are always a pleasure to work with and they are very quick to answer any questions. They also have a wide variety of filaments including: Laywood, Laybrick, PLA, ABS, Conductive, Carbon Fibre, Nylon and Color Changing – Just to name a few.

They are based within the U.S. and have just about any 3D printer related items you would ever need or want. Shipping is always quick and free within the United States. They often run 10% off deals so check their site often.

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MakerGeeks 1.75mm ABS Black

MakerGeeks black ABS was printed at 240 degrees Celsius and the heated bed was ran at 105 degrees Celsius. I’ve noticed that there are less oozing issues with this filament. It lays down the first layer very clean and consistent. I’ve had no issues with it delaminating. Overall I am very happy with this filament.

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MakerGeeks 1.75mm PLA Color Changing
This color changing filament is very neat stuff and could be used for quite a few interesting projects. Once it gets
above a specific temperature it will change colors. They make several different colors. The one I tested was a purplish black at room temp and changed to an eggshell white when brought up in temperature. The uses for this kind of filament are endless.

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The color changing filament is a PLA derivative, which makes for easy printing. It prints under the same settings as PLA and retains similar properties.

MakerGeeks 1.75mm PET
•• Coming Soon••

MakerGeeks 1.75mm Laywood
•• Coming Soon ••

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My Experiences With Printrbot
Link To Printrbot’s Store
Printrbot is a company that has steadily expanded over the last couple of years. I have had great experiences with all of the products I have purchased from them, including filament. I’ve had a couple shipping mistakes that were quickly fixed once they were aware of the problem. Their online store has expanded to carry a wide selection of printers and printer parts.

Recently I have been able to get my hands on Printrbot’s new filament. I will be doing some test prints in a few different colors of PLA. So far I plan to test white, green, black and blue.

Printrbot’s new 1.75mm PLA White

I am instantly impressed from the first test print I did. The filament feels smooth and soft out of the package. It also arrived well packed with gel packs to keep moisture away from the filament. I guessed at a starting temperature of 198 degrees Celsius. I kicked the bed temp a little bit high at 70 degrees Celsius. I was amazed how well the first print of a custom designed dual fan mount came out. So far this filament has been easy to work with. I can see why Printrbot changed suppliers as it is a definite improvement. More test are coming soon as I push the limits of this filament.

Below are the very first items I printed with Printrbot’s new filament. I designed these custom dual fan mounts for a custom computer case I am building. They are case or rad mountable and they came out great in this white filament. The white is bright and vibrant.

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Overall Experience with Printrbot’s Newest Filament:

I have to say that I am very impressed with Printrbots new filament. It works great one thing I noticed that it is very temperature sensitive. If you have your heat up to high even by a few degrees it starts to get gooey. This problem is easily remedied by lowering the temperature a few degrees. It stuck to the bed well but not too well.

I saw absolutely no delamination at all with any of the prints I’ve done so far. I definitely recommend this film it to any other users. It arrived vacuum packed with the dicassant in the package which helps to eliminate moisture during shipping or storage.

Here are a few of my most recent prints with Printrbot’s 1.75mm black PLA:

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Printrbot’s older 1.75mm ABS Black

The Printrbot filament that I have been testing is from a while back. It has been properly stored in a dark container to keep dust and any moisture away. I have heard that Printrbot has changed filament suppliers not too long ago.

Overall I am happy with this ABS. I have noticed that it doesn’t strip on the extruder gear as easy as some of the PLA I first received from Printrbot almost a year ago. I also haven’t had any jams using this filament with my wood direct drive extruders.

Printrbot older 1.75mm Charcoal PLA
I have used a lot if this specific PLA and I absolutely love it. I have printed everything from drag cables to parts for the InMoov hand and arm assembly. It prints consistently and the first layer goes down effortlessly. If you add a heated bed to the equation, it won’t ever get any easier. I’ve pushed the speed well over 170mm s with no issues.

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My Experiences With Extrudables
Link To Extrudables Store

I haven’t had much experience with Extrudables as a company because they are fresh onto the marketplace. However I have known the owner through the Printrbot forums for quite sometime now. They are very helpful and stock a selection ranging from FilaFlex to color changing filaments.

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He has spent a lot of time helping out others throughout the forums which easily translates into a great customer service experience. The product was shipped quickly and they are based within the U.S.

Extrudables 1.75mm HIPS
HIPS stands for High Impact Polystyrene and is one of the most produced polymers worldwide. It is a flexible product widely used in the food packaging industry because of its strength, hygiene, and ability to retain heat. In the 3D Printing industry it is typically used in combination with a dual extruder setup. HIPS serves as a dissolvable support structure. This is very useful when printing ABS objects with floating sections, long bridged gaps or huge overhangs. It can be dissolved using Limonene after your print is finished.

However HIPS can also be used in a single extruder setting to make all kinds of useful parts that take advantage of its hygienic properties and it’s ability to retain heat. HIPS is soluble in Limonene, a colourless liquid hydrocarbon that has a strong smell of oranges.

I print most of these tests for HIPS at 235 degrees Celsius and the bed between 110-115 degrees Celsius. I printed them on blue painters tape that had been wiped down with alcohol prior to starting the prints. After the print is finished, it is recommended to let the bed completely cool down before removing it. HIPS is very pliable when heated.

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I started by printing a set of stands for my portable hard drive. I needed something durable as well as something that would help radiate the heat outward. These pieces work great! I designed them to be a little small so that the part would flex and hold onto the hard drive tightly. Flexibility is a great property of this filament.

Extrudables HIPS is top notch and a breeze to print with. I haven’t used HIPS much before testing this filament and I’m so impressed with how easy this filament is to use. The filament was consistent at a range of 1.73 – 1.75 in diameter. It feed well through my Printrbot wood direct drive extruder. I didn’t have a single jam or misdeed.

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•• Coming Soon ••
We are going to dive deep into the wonderful world of possibilities with HIPS. After having this great experience with Extrudables HIPS. I decided to give it a full on dual extruder range of testing. This HIPS is great to work with and has my mind reeling with new possibilities. I decided to do an entire article on the HIPS we received from Extrudables. Soon I will order some Limonene, so I can dissolve away the support structures. Check back soon for the Dual Extruder tests.

Overall Experiences

I have to say that I’m quite impressed by all of the filaments I tested. Each company seems to have its specialty. Wether it’s the large selection you will find with MakerGeeks or the straight forward customer service with Extrudables, you really can’t go wrong. Filament choices are very personal, to the printer being used, as well as the owner. I’ve found that different people, like different qualities in their filament.

I tested these 4 companies filament’s because of the great experiences I’ve had with each of them. No matter if I bought a little or a lot, each of them gave me: Great customer service, quick responses to questions, quality products, outstanding shipping and an overall great customer experience.

If your in the market for filament defiantly check out: Extrudables, PushPlastic, MakerGeeks and Printrbot.

Twitter Accounts:
••• @Extrudables
••• @MakerGeeks
••• @Printrbot
••• (I was unable to find one for PushPlastic)

What’s Your 3D Printer Doing When Your Away?

3D printers can be dangerous like any other appliance or piece of machinery. If you don’t know what your doing, ask someone that does. If operated properly they are perfectly safe machines.
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This is an important topic that is rarely discussed but, it’s definitely one of the most important things to know if you own any kind of 3D printer. Most users and not just new owners, have a misconception that it is okay to leave their printer unattended while printing. We are all guilty of stepping out of the room for a few minutes when its running. The main issue is the long prints. How do you do a 12 hr or longer print without leaving it running alone? There are many different ways to limit the potential hazard of it catching fire or something else that could lead to a catastrophic failure.

It’s not to hard to cut up a larger print into smaller prints that can later be bolted or fused together. This is a common practice done by many advanced users. A lot of prints that I model are designed to be printed separately and later assembled into one larger piece. Doing this has another advantage as there’s nothing more frustrating than getting 11 hrs into a print to have it fail. I also take other precautions like keeping a fire extinguisher within a few feet of my printers.

Another neat mod is adding an ip camera or a setup with raspberry pi so that prints can be easily monitored via cell phone, computer or tablet. You can buy cheap portable setups or make one yourself for a reasonable amount of money. At RepRap Squad we have several different temp sensors tied into an alarm system. Once two or more of those sensors reach a pre set temp it sounds an alarm. We are currently in the midst of adding text messaging into the alarm system for added protection. Even with all the safety measures that we have taken at the shop, we still rarely leave the printer running by itself.

Another important part of owning a 3D printer is being safe when making modifications to your printer. If you don’t know what you’re doing it is important to ask someone that does or do the research to find out how to do it. I have heard as well as experienced plenty of people that just went ahead with the modification and didn’t know what they were doing. Typically it ended up in an almost catastrophic failure. Power supplies melting or catching on fire as well as wiring hazards, all because the owner didn’t have a full understanding of what they were doing.

If anybody ever has any questions or needs any help we are at RepRap Squad are always available.

Here’s one of many stories I found about people being careless and catching their printer on fire.

I set my Mendelmax on fire today…

Hint to the wise, do not be printing on one, printer, forget the power switch is live on the Mendelmax… cut wires to fan so you can add two more to keep your POS Printroboard from overheating and immediately have the wire you cut erupt in flames.

Next step is to not run out of the room looking for a fire extinguisher that you wife moved while cleaning the kitchen… that would be the time you would want to … I don’t know turn the power off to the PS?

So while Mendelmax is on fire, I am in the other room looking for a fire extinguisher (power supply still on), the fire alarm goes off. Wife sticks head out of door asking what the hell is going on (Third Shifter).. I say popcorn again.. she goes back to bed.

Get back in office, no fire extinguisher, turn power off. Patt out the burnt wires. After 1 hour of trouble shooting I lost 2 RP parts, pretty much all my wires, and that’s about it…. WIN! (ish)

This is the Second RepRap I have ever set on fire 🙂

Here’s the link to the above story:
http://repraplogphase.blogspot.com/2012/09/second-reprap-fire-again-not-repraps.html?m=1

Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

Now Available: All Things Printrbot, All In One Spot!

We recently added a new page which you can navigate to by clicking on the link at the top of the page.

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After answering countless posts on PrintrbotTalk.com about where to find this or that. I decided to take it upon myself to start compiling calibration guides, diagrams, YouTube videos, how to’s and much more. This is a work in progress but, hopefully this will help people new to 3D printing as well as seasoned vets.

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****In order to make this the best possible resource we will need your help. So if you know of a link, page, diagram or anything else that would help another fellow Printrbotter out, please either post it on the comments here or email us at RepRapSquad@techie.com and we will organize it into its own page. ****

Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

RepRap Squad Hits 79 Countries!

We have come a long way since the inception of RepRap Squad. We have now helped over 20 schools and classes. Our site has been viewed and translated regularly by almost 80 different countries. There has been over 30 3D printers built and countless parts, mods and prototypes. RepRap Squad continues to grow daily and we now offer a Twitter account for direct access for new news and help for makers all over. (Twitter: @REPRAPSQUAD) Our goals are many and always held to the highest of standards.
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I wasn’t sure of what RepRap Squad would become when it was started but I wanted to be able to help the reprap community and come up with new ideas to challenge the minds of makers everywhere. I’m happy with the outcome and look forward to being able to help more schools and people within this industry. As of recently people are starting to be aware of the great effects that 3D printing will have on our future lives. Within the next few years 3D printers will become reliable appliances that will be used in our daily lives. We will be able to explore ideas and inventions in a real life format with a click of a button. We will download products instead of going to Wal-Mart to buy simple plastic items.

Today we lay the seeds of tomorrow. I’m glad to know that I am a part of something that will be ground breaking as well as something that will be remembered in the future. Our goal as a group is simple and can be described with 1 word, “help.” Help others realize their ideas, help people get access to 3D printers, help others to become masters of their own printers and to help the community as a whole in anyway we can. The 3D printing community is innovative and consists of some of the brightest people i’ve ever met. You helped to create this industry for what it is today and you will guide the industry into whatever it may become in the future.

So, go print a whistle or an action figure of yourself but, no matter what you do always remember to “help” someone else. Wether its building a printer from the ground up or configuring their printer to print Mr. Jaws, always be ready to give back as that is what this community is built on.

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Soon as per requests RepRap Squad will be releasing some clothing that you can purchase. Below is an early view of what one of the t-shirts will look like. So if your interested in getting one, let me know and I will get your size and quantities. We are going to start out with some shirts and hooded sweatshirts and eventually offer other accessories.
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Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

Printrbot Information and Diagrams

Update: October 25th 2013
Since there has been updates to info and diagrams, I figured it would update this guide as well.

Getting started: Guides and all other info on how to setup your new bot or PB acessories. (updated 10-1-13)

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Z-rod couplers, the right way

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Here's your jumper connection as well as Y cable connection

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Here's an assembled PB spool

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Here's how to assemble your new PB spool

Sometimes it can be confusing to deturmine X, Y and Z axis on your Printrbot.  So I found these neat little diagrams that will help to take away any previous confusion.  Each chart is labeled with what Printrbot machine it is referring to. Also the E axis is usually for the extruder.

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Here’s the controller and wiring diagram:
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Here’s the chart for the two Kysan motors that Printrbot uses. The one with the higher amperage is the (Large kysan) they sell on their online store and the other one is the Kysan Printrbot is having custom made (Smaller Kysan) for the Printrbot Simple.
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Here’s the new asymboly diagrams for the direct drive extruder
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The Printrbot Simple’s asymboly diagrams
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Asymboly diagrams for the Printrbot Plus and LC

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You can also find full build instructions and these diagrams in pdf files here as well as other instructions for Printrbot products.

Here’s a view of the new inventor files that Printrbot released recently.
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Posted from RepRap Squad HQ

The Good and The Bad

If you click on the tab located on the header above called, “The Good and The Bad.” You can post your good and bad experiences with Ebay sellers, online stores etc.

***—» Please post your story in the comments page and I will add it to the page. I created this dedicated page because I have heard so many stories about people getting ripped of buying RepRap parts, bots etc. So please click on the link above and share your good or bad experiences. That way someone else can avoid the bad and steer towards the good. If someone else has posted a story about the same company please still post. Multiple views are important.

—»This is important that you participate so we all can find reliable RepRap Resources.«—

Extruder basic design

Here are a few pics I found explaining how an extruder works. These pictures help to de-mistify the extruder and its functions.
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Nice layout of widely used setup

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This is the wildseyed you can see the heat and cooling zones

(Up-cycling) The printer tear down

Printers can yield a bunch of great parts, especially for the budget minded builder. They contain polished hardened steel rods which are used in almost every Reprap, strap or even CnC build. If you had to buy them you will find out real quick how spend they can be. Another treasure found in discarded printers are stepper, servo and DC motors. The older the machine the better gods it has a usable stepper motor. Scanners and photo copiers also have a bunch of great parts. Another part you can snag for your 3d printer is optical end stops, they are very common in printers. A list of other useful parts are: Wiring, solenoids, a power supply, power capacitors, wall plugs, rollers, springs, gears and a treasure trove of other parts. It comes in handy to organize your parts as you dismantle your printer or scanner. Also another tip is to put down plastic or an old sheet under your printer or work space. Ink and tonar can be a nightmare so wear gloves also. So enjoy your parts, you earned it. Just sit back and let them inspire you into a new project.

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Basic parts you will see

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Your reward

I’ve Setup My RepRap, Now What?

Once you get your RepRap finished and all dialed in. What is the first thing you should do? Besides yell out in victory, you should start by making a journal or diary of your prints. Include such important things as: Printer:

* # of parts printer has printed in its lifetime:
* Part Name:
* Plastic Color:
* Plastic type:
* Bed Temp:
* Extruder Temp:
* Print time:
* Layer Height:
* Quality of result:
* Notes for this print:
* Parts of printer that required tightening before/after print:
* And any other info you might find important.

I have a separate log for each printer and it comes in very handy. It also let’s me track wear and tear on parts and estimate very closely on when certain things are about to ho out on my printer. I also use this log to estimate my reprap maintenance. If you keep track of the above info for every print; It makes running your bot effortless.

The next step after you’ve finished your RepRap is to grab a shoebox or Rubbermaid container and print out an extra set of parts for your RepRap. Focusing mostly on the smaller gears and then the larger gears. After that print any other parts you think you might need. That way your always set just in case something breaks and trust me it will eventually. I personally print an entire full set of parts for each RepRap. If I ever use a part or give it to someone in need I always print a new one right away and put it into the box. Doing this every time has saved me more times then not. So two words of advise, keep a print log and always print a replacement part set with your 1st print after your machine is dialed in.

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Thanks for your time!

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