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Bill Tyler's Mosaic

Bill-Tyler's-Mosaic 10000043.jpg


(Note that this has not been used recently, and while working when last used, it would sometimes stall and stop moving upwards in the Z-axis.

Mosaic 3D printer by Makergear, owned by Bill Tyler and hosted by him.

Please be aware that we're still experimenting with getting the best results from the Mosaic. While we are able to get good results, precision prints that you may need to do may or may not turn out as well as you need.

Use 1.75mm PLA, ABS, or other filament type that prints at under 250°C. Guidance for stock Mosaic hotends is to not exceed 230°C head temperature.

It has a heated bed, with effective print area of about 126mm X 125mm X 125mm.

There's an aluminum plate and glass plates. The aluminum plate works well for ABS. The Glass plates with green PET tape work especially well, for either ABS or PLA. Please do NOT remove PET tape or Kapton tape from any plate; these take a significant amount of effort to apply correctly. You may apply or remove blue painter's tape to any plate if you would prefer, although applying blue tape over PET tape or Kapton tape is probably not a good idea.

The plates are held on the heater PCB with Boston clips. A quick spritz of hair spray onto a clean bed, or brushing on ABS juice (particularly for ABS) or dilute PVAc usually works best. You should see 2ml vials of both of those near the printers. Experiments with PVAc and ABS juice are ongoing.

The firmware is intentionally limited to not exceed 250°C head temperature and 125°C bed temperature.

The filament there can be used freely, as long as it's not labeled otherwise. You may bring your own, and you may have to when the donated filament runs out. Feel invited to contribute any other colors or materials that you'd like to see around.

More details will be added, but for now the basics of how to use it are:

1) You need an .stl file, or another format that Cura can import, or a gcode file that was sliced with the proper parameters. Typically the apps used for printing are: Pronterface and Cura. Self-supporting users may use Slic3r or other apps. Slic3r has serious bugs that the developers are in denial about and is NOT recommended.

2) Turn on the printer via the switch on the power strip it's plugged into. LEDs may come on from the USB power even though the mains power is off, so double check: the white LEDs over the bed should be on if mains power is on. If another printer on the same power strip is already being used, the power to the Mosaic may already be on.

3) On the connected Windows computer, you can move the head and level the bed from the Pronterface software. Except when you switch between glass and aluminum plates, you don't need to adjust anything most of the time. You may need to use Pronterface to lift the head from your part (if you pause or cancel it) or the bed -- Cura doesn't have a way to simply move the head. Start pronterface by searching for "Pronterface" on the windows start menu and clicking on it. The com port for this printer should almost always be COM6 and the datarate is 250000. Select those and click "Connect".

4) You can change the filament if needed by removing it from the extruder driver on the top of the head assembly. Start pronterface, connect, heat the head, and retract filament to make it separate from the hot end. You should be able to back the filament out with Pronterface while pulling gently and remove it, and then push the new filament in while extruding. The firmware requires the head temperature be in excess of 150°C before filament commands are accepted, but in practicality you'll probably need to use at least 185°C for PLA and maybe 210°C or so for ABS.

5) If you need to zero the Z axis, do it by pressing the Z Home button in Pronterface, then if it is not the right distance (a piece of paper has slight drag between the head and bed) lower the bed and adjust the white bolt/screw in the frame to the left of the bed, that pushes the limit switch at the bed's highest point. You will have to do this if the bed has been changed (glass switched for aluminum, for example). Otherwise you should not expect to have to re-level the bed. When you feel you have the Z height correct, you should lower the bed again, and rehome the Z to double check.

6) Disconnect Pronterface if you started it.

7) Start Cura from the Windows Start menu. Go to "Machine" and make sure COM6 is selected. Cura has been frozen with some incorrect settings. You will need to check "Machine Settings" in Cura for the build area dimensions and COM settings. Also pull down the Tools menu and double check that Print All At Once is selected.

8) Load an STL file with the File -> Load Model File command.

9) Load a Cura profile for the Machine (Mosaic), the filament type (ABS or PLA), the specific filament (ie red, blue, white, natural, black, etc), and the desired trade off of resolution and speed (such as Normal) from the network directory: \\ATXHS-STORAGE\public\ATX Hackerspace\3D Printing\Cura

10) It's critical that you check the settings; the defaults are a reasonable start, but you NEED to check that the infill % is appropriate for your print, and may have to adjust other settings (such as support). If there's a setting that you're unsure what it does or the details regarding it, it's probably already been set properly and should not be changed. For example; the temperature settings can be tricky and are usually determined with extensive ongoing experimentation. Similarly for the filament diameter (which is also purposely fudged to adjust extrusion rates and thus should only be changed with great care).

11) File -> Print and then click the Print button. Jobs may be left unattended; please leave a note with how to contact you in case someone wants to remove your finished part to use the printer before you return. Other peoples' prints should be left next to the printer, including all failed parts, and all sorts of partial parts; everything that comes off the bed.

12) Turn off everything (as long as no other printer is in use and plugged into the same power strip) and clean up when you're done. If the tape tears when removing your part try to re-tape the bed if it was already taped before you started.

If you have any problems or think the printer is not working, post on the Google group. As of Dec 23, 2014 the Mosaic is believed to be generally functioning correctly.

Links and Information




By the front door in the 3D Printing area.