3D Printing Quick Start Guide

 

This guide walks you through the basics of using a 3D printer with an auto-leveling sensor, from loading a spool of filament, to finishing your first 3D print.

Set your printer up on a level surface and you're ready to get started. 

 

We recommend printing a calibration model to test things like surface finish and model accuracy. Check out Thingiverse for calibration prints like #3DBenchy

 

Download slicing software:

We recommend using Cura for slicing software. It's free and well supported. For USB control, you can download Printrun.  For setting up Cura and preparing a model for 3D printing, follow these easy steps.

 

Loading a spool of filament:

  1. Preheat nozzle to recommended temperature for the material being used.

    PLA: 210C - 225C

    ABS: 235C - 250C

  2. Make sure the filament idler on the extruder it loose enough to where you can see down past the drive gear (or hobbed bolt) to the bottom hole of the extruder body where the filament will then enter the hot end. To adjust the idler screws, use a 2.5mm hex wrench.

  3. Using a pair of flush cutters (or any strong pair of cutters), cut the filament at a 45 degree or greater angle. This will help guide the filament into the hot end.

  4. Thread the filament through the guide hole, the bottom hole and into the hot end until you see plastic coming out of the nozzle.   

  5. Now you can tighten the screws (and springs) on the filament idler until you can barely push the idler back. Make sure the filament is centered on the drive gear. You can use a flat head screwdriver to help move it into position. If the idler is to loose the drive gear won’t be able to grab the filament.

  6. To make sure it’s extruding plastic properly press the knob on the LCD screen and select Prepare. Scroll down and select Move Axis, select Move 1mm, then scroll down and select Extruder. Select the number of millimeters in the positive direction to extruder filament. This is useful when switching materials and colors.

 

First layer tips and adjusting the Z offset:

We recommend keeping a close eye on the print’s first layers to make sure the nozzle is not crashing into the build plate (too close) or that the nozzle is too far away and the layers are not connecting. You can raise the nozzle up and down in Cura by adjusting the Z offset in the Start/End Gcode tab. Raising the Z offset number will lower the nozzle closer to the build plate. Lowering the Z offset number will raise the nozzle farther away from the bed. We recommend changing this number by + or - .05mm or .1mm per print attempt. Your first layer should be a flat line. If it looks like a rounded bead at the top your nozzle is too far away. If your first layer looks rough, your nozzle might be too close to the bed causing the filament to squish and spread.  Here's a great video from Doodaddoes troubleshooting first layer problems.

 

Starting a print:

  1. Spray hairspray on the build plate and wipe the excess off with a paper towel. This will help adhere your print to the bed.

  2. Press the knob on the LCD screen

  3. Scroll down to Print from SD Card and select

  4. Scroll down to select the model gcode you want to print

  5. It will take a few minutes for the nozzle and heated bed to heat up. When it’s done preheating the printer will home and then take it’s auto leveling points.

  6. If the nozzle is too close or too far away, you can select Stop Print by pressing the knob on the LCD screen and scrolling to the bottom. Selecting Stop Print will keep the nozzle and heated bed on to the gcode's temperature.  You can also turn off the power supply.

  7. When the print is finished the printer will home axis.

  8. Let the heated bed cool down to around 30C before removing the print from the build plate.

Contact

info@protobuilds.com

305 East Saint Elmo Road Unit 3
Austin, TX 78745


(512) 521-1865


 

Media

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About

Protobuilds is a 3D printing and prototyping company in Austin, TX.
 

We've helped over 400 clients since 2013 with hundreds of positive reviews posted in online platforms.

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