Machine Setup/Maintenance (MakerBot)

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Main Article: 3D Printing

Makerbot prints by heating plastic and placing it in layers on the base plate. For this to work the machine must be printing onto a level plate, have enough filament, and maintain proper temperature.

Steps for Printing[edit | edit source]

Before Printing
Generate code before starting.
See Code Generation (MakerBot) for how to generate code.
Secure machine
The printer must be on a stable work surface and must not able to rattle around. Add foam under the feet as necessary.
Turn on printer
Check reel of filament
If empty/too low/wrong color, see Loading/Unloading Filament. If filament is loaded, run "Load" command to verify nozzle isn't clogged. To run "Load" command see Loading/Unloading Filament
Preheat nozzle
On the MakerBot's menu select "Preheat→Heat Nozzle"
Insert SD card
Insert SD Card containing .x3g file.
Starting the Print
Select print object from SD card
Monitor first few layers
If filament is not touching base plate when part is started see Leveling Base Plate
Monitor Periodically
Listen for clicking. This indicates imminent part failure. If part fails see Reasons Parts Fail (MakerBot)
Post Printing
Remove part
Be careful when removing the part as to not damage the tape or bed. A scraping object may be needed but should be used wisely.
Cool extruder
Extruder will cool automatically when print is finished.
Turn off printer
After the fan has shut off, cooling has completed and the printer should be turned off

Secure Machine[edit | edit source]

Makerbot shakes while making parts. If the machine is not secure this can create part deficiencies. Level machine by using a level or simply verify it doesn’t wobble.

Maintaining Tape[edit | edit source]

Masking tape is used on the tray of the MakerBot to make maintenance easier. At the beginning of every print the take a credit card and verify there are no bubbles in the tape and that is it laying flat. Remove bubbles if present. If the tape looks worn and replace it. Tape wears from pulling parts off, heat from the nozzle, and getting oils from hands on it.

Blue masking tape can be found by asking around with the mechanical engineering faculty in Gauss Johnson. When placing new masking tape on the tray make sure it is flat. Any bubbles or overlaps will deform part bases. Also, leave the left front corner tape free. This allows the plastic to stick to the tray ensuring any plastic floating around the nozzle doesn't effect the print.

Properly Taped Tray

Leveling Base Tray[edit | edit source]

The base plate must be level to avoid lopsided parts. The base plate should only be leveled if the second print attempt fails. If the print fails the first time, try lightly lifting the front left corner of the tray so it is almost touching the nozzle. This is necessary because the base plat is warped.

On the main menu, select "Utilities → Leveling" and follow the instructions. When using a paper to check height the friction should be similar to using a set of feeler gauges.

Loading/Unloading Filament[edit | edit source]

The filament will need to be unloaded/loaded if the user wishes to change the color or no filament is loaded. The load/unload commands can also be used to fix a jammed printer nozzle by unloading and reloading filament. Users should go through the load command whenever building parts even if filament is already loaded. This verifies the nozzle is not clogged. Filament should flow freely.

Loading Filament[edit | edit source]

To load filament, run the load command, on the main menu, select "Utilities → Change Filament → Load" and follow the directions.

Unloading Filament[edit | edit source]

To unload the filament, on the main menu, select "Utilities → Change Filament → Unload" and follow the directions.

Preheating[edit | edit source]

Before starting the part, the machine must be heated to the proper temperature for the plastic to flow properly. Typically the Machine will run between 220°-230°C. To preheat select "Preheat" on the main menu.

References[edit | edit source]