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3D Printing


During my vtol aircraft build, I had needed a tilting mechanism. I searched RC helicopter parts and some industrial parts. But I realized that their total weight were more than my aircraft lift capacity. I was curious about 3D printers. When I looked their prices, I saw broad range of prices from a few hundred dolars to a few tousend dolars. At the end I have ordered a DIY 3D printer set from Aliexpress. It is a RepRap Prusa I3 based 3D printer and it has following specifications.
  • Model: 3DCSTAR P802MA_v1.9 Auto Leveling
  • Control Board: Melzi v2.0
  • Interface Type: USB
  • Structure Material: Full acylic and metal
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • Layer thickness: 0.1-0.4mm
  • Print speed: 40-300mm/s
  • Filament Material: ABS & PLA HIPS PA WOOD PVA
  • Nozzle size: 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.4mm support                  
  • Max Printing Size: 220*220*240mm
I paid $225 for printer and $40 for custom tax.

You can see my 3D printing process as following. Also I tried to record a video which shows the 3D printing process.

1.Design/Draw 3D part
I'm using Google Sketchup for designing 3D parts.

2. Fix 3D drawing problems
After I design my 3D parts I use Solid Inspector2 (Sketchup extension) to check and fix problems of the parts.

3. Export drawing to 3D printable file
I use STL Import&Export extension to create .stl file.

NOTE: You can also download 3D printable files from sites like Thingiverse. Check this site for a list of best sites for 3D stl files download.

4. Load 3D file into the printer control software
I use Repetier Host as a printer control software.  After loading .stl files into the Repetier Host, you have to place the 3D part as you want to print in the 3D printer. At this point I scaled the 3D part about +%2-3 to compensate the shrinking of the filament during print process.
5. Print settings (will be added soon)

6. Slice the part
After object placement, slice the 3D part to produce 3D printer G-code. The machine uses G-codes to print parts. I use CuraEngine as a slicer.

7. Start the print process with just clicking Start button if your computer is connected to the 3D printer or copy gcode file into the SDcard and insert SDcard to the 3D printer, than start the print process using printer control buttons and LCD.

9. Finish the print process, remove the part and trim the parts if needed.



Problems when I print 3D parts:

Marlin firmware is loaded on the Melzi v2.0 board. When I tried to print ABS, I could not increase the extruder temperature more than 235 C. When I set the temperature to 240 C, the temperature suddenly jumped to 250 C and was falling under 235 C degree suddenly. The error was too regular that it could not be sensor or cabling failure. It should be firmware error. I asked seller for the new firmware. He gave me some firmware files. I tried it but it did not solve my problem. then I downloaded the current version of the Marlin firmware. It was 1.1 rc5. It solved the problem and my printer works as it should be.

How to compile and install Melzi board firmware
1. Setup Arduino IDE
2.Copy Arduino Addons files into the Hardware and Libraries folders
3. Select Sanguino 16M in the IDE menu.
4. Download th latest firmware from https://github.com/MarlinFirmware/Marlin.
5. Compile and upload the firmware.

1 will add more details about the firmware compile and upload process.



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