Now we will focus on a few mods and programs that will help you get much more from your printer. This is more for the DiY printer but If you bought a lower quality printer the mods listed can help improve prints.
No matter how well your printer is printing you can always make it print just a little better. Even if you think it is fine there are gremlins lurking. Here are a few things you can do to keep the gremlin population low.
1)Bearings and Bushings
Weather you are a bearings guy or a bushings guy, imo both have their place. You should consider upgrading. Nine times out of ten your printer has Chinese bearings in them. Even some high end printers use them. No shame in that but they wear fast and get noisy. They also tend to get clogged with dust making your printer work harder. Even if the bearings were good how many hours have they been put through.If you have put more than 200 hours on your printer it’s time to check your bearings for slop. If they are loose or too stiff replace them. while you are at it check your shafts. By 200 hours you will know if you got hardened shafts of not. If you see and feel grooves Replace them as well this is a sure sign that they put unhardened shafts in your printer and given enough time that can cause all kinds of resolution issues. Buy quality whenever possible. That way you don’t need to replace them as often. Lastly Buy some lithium grease and give all the moving parts a good greasing.
Straight up if you have any of these, Plastic,Acrylic or 3dprinted throw it out. I have had warped Y carriages that couldn’t hold up to bed leveling. Melted X carriages that were printed in PLA and couldn’t take the heat. Even parts that were completely out of alignment after 3 days of printing because the part was printed with no infill…Do yourself a favor the more precision metal parts you can install on the printer the better. In most cases they will add a little weight. The end result will be a much more reliable and precise machine.
If you can afford it get S3D. It just works.The software is easy to setup and easier to use add to that the tutorials and customer service and they will have you printing amazing prints in no time at all. Don’t take my word though check this out.
S3d has become my favorite Slicer. If you want to get the best out of your printer and have tried everything else, give it a try. Honestly I don’t have a lot to say about this that isn’t me praising it. After months of fighting cura and Reptier. S3d was a breath of fresh air.
4)Octoprint and Raspberry Pi
I don’t trust 3D printers. As a rule if you have something that heats up you should never leave it alone. We don’t have that luxury all the time. When a print takes hours or days you can’t always babysit it. I also don’t trust printing from the SD card. This is just because I have generated G code that crashed my nozzle into my print bed and I like being able to easily hit an emergency kill without turning off my printer. Running a printer from your PC is a bad idea as well. Nothing is more aggravating than having your print fail because your PC and printer had a disagreement because it had to do too many things at once. So what is the answer? Run a separate Print server using octoprint. The Problem is to do this you need a second computer. These days this isn’t a problem at all. Pick yourself up a Raspberry Pi. I would suggest the Pi3 because it has on board Wifi and bluetooth making it super easy to setup on your network. Install Octopi on an sd card insert it in the pi. Plug it in and configure. After that you just connect it to your printer and your network. Then your off and printing. you can add a webcam and monitor it remotely as well. Symplify3d works with it as well. Over all this is one of the best things you can do for your printer. The whole unit once setup can hide right inside the printer. It also means you can move your printer anywhere you have wifi. If your brave you can even start prints when you are not home but I strongly suggest you not do that.
Here is one of the best tutorials I have found On setting up Octoprint and the raspberry pi. I watched the video and had mine set up in no time at all.
See you in the next part.