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Hello from the SF Bay Area!


DennisM
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Howdy!

My name is Dennis and my wife and I live in Redwood City, CA. And apologies ahead of time for writing such a lengthy intro but I'm very enthusiastic about 3D printing at the moment, as you can see below. My wife will also agree, "Yeah, he's into it quite a bit and is always in the garage tinkering with stuff."

I'm fairly new to 3D printing. I bought my first 3D printer, a Geeetech Mizar S back in March of 2022. I have really had a lot of fun printing models and also trying to make some new things by combining/subtracting/merging/slicing models into new things via Ideamaker. That's worked out well for me and I'm in the process of learning Blender. Dang that thing is complicated! I say to myself, "I want to stretch this part of a model", or, "I'd like to remove this hole in the model." and so I google videos and it's basically a huge process to do anything. Or at least it seems that way to me right now. Go to this menu in this corner, click to change modes to this..., then right click on this part of the model and pick this from the circle pop up menu. Be sure to select this, etc. aargh it's very frustrating. Anyway, I will try my best to learn Blender but it's been a challenge. Maybe there's a YT video series I can use...

On the 3D front, I spoke with someone at work who has a Prusa MK3S+ printer and she told me lots of stuff, including how PETG is better than PLA and that I should just use PETG. Well when I bought my first printer I got 4 spools of Hatchbox PETG with it. No PLA. Boy, was that frustrating! I had such a hard time trying to print PETG as a beginner, and not fully understanding retractions, temps, print speeds, etc. it made things quite frustrating. I ended up testing the printer with the supplied sample filament, which was PLA, and got a beautiful first print out of the printer. It has auto leveling so that was one factor that I didn't have to deal with. From that day forward I stuck with PLA since it was much easier to print, and had frustrating attempts at PETG over the weeks. I couldn't get clean prints from it, and I swear I tried everything and asked everywhere I could.

At some point in time, I happen to read about the Arachne engine in the new Cura, and then eventually the new Prusa Slicer. I thought I'd give the latter a try and viola -- sliced files in that program printed PETG just fine on my Mizar! I was shocked and also sold on the new Prusa Slicer alpha and used it exclusively. The only thing I miss from Cura is how Cura highlighted potential problems of horizontal surfaces in bright red to alert you to potentially needing to add support to your model. From what I can tell PS doesn't have the same UI feature, although I hope it does somehow.

But after printing some stuff in PETG I realized I didn't like it. I didn't like it because it's "shiny" and I couldn't understand why all the PETG I tried (I had about 10 different spools at this time) were all glossy finishes, which I didn't care for.

At some point in time I stumbled upon something called a Voron printer. This intrigued me and the more I read about it the more I wanted to build one. I eventually bought one of those basic fabric style enclosures that you just drop over your printer. That trapped the heat in and eventually let me into the world of printing ABS and ASA, which I absolutely loved doing. I was really happy with the results from Polymaker ASA and then eSun ABS+. I started printing the Voron parts on my Mizar in ASA but ran into some warping issues, so I jumped ship and continued with ABS+ for the Voron parts. I think this was before I had the magic of Magigoo, which would have probably solved my warping issues. I should also mention at some point I switched to a glass bed and never looked back. I loved the adhesion of glass, and the ever so awesome crackling sound parts make when the glass is cooling down for me to remove the parts. And that shiny bottom layer! Whew!

I settled on the Formbot kit after reading a lot about the options. The LDO kit was basically out of my price range and I seriously looked into sourcing my own materials, but decided the Formbot kit was a better priced option for me.

The 300mm model I built was a lot of fun to do, and along the way I ran into some neat mods that required me to shift gears a little along the way. These include the new front X/Y idlers, the LDO style electronics bay layout (including the wire channels), toolhead PCBs, hall effect X/Y endstops, sexbolt Z stop, Nevermore air filter, and after having trouble trying to get the supplied Omron prox sensor probe working I switched it over to the Euclid probe with a gantry mounted dock.

I love Klipper and how it's whole ecosystem works -- it's really cool. Coming from a programming and linux systems admin background it's right up my alley. I am still working on fine tuning things, and love the new "Z calibration" script that auto sets the Z height for you based on bed measurements. My next mod is the nozzle brush cleaner, although I am concerned about the potential for it touching the Euclid probe part on the toolhead. I have some of that yellow tape I'll use, but I'm hoping I can mount the brush low enough that there's no chance of it contacting the Euclid electronics.

Well, thanks for reading my long introduction, and if you've made it this far I'll reward you with photos of the build, with this link.

Thanks again for reading,

Dennis

 

 

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Hi Dennis

Welcome aboard and don't apologise for a lengthy introduction. It's always good to get to know people. I was about to congratulate your wife on  also being enthusiastic about printing but then I realised I was reading too much into "also agrees". You've definitely had an interesting journey and gained valuable experience that will be appreciated here.

Love the pictures, we do always love a good build around here, nice neat wiring in the electronics bay. Beyond modding your current baby, guess the onlly question that remains is: What you building next? (For clarity, that'll be another Voron, and we do expect a build diary 🤣 )

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4 hours ago, DennisM said:

I settled on the Formbot kit after reading a lot about the options. The LDO kit was basically out of my price range and I seriously looked into sourcing my own materials, but decided the Formbot kit was a better priced option for me

Great introduction - thank you. Welcome to the forum. Good to see you are using the Euclid probe as well.

4 hours ago, DennisM said:

My next mod is the nozzle brush cleaner, although I am concerned about the potential for it touching the Euclid probe part on the toolhead.

This is the setup I went for - Well away from the Euclid probe and works great

https://www.printables.com/model/201999-nozzle-scrubber-with-a-little-bucket-for-voron-24

 

As seen in the picture(not the best) taken from the top, the Euclid is on the left and the nozzle scrubber on the right - well clear of the probe.

image.thumb.jpeg.954e8f5afdaf6e48911c22a34023595f.jpeg

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That was a hell of an intro! Welcome to the forum. I am familiar with the enthusiasm--that's about how I felt almost a year ago when I first fell down this rabbit hole.

While I run Klicky probe rather than Euclid, my layout is generally the same as @mvdveer shows. I keep the probe locked on the toolhead through my startup procedure, so it's on there while I clean the nozzle. No issues at all, I just make sure to have the toolhead movements keep the probe clear of the brush (i.e., get front-to-back moves done before  and after scrubbing).

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Wow, thanks for all the heartfelt replies and for such a warm welcome! I appreciate all the tips and advice, and will update this thread with my results.

I realize that I completely forgot about mentioning *why* I got into 3D printing at all, which is important. I've known about 3D printing for a long time but just wasn't that interested in it. I work at a fairly large internet-type-of-company and there are lots of smart engineers who deal with 3D printing, including folks who have printers on their desks and in the labs. I just couldn't think of any reason to get one, honestly. Why would I need to print little plastic thingies, anyway? Little did I know...

For Christmas 2021, my wife got me a "Gravitrax" starter kit, which is basically a marble run game where you build a layout of ramps and guide pieces and run marbles down it, propelled by gravity, hence the same. We don't have kids but ended up really falling in love with it, building our collection to quite a number of sets and special pieces. We really enjoy building various layouts and posting videos on YouTube. While doing research, I wanted to have some sort of "elevator" to allow us to build a layout that continually runs on it's own, lifting marbles back to a starting point. As it turns out, there are some on Etsy and I got intrigued as they didn't look like anything I've seen before. I mean they weren't some marble lift from some other product, they seemed to be designed for Gravitrax. After further research I saw that this stuff was 3D printed, so I ordered some of the interesting parts that were different than anything the Gravitrax folks made, and also found a marble lift and ordered one of those, too.

After receiving the items I thought -- why can't I print these for myself? I did some research into 3D printers and saw a plethora of brands and models. I thought, "well, I've heard of Creality, maybe that's good?" but after asking around at work I got this advice: buy a Prusa MK3S+ or a Lulzbot machine. Both were expensive, and I wasn't ready to invest much into the idea, so I looked around on Amazon and found the Geeetech Mizar S, a brand I've never heard of, but after watching some YT vids and reviews it seemed like a good idea and it was on sale for just under $250. Most importantly it had "auto leveling" which sounded like a good idea. I didn't know how important leveling is to 3D printing but I thought as a beginner that would be helpful (it turns out it was!). The auto leveling of the MIzar uses the nozzle itself, so when changing the bed (eventually to glass) the auto leveling works to level the bed. I like the idea that the nozzle itself is also the probe and wonder why that idea hasn't taken off with other brands. I have a friend who follows a lot of stuff I do and he got into 3D printing because of me, and he got one of those Neptune 3 units (~$200) and he says that model uses the nozzle probing method as well.

When searching for Gravitrax stuff on the various model sites (Thingiverse, Printables, etc) there are LOTS of things and I've printed a lot of them. I also like the idea of creating my own stuff for Gravitrax, and sharing them with the community gives me both satisfaction and happiness that others find them enjoyable. And I should add that my wife loves the creations I've made, and we really enjoy some of the 3D printed stuff that I have printed for our Gravitrax setups, including the most important elevator lift, large whirlpool collector, and the fun snake rails that slow the balls down.

Here are some links to things I've mentioned above:

 

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2 hours ago, DennisM said:

wonder why that idea hasn't taken off with other brands

Wonder if it is using some sort of "strain gauge" (not the right term) on the nozzle or using some sort of feedback from the stepper drivers? I suspect one reason it's not more common is that paranoia of crap on the nozzle (or a woren nozzle) affecting layer height. Or perhaps it's just there's so many ways of doing things, why not 😉

Although, I have to say i admire your reason for getting into printing. Not only practical but a shared interest. Sadly, I think a lot of people who enter 3d-printing (and probably end up leaving) delude themselves into thinking they'll be manufacturing [appreciated] presents for the family and repairing all those things around the house. Not saying it never happens but a good deal of pragmatism is required in this lark

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Hi and welcome to the forum. It's great to have anther enthousiast. You'll find plenty of people here to discuss your favorite topic!

 

13 hours ago, DennisM said:

I'm in the process of learning Blender. Dang that thing is complicated!

Have you considered using Fusion360

 

13 hours ago, DennisM said:

PETG is better than PLA

PLA is so underrated, it's cheap, prints easy, looks amazing, is very durable doesn't smell. The only drawback IMO is the very poor heat resistance.

 

13 hours ago, DennisM said:

Coming from a programming and linux systems admin background

OMG a convoluted mind /$ sudo -overwhealmed

59 minutes ago, DennisM said:

I'm wondering if I can throw out some questions I have

You can post them here: https://www.teamfdm.com/forums/forum/18-frequently-asked-questions/

Nice butt side:

clean.thumb.PNG.12d14e2365f77b4ef952a596bf53bf39.PNG

Mine looks likje this:

dirty.PNG.3d12f99e323b2603f3ee3fc2f4da4b18.PNG

🤣

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