Success! First Print!

Posted by ShadowRam May 26th, 2013

There it is! My very first print.

I finished the print bed. It is a large piece of mirror over 5mm thick sitting on some Hardibacker cement board, with a layer of Painters Tape. The PLA plastic seems to adhere well to the painters tape.


My first run, I purposefully placed the starting point 1mm above the bed. I was nervous about the print head colliding with the mirror face, and I wanted to do a run ‘close’ to the surface and keep an eye on it. The result after about 30 seconds is that blob of plastic you see on the right.

I then set it to the height I thought would be best, and the result is the cube you see on the left!

As a first print, this is utterly amazing. Especially for a printer that isn’t off the shelf.

It is a 25mm cube.

25.00mm +- 0.10mm in the Y direction
25.30mm +- 0.05mm in the X direction
25.50mm +- 0.10mm in the Z direction

The cube isn’t square. It’s parallelogram slightly. I’m pretty sure this is due to backlash. The X-Direction belt does seem a little loose so I’ll have to tighten that up and test again. Failing that, I might have to replace the belts I have with proper timing belts.

The variance in height 25.6mm to 25.4mm is completely in the Y-Direction. This means my bed isn’t perfectly level, and needs to be shimmed up a bit on the one side. Also the extra 0.5mm in height means I need to adjust the Z-Steps/mm, which isn’t unexpected because I just ball-parked the value.

I also noticed during the print a lot of vibration of the entire unit. I will need to push the printer up against the wall and brace it, also the speed and accelerations set in the software will need to be adjusted. They are pre-set for a small light moving machine, and not a large heavy one like mine. So I will have to adjust and tune those values over time as well if I want to prevent a lot of jerking around.

Overall I’m really impressed and pleased with my first print. The temperatures seem to be good, the PLA is sticking to the bed, and the extrusion rate looks good.

Here are some more pictures, and video




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