Saturday, December 3, 2016

Upgrading Makerbot Replicator 2 Build Platform to Glass

I recently had to repair my acrylic build platform after I broke it trying to fix a wild curve to the material that had grown worse with time.  Even with the extra couple of mm of material I printed to the center of the acrylic sheet, there was still a noticeable bow. 

I got it working just well enough that I was able to print a glass frame for my Replicator 2 that I found here.   Here it is, clipped in place.  It lost about a mm front and back from the bow in my old build plate.

Unfortunately they didn't have 3/16 glass in town, so I went with thicker instead of thinner, and got a 6.5 x 11.25 x 1/4" glass plate.  They took the edges off and only charged me $10.   There it is sitting on my desk at work.  I got it done at lunch time and it was killing me to wait the rest of the day to get home and try it out.

There it is in all it's glory.  I used some Sugru to affix the platform to the next frame I built.  

You can see how it sits a little high.  Unfortunately I only took off 1mm when I scaled it, instead of about 1.5mm.  Going to print it one more time and try to get it right.  May go ahead and mod it for the missing little bit of space.  Once I get it done I will upload it to thingiverse with a nod towards the creator.

The prints this machine makes now are amazing. I had just figured out how to get a glossy print by printing on packing tape with my old build platform and also using diluted, dried glue stick on the surface. Now I just need the glue stick and a good bed leveling before a big build.

Here is what it looks like before and after.  It is a night and day difference, and remember, just a few days before this not one of my prints ever came off the machine with a gloss finish.

Here is another.

One side effect that I did not expect, is that the inside of the print is twice as smooth using glass rather than the plastic build plate.

I am calling this a win and wish I had upgraded years ago. It is a little upsetting that the glass plate was not the default on an expensive printer.

I am not going to recommend this upgrade for everyone, but if you want to give it a try, what harm is there in printing one part and spending 10 or 20 bucks for a plate of glass?  Especially when the results are like having a much newer, and much better 3D printing machine.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Octoprint on Raspberry Pi works for Makerbot Replicator2 now.

Could not get Makerware to work on the latest Debian installation.  I installed windows and the Makerware software onto a tiny computer I had. I used NoMachine on this computer and a couple of other computers and pad computers to run the Makerware software.

The next weekend I saw that someone had made a plugin to translate between g-code and whatever it is that my Replicator uses.

Installed Octoprint on a micro SD card and put it in a Raspberry Pi 2 B+.
Plugged the card, USB cable, power, and network cable into the PI.
Once the lights stopped flashing, I found out the IP address using my router.
Typed the IP address into a router.
It took longer to come up the first time because on first boot it expanded the hard drive partition to fill up the SD card.

I had to add the GPX plug in and set it up for my model printer.

Then I had to install Cura on my Debian box, configure Cura for my printer, set up a profile for printing with 2 brims.  I tried printing with a raft, but couldn't get the raft off my prints no matter how I set it up.  Saved this profile, went into the setup for the Cura slicer on the Octopi, and uploaded this profile into the Cura module.

Only once this profile is uploaded can you begin to slice and print. When you upload an STL file you get an option to select this profile (or other profiles you also upload) and then you can do nothing, select it, or select it and print it.

Second step was adding a camera.  Found out that the raspberry pi cameras have to have the lenses unscrewed to focus that close, which involves breaking loose some glue holding the lens in place.  I broke one camera, so be careful.  Important note, unplug the tiny little connector before you try this, and then carefully plug it back in afterwards.  Thinking of making a jig so that this process is fool proof.   This is some good info on the whole process of modding raspberry pi cameras.  Found a spanner to make this easy, if you own a 3D printer, or know someone with one. Print two of them.

Just plugging in the camera and booting the raspberry pi I got a good picture under the control tab.  I clipped a lens adapter onto the lens and got a better picture, had to unscrew the lens to get a good focus.