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- Do not leave the printers unattended. They are fire hazards.
- Some parts of the printer will get hot (the nozzle), try not to burn yourself.
- The printers print with ABS plastic or PLA. These melt at different temperatures, so you will need to make sure the printer you are using is set up for the type of plastic you are printing.
- The basic process for printing a file is this:
Design shape in modelling program - Export to .stl > Import .stl in open source software - convert to gcode > send to printer.
There are firmware settings on the printer, you should not have to change these. There are also settings in your open source software (print settings) you will want to change thse to suit your print (more in following secions)
- Be awesome. Make awesome things!
Warning the Thing-o-Matic is in need of some servicing. The current known problem is that communication errors result in stops and starts through the printing process causing oozing on your print job. The current theory is that when the heated nozzle was upgraded the power supply ended up with not enough current to supply the needed power for the head and cpu. Has not been tested yet. Possibly using one or two of the hackspace variable supplies could be used to test this.
-The Thing-o-Matic is using the mac computer as a controller. Files are imported from STL files. You then compile them to gcode and print. To print from an SD card an extra step is required where you save a file to an SD card and then insert into the T-O-M. Then from the control panel on the mac you send a command to print from the SD card (Currently fails after 10 or so layers)
See http://www.tantillus.org/Tutorials.html for excellent tutorials.
The mendel max was built by Andrew, with lots of help from Loial. Ask them if you have questions about use.
You can always kill the printer by turning the power supply off.
Install Pronterface (you can use other software, like Repetier Host)
All of the 3D printers use open source software to turn .stl files into machine paths.
You will have to find editing software that can export as .stl. These include Solid Works, Google Sketchup (with plugin), Blender, Unity. Etc. If you can't export to .stl right away you can probably find a plugin or use another program to convert the file.
The RepRap Wiki is a good place to go for additional information.
Want something to print? Thingiverse is one of the best sources for free files. Start with something simple to learn how to print.