I decided to make the jump to 32bit printing. I upgraded from a stock Melzi on a Monoprice Maker Select v2.1 (a rebranded Wanhao i3, Cocoon Create). I had no real reason to other than I wanted something to do and I figured this would be a good project, and as always I’m looking for better prints. So why not? I got a BIGTREETECH SKR 1.3 and five (5) TMC2208 v3.0 UART ready steppers. I pulled the trigger and went all in head first after a single night of research. To be honest though when I started this journey there was not a lot of info for doing this just yet, the SKR was still pretty new. What info I have found came mostly from some facebook groups (BIGTREETECH) I am in and a few YouTube videos. But as I type this there is now tons of info available, just most of seems to be directed towards the Ender printers, yay.
Things to note up front:
This guide is a long one, I would read this all the way through first it’ll save you a headache. From what I read the TMC2208s don’t support Linear Advance while in stealthchop. It must be disabled and used as spreadcycle over UART instead if you want Linear Advance. The other option is to use a different driver than a 2208 for the extruder. This would get around the Linear Advance issue. It may also be fixed in Marlin further down the line, who knows.
Getting everything setup including the new programming environment was a pain in the ass, hopefully this “guide” will alleviate some of the pain.
I recommend that you DO NOT buy the TFT35 or any TFT (except maybe the new dual mode TFTs). The dual screens can switch between TFT mode and 12864 LCD mode. The TFTs do not have all the functionality of a regular LCD screen. I ordered the TFT35 at first and after two days I sent it back and got a LCD12864 Graphical display instead. Thats the route I am gonna go. The stock screen on a Wanhao i3 is not compatible with the SKR as far as I have been able to find, unless you rewire the plug. The TFT35 was $32 and the LCD12864 was only $12. Heres a good video showing the TFT35.
So I made the jump and upgraded a bunch of shit. I did it for smoother bottom first layer prints (because of the glass) and hopefully no more curling issues. I upgraded to the “Anycubic Ultrabase 3D Printer Platform with Aluminum 12V/24V Dual Power MK3 Heatbed” and while I was at it I upgraded to the Gulfcoast Robotics Y-axis carriage too, as I have read it is wise to do both at the same time and the stock bed plate is usually warped from posts I come across constantly. In fact I went a step further and bought new 40mm and 80mm Noctua fans for the printer too! Happy upgrade day!
I am going to use the 40mm to replace the stock 40mm extruder cooling fan and the 80mm to replace the control box fan(s). I printed a new backplate for the printer. I dug through Thingiverse for a bit and chose one that looked like it had a following and worked well. After printing it I realized I should have maybe dug a little more, it was not easy to install. In fact I didn’t install all of the screws back on because I cannot get an allen wrench in there to do it. But it does the job, and man are those Noctua fans fucking quiet!! If it is sitting idle I cannot tell it is on, it is in my living room. I hear if you upgrade to TMC2130 drivers (with a RAMPS board) then it is this quiet while printing too. Damn!.
I decided to write this up real quick because when I searched for relative content I found shit on it. Searches for Anycubic turns up their printers, so searching for the bed/covering/plate was a pain in the ass. All I found was this. I ended up figuring it out as it’s not that hard but if i was able to read something on it first I probably would have saved my ass about 3-4 hours of head scratching.
Updated: October 5th, 2017
I have a 3D printer, a Monoprice Maker Select v2.1. I have had this thing for a few months now and feel like I have gotten a pretty good hang of it. I can get some pretty nice looking prints out of this thing. So here are my rambling thoughts on 3D printers so far:
Get something entry level your first time around. Don’t go spending thousands of dollars on it, you won’t know what you are doing. You wont know the basics. I nabbed a Monoprice (Wanhao/Cocoon Create clone) Maker Select v2.1. It’s a great entry level printer and for a great price. Once you’ve got it all setup and tweaked it will produce great prints. But it did print pretty decent right out of the box. If I had to choose again I would have gotten the Creality CR-10, but purely for its build size. I have found that I would very much like to produce larger objects. Bigger than the build plate of the Maker Select can handle. The MS is 8″ x 8″ x 7″. The CR-10 is 12″ x 12″ x 15″!! But I have no regrets on getting the Maker Select.
Being that it is an entry level printer and a cheap one from China, it needs some help in the safety “I won’t burn your house down” department. Remember those stupid “hover” boards and the fires? Yeah. So buy a $10 MOSFET to offload the heatbed amperage from the printer board to the more powerful MOSFET. The traces on the printer board cannot handle the amps the bed requires and will eventually burn out. Some people have tried just swapping the plugs for a higher rated plug but thats just bypassing the issue, not fixing it. Don’t do the XT plug mod, it won’t solve the problem.
- Wire up the and install the MOSFET immediately, there are tons of tutorials and YouTube videos for it, its pretty simple. Order the MOSFET and printer at the same time.
- Level that bed, then level that bed. Then level the bed. Then level the bed. Seriously. This is THE most important step out of everything minus the MOSFET. If you are not level you WILL have issues of some kind.
Level the bed again! This WILL be the hardest thing you have to do. There are many methods to do this, find one that works for you. For me I use a single piece of paper. With a cold bed and a cold nozzle I will slide the paper between the nozzle and bed and loosen the bed screws until its a snug fit but still moves. Then when I heat up and print (I use a 0.2mm first layer) everything is rockin.
- Make sure you’ve squared your printer. It did NOT come that way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaroNfMVE4M
- Make sure all the scews are tight
- Print some Z-axis levelers, and make sure they are level to the bed.
- I would order at least (2) 5150 radial fans to replace the 40mm stock fans. They suck and are loud, prone to failure. Or upgrade to noctua ($$) fans as people suggest.
- A lot of people replace the electronics box fan with a 120mm for air flow and noise.
- Print some Z braces. AzzA’s Z-brace is pretty nice, thats what I went with. But now there are rear Z-brace kits. I’d rock one of those if I had to do it again. Check out “Z-brace yourself” on Thingiverse.
- Get a glass bed. This is next on my list of upgrades as well as… I want those glass smooth first layer surfaces.
- Ditch the thumbwheels on the build plate and print some new ones, use M3 nylon nuts. The stock ones vibrate lose over time and don’t hold.
- Print a razor blade part scraper (and this), the default putty knife can damage the buildtak surface.
- Print the cable chain relocation bracket and cable shroud for the extruder head.
- Upgrade and install the MicroSwiss all metal hotend. No more PTFE tubes and I hear it prints so much better. This is next on my list of things to-do.
- Get a few rolls of filament in different colors. Stock up. Its nice to have that perfect color needed for something whenever it pops up. Or when you feel like a certain color. Its nice. I use Inland and Hatchbox.
- Get some good superglue for glueing prints together. I use Gorilla Glue Super Glue 10 second bond. Good stuff.
- Get a Raspberry Pi 3 and run OctoPrint (OctoPi) on it for ease of use. No fucking with an SD card, and you get to monitor and control the printer from a browser or cellphone/tablet (TouchUI).
- Get a camera for the RPi to take timelapses or see progress. I use a raspberry pi camera and this mount.
- Use an app. I use Printoid (for Android) to monitor and control the printer from my phone and tablet. It is much better and way more responsive than using the TouchUI.
- Have a ton of things lined up that you want to print, and they better not be fucking fidget spinners! You are gonna have the urge to keep that machine printing 24/7.
- Build an enclosure for it. It prints so much better when enclosed. No air drafts from doors or vents to fudge up your print. Having it enclosed also greatly reduces the amount of dust that will build up on the printer.
- Have some shit on hand for maintenance. Oil and lubes, heh. Got to lube them rods! I use oil on the rods and lithium grease on the screw rods (z axis).
- Print belt tensioners. Ditch the springs and tension the belts. They are probably too loose already, think guitar string. Some people just use zip ties like stock, I like the tensioners.
- Lower your jerk and acceleration settings, as well as your speed. Jerk and acceleration settings you can play with. Most people seem to cut them in half of the default. Setting accel to 800 and jerk to 8 or lower. Speed, I did drop to 40mm/s. I print slow. I find anything over 50mm/s causes visible problems in your prints. My first layer speed I always run 8-15mm/s. Depending on how intricate the design is. This speed gets me screw hole circles perfectly. Over 15mm/s and the filament doesn’t stick for small circles and such, maybe better luck with glass?
- Print a bed cable relief.
- Print some brackets to hold the printer in one spot.
- Print a filament runout sensor.
- I print PLA with a heated bed. Nozzle at 200-215C and the bed at 60-70C. I print directly on the Buildtak (black mat surface) and have zero adhesion issues (most of the time). I don’t use glue or hairspray or anything of the sort. Too fucking messy, and I find it unneeded. YMMV. But I do have issues here and there with edges curling on large prints.
- Get some lighting for your printer. You are going to want some LED lights in your enclosure, or at least on the printer pointing at your print. Because I guarantee you are going to sit there and watch it print. Plus you need the light for the camera (either just to watch or for time lapses).
- Print test cubes and heat temperature towers for every new roll of filament that you get. Every roll is different. I guess you should also measure the filament with some calipers to make sure its 1.75mm (adjust in your slicer if not).
- Get yourself some good fucking calipers!! You WILL need these. To check measurements on test cubes and such to make sure your printer is calibrated correctly. And to help you out when designing and making your own prints (the fun stuff!!).
- Hot glue doesn’t stick well to printed parts, it does and doesn’t.
I’m sure there is more but thats what I have noticed so far.
YES! I finally got one (about a month or two ago), been wanting one for a long time. I did a gig and got some extra funds (mainly, I was able to finally talk the wife into it). So yes, I got a 3D printer!! I did about three days of research and Googling. I had thought I found one and I was about to buy it, then of course, I found another one that caught my eye, it happened to be on sale, so I ended up doing research on that one too. It turned out to be a lot better. Metal body not acrylic. So I ended up with that one. It is a Monoprice Maker Select V2.1, a rebrand of the Wanhao Duplicator i3. A great machine, and very popular which was a factor in my decision. Great community support. Worked great right out of the box, only took about six screws or so to assemble. I did order the MOSFET board to offload the heat bed amperage. Since the board has cheap skinny Chinese traces it is prone to overheat and melt down. I would like to avoid that. The MOSFET does this.
First thing printed…a liver hahah due to my transplant. Then a replacement knob for our Kitchen Aid Mixer. I have tried to print useful things and not dumb trinkets. I don’t want to fill my desk and shelves with plastic knick-knacks. After I printed a few pieces I went straight into printing printer upgrades. The Z-braces were the first thing I printed and it is the best upgrade I have done so far. It shows immediate improvement on your printed items. Of course, now there is a rear Z-brace kit, which I would have done but I do not want to reprint everything and redo the printer. It is solid so as is, so I am leaving it as is.
So far the printer is awesome. I have many plans for it. I can now print prototypes for my projects and custom boxes for my electronics, this is perfect! I have already started to dabble in creating my own custom “things”.