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BLTouch on Duet WiFi – Configuration and usage

In a previous post we connected our BLTouch sensor physically to the Duet hardware and made some basic configurations as well.

In this post I’ll talk about Probes and Sensors interchangeably and will be using the BLTouch name/model during this post, as that is the one I’m using to test this.

If you want to read a bit of an intro into the differences between autolevel and autocompensation, I wrote a brief section about this in Is this autolevel?

I’ve had some correspondence with a lot of peopleduring the writing of this post and I’ve come to understand that I need to specify the printertype I’m talking about here. My printers, which I’m using as basis for this post are:

  1. A box type printer with fixed XY gantries at the top, working together using the cross method to move a carriage around (like an Ultimaker and my xBot), and using a single z-motor to lift the z-gantry containing the printing bed surface.
  2. My xBot which uses the same XY cross-method, but has 3 seperate Z motors for the Z axis, making it possible to adjust it automatically for true autolevel.

You can still use all information even if you are using a Tower printer (like Prusa etc), but I am going to be referring to the two machine models above throughout this post.

i know very little about Delta machines, so I haven’t written with those machines in mind. Donate a Delta and I’ll write some how-tos on it 😁

In this blog-post I’ll try to go through different types of more complete configurations and usage scenarios like:

  • Setup BLTouch in Config.g including defining Mesh Grid to probe using M557.
  • Doing a Mesh Grid Probing sequence using G29
  • Doing a Basic Single Probe using G30 before print start.
  • Doing an Advanced Probing sequence using G32 for Autolevel
  • Setup Slizer Startup Gcode to apply our Mesh Grid to the z-plane after doing the Autolevel Probing.
  1. Using a Probe – Intro and Explained
    1. Auto Bed Compensation drop-down menu walkthrough
    2. Summing up
    3. Usage
  2. Wiring of BLTouch
    1. Probe switch function
    2. PWM Channel for Servo Function
    3. Duex owners
  3. Configuring BLTouch
    1. Create a deployprobe.g and retractprobe.g file
    2. Create a BLTouch Macro Group
  4. Change config.g file
    1. Disable Heater to free up PWM pin
    2. Change Endstop Settings
    3. Define Probe Type
    4. Probe Position
    5. Define Mesh Grid
  5. Total Configuration – Summing up
      1. Config.g changes
      2. New Configuration files
      3. Macros
  6. Calibrate our sensor
    1. Find Z-Offset
    2. Run Mesh Grid Compensation sequence
    3. Save Custom named height maps
  7. Before Printing
    1. Homez.g
    2. Homeall.g
    3. Slizer startup gcode
  8. Multi Z-motor setup using bed.g
    1. Z-leadscrew placements
    2. Define XY Coordinates in config.g
    3. Lets have a look at Homing using a Probe
      1. Slizer Startup and Endcode Examples
      2. Single Z-Motor Machine
      3. Triple Z-Motor Machine
  9. Gcodes used

Using a Probe – Intro and Explained

When adding a Z-probe to your 3D Printer it also means introducing a lot of new terms and it requires a fair bit of setup to do and gcodes to learn to use.

Most printers just have some sort of basic limit switch or maybe a hall or IR -sensor for X, Y and Z. This means a G28 command is enough to home all axes.

When using RepRapFirmware a basic homing sequence requires 4 files to work:

  1. homex.gG28 X
  2. homey.gG28 Y
    1. By issuing: G28 XY you can opt to home X and Y at the same time without Z.
  3. homez.gG28 Z
    1. This command will just home Z without the X and Y axes.
  4. The homeall.g file, which is executed using G28 without specifying any axes afterwards.
    1. This file normally homes all axes your machine might have.

Important: When using a Probe located on Z-min (at your nozzle) and using the most basic/normal probetype with 1x Z-motor using Mesh Grid Compensation the Z-Max endstop will be disabled regardless of any virtual axes you might make to get around this issue! 

I am told that his is not the case when using a Delta type Printer. I am not familiar with Delta configurations.

If you have 2 or more individual Z-motors and have configured Auto Bed Compensation in combination with Mesh Grid Compensation a Z-max endstop is mandatory (is it really?) in order for the Printer to calculate your Z plane accurately.

In order to use a Probe we need to configure it using several new M/Gcodes, which we go through below.

We also get a new arsenal of Gcodes to use during startup, and we can use the various functions in the Auto Bed Compensation drop down menu in our web gui:

Auto Bed Compensation drop-down menu walhthrough

  • The actual button Auto Bed Compensation constitutes a G32 which can only be used if you have 2 or more independent Z-motors.
    • When issuing a G32 command, the bed.g macro file is executed.
    • I don’t know how to make the “Show Probed Points” active?
  • The Disable Bed Compensation is used if you have  Auto Bed Compensation in effect but want to disable it.
    • This can also be done by issuing the M561 command which cancels any bed-plane changes you might have in effect by probing (or anything else).
    • The M561 is also placed first in the bed.g file before doing a new Auto Bed Compensation run.
  • G29 – Run Mesh Grid Compensation – Performs a Mesh Probe which is saved to a heightmap.csv file.
    • By probing the bed you automatically enable it as well.
    • You can use custom names. More on this later.
  • The Show Mesh Grid Heightmap displays the grid performed by G29 graphically.
  • The Load Heightmap from SD Card constitutes a G29 S1 command, which you would typically place in your startupgcode file in your slizer after the probing sequence.
  • Disabled Mesh Grid Compensation equals G29 S2 and stops the printer from using the heightmap.

Before we can run G29 we need to define the mesh to probe, which is done via M557 in our config.g file, which we will further down in this post under Define Mesh Grid.

Summing up

  • We setup and configure our Probe/Sensor in config.g
  • Bed.g is only used if we have 2 or more  independent Z-motors. Tower printers would use this method if the Z motors are using seperate drivers.
  • The bed.g file is used to define probe points using M671 in relation to our Z-motors.
  • The bed.g file is not used if we do not have more than 1 independent Z-motor.
  • You can even have multiple differently named heightmaps to use, if you for instance have different plates for different materials.

Usage

  • M561 should always be used before running a new probe sequence of any kind.
  • We use G30 (without parameters) to do to the Z-min probe as defined by G31 in the config.g file
  • If we have 2 or more independent Z-motors we use G32 to do the probing sequence as defined in the bed.g file.
  • Any Heightmaps you want to use is loaded after you have finished your probing sequence.

Wiring of BLTouch

We can seperate the 5 wires of the BLTouch into 2 seperate groups:

  1. Probe switch function:
    The Black (GND) and White (Signal – Z Probe IN) which connects to the Probe Connector on the Duet Controller.

    Note: My “white” wire is red on this photo.
  2. PWM channel for Servo Function.
    The Brown (GND), Red (+5v) and Yellow(PWM) goes either onto  a PWM/Servo connector on a Duex board or we use 3 pins in the 40-pin expansion-connector.
    Note: Regardless of wheter we use a Duex or not, I am going to be using Heater7 in my setup examples, which is PWM channel 5. I do this as it is the last one, so it’s easy to remember and it is physically the PWM channel on Duex which sits closest to the edge of the board.
  3. Here is he complete overview of pins used if you do no have a Duex board.

    1. For Duex owners, the Heater7/PWM5 is the connector you see on the middle left side here and the upper one is the Probe connector on the Duet Controller.

      Note: On the photo I have a resistor installed in the Probe Connector. This is necessary if you are using one of the older BLTouch models without the trace you can cut on the rear of it, to make it run 3.3v logic.
      Note: I had a machine where I thought I had cut the trace, but it wasn’t cut all the way, but it still worked, so you might be able to skip this. Ie mine worked fine even though it was still setup as running 5v logic, which means it was still without correct readings it seemed.

Configuring BLTouch

Now that we have everything hooked up, we need to setup our firmware to be able to use it. This includes creating some files and editing config.g and in some cases also bed.g

Create a Deploy and Retract file

Regardless of setup we need to create a deployprobe.g  and a retractprobe.g file.

  • Deployprobe.g
    M280 P7 S10 I1
  • Retractprobe.g
    M280 P7 S90 I1
    These files are used to execute our probe as needed.

Note: If you use Duex2/5 you do not need the i1 parameter

Create a Levelplate Macro Group

This is not strictly necessary, but really usefull, so go to your Macro area and create a new Directory named BLTouch.

Now we create some macros as shown:

  • Alarm Release + Pin UP
    M280 P7 S160 ; Alarm Release and Push-Pin UP
  • Pin Down
    M280 P7 S10 ; Send PWM channel 7 the s10 (angle) command
  • Pin Up
    M280 P7 S90 ; Send PWM channel 7 the S90 (angle) command
  • Self-Test
    M280 P7 S120 ; Send PWM channel 7 the S10 (angle) command

You might want to create some more macros to quickly run your probe to the center of your bed and each corner etc.

Change config.g file

We need to make some changes in our config.g file in order to make use of our probe.

Please note that some or all of these entries exists in your config.g file alrleady if you used the RepRapFirmware online configurator to create your files.

Disable Heater 7

We use M307 to disable Heater 7 to free up the PWM5 channel for our servo (probe).

I’ve put this down with my oher Heater settings for hotend (M301) and heated bed (M307) in the config.g file.
; BLTouch - Heaters
M307 H7 A-1 C-1 D-1 ; Disable the 7th Heater to free up PWM channel 5 on the Duex board.

Change Endstop Settings

Next up we need to change our Endstop Settings, which is done using M574 gcode

It might look something like this now:
M574 X1 Y2 Z2 S1 ; X home to min. Y and Z home to max. Normally Closed limit switches.
We need to remove the Z2 from this line, and add a new line defining Z as using a probe.

The two new lines are going to look like this:
M574 X1 Y2 S1 ; X home to min. Y home to max. Normally Closed limit switches.
M574 Z1 S2 ; Define Z to use Probe. Home to Min

Define Probe Type

Next up we define our probe type using M558, which is Type 5 in our case:

  • P is probe type
  • H is diveheight, which means how far bed moves down/hotend up, between each probes
  • F is the speed of bed up/down movement. If it’s too slow the Probe pin might hit the bed and cause an error.
  • T is the movement speed between probepoints.
  • The X, Y and Z denotes which axes are used by the probe. X and Y are not used, while Z is.

M558 P5 H5 F500 T4000 X0 Y0 Z1 ; Set Z probe type/mode 5. H=Dive Height. F=Speed the bed moves

Probe Position

Next up we use G31 to define the Sensor’s offset from the nozzle in XY and the Bed in Z.

My carriage with hotend and BLTouch looks like this seen from below.


As you can see, the BLTouch is placed:

  • X is directly in line with the nozzle (X0)
  • Y is -25.3mm in front of nozzle (Y-25.3)
    • Note: if you build my xBot it most likely is further away due to the nature of the Carriage.
  • We start with a Z offset of 0.0mm in regards to actual probe activation and factual distance. This value will be adjust later on, to match our setup.
    • Important: It is important to have Z-offset at 0 before calibrating.
  • P is the value needed to trigger the BLTouch. I’ve seen and tried a lot of different values between 25 and 600 and havn’t noticed any difference. But put a pin on this one in case your probe results are inconsistent.

G31 P25 X0 Y-25.3 Z0.0 ; Z probe trigger value, offset in relation to nozzle. And trigger height adjustment

Define Mesh Grid

Next up we use M557 to define the grid on our printbed we want to probe, in order to create a Mesh the controller can use to compensate for surface inaccuracies.

We start by typing M557 then define start and end points on our X and Y axes. Example below shows how we probe from X5/Y5 to X205/Y165.

The Snn parameter defines the spacing between each probe point, where we have defined it to probe with 20mm interval.

Hint: It can be useful to start out with a big interval like 40mm, to make the probing sequence faster, and it is useful to do some manual leveling based on the probing result.
Afterwards, if you have individually driven motors, you do a fine mest for auto compensation when you can’t manually adjust it any better.

Note: There is a maximum of 400 points available for probing, so making it too fine will result in an error. If you get an error, try raising the Snn parameter.

M557 X5:205 Y5:165 S20 ; Define mesh grid

You could do your Mesh Probe sequence now, but it’s important to calibrate your BLTouch first, by calculating the Z-offset

Total Configuration – Summing up

  • Config.g changes Lets combine all our code snippets and put them in our config.g file at your current Endstop section.
  • M574 X1 Y2 S1 ; X home to min. Y home to max. NC microswitches.
    M574 Z1 S2 ; Define Z to use Probe. Home to Min.
    M558 P5 H5 F500 T4000 X0 Y0 Z1 ; Set Z probe type/mode 5. Not using on XY, but using it on Z.
    G31 P25 X0 Y-25.3 Z0.0 ; Z probe trigger value, offset in relation to nozzle. And trigger height adjustment
  • Disable the Heater PWN channel to free it up for our usage:
    ; BLTouch - Heaters
    M307 H7 A-1 C-1 D-1 ; Disable the 7th Heater to free up PWM channel 5 on the Duex board.
  • New Configuration Files
    Regardless of how your setup looks we also created a deployprobe.g  and a retractprobe.g file.

    • Deployprobe.g
      M280 P7 S10 I1
    • Retractprobe.g
      M280 P7 S90 I1
      These files are used to execute our probe as needed.

Note: If you use Duex2/5 you do not need the i1 parameter

    • Macros
      While not strictly necessary it comes in very handy to have created these:

      • Alarm Release + Pin UP
        M280 P7 S160 I1 ; Alarm Release and Push-Pin UP
      • Pin Down
        M280 P7 S10 I1 ; Send PWM channel 7 the s10 (angle) command
      • Pin Up
        M280 P7 S90 I1 ; Send PWM channel 7 the S90 (angle) command
      • Self-Test
        M280 P7 S120 I1; Send PWM channel 7 the S10 (angle) command
      • It isalso very usefull to creeate macros on various places on your bed. Ie in the front corners, center of bed and center rear and so on, depending on your setup.

Note: If you use Duex2/5 you do not need the i1 parameter

Calibrate our sensor.

Now is the time to define the Z-offset parameter in the G31 command in our config.g which looks like this right now:

G31 P25 X0 Y-25.3 Z0.0

Find Z-offset:

  1. Move your sensor to around the middle of the bed. You might even want to make a Macro for this, as it can be usefull for many different cases.
    1. Herer’s a simply macro I named Move to Centerbed, where I home X and Y first:
      G28 XY
      G1 X100 Y120 F4000 ; Move probe to middle of bed
  2. Move Z untill your nozzle is about 10cm (4 inches) from the bed.
    1. Be ready to click the Emergency Stop in case the probe misbehaves.
    2. Now issue G30 command.
    3. Your BLTouch should now send the Pin Down and your bed should now move up (or nozzle down) untill the BLTouch is triggered.
    4. Hit the Emergency Stop if it didn’t stop or the Pin didn’t drop down.
      1. Go through your deployprobe.g if the Pin didn’t drop down.
  3. With #2 successfull you put your sensor over the middle of the bed and jog Z axis untill your nozzle is touching the bed.
    1. Note: If it refuses to move as it has reached Z-minima you can type in G92 Z5 to tell it, that you are 5mm from Z=0.
  4. Once your nozzle just touched the bed tell the machine we are at Z=0 by issuing:
    G92 Z0
  5. Move Z 10mm away from nozzle
    G1 Z10
  6. Now send G30 S-1 at which point the Pin drops down and the z-axis closes the gap until the BLTouch is triggered. Z now stops moving and reports the current position without changing anything. Note down the reported value.
  7. You might want to repeat the steps 4-6 a few times to insure consistency. I personally just did it 2 times and later did final adjust by looking at print starts.
  8. Mine reported the following:
    G30 S-1
    Stopped at height 0.980 mm
  9. This means I’ll change the Z parameters in the G31 line from 0 to 0.98.
    G31 P25 X0 Y-25.3 Z0.98
    Important: The higher Z value the closer you move the nozzle and bed to each other! It’s better to have a value too low here than too high to avoid the nozzle and bed doing a mating game when homing. 
    Important: If you later redo the offset method you must set the offset to Z0 before starting or it might lead to strange results I’ve found on some occasions.

Run Mesh Grid Compensation sequence

Now that we have all our parameters in place we can run a Mesh Probe Sequence by clicking the “Run Mesh Grid Compensation” via the Drop Down Menu, or just type in G29

This Mesh Grid consists of a lot of X, Y and Z coordinates. It can be very helpfull to use this to do some manual adjustment of the Z plane. Ie, meaning you try to make your printbed as level as possible manually by running some faster rougher sequences, and then use a final high resolution mesh sequence when done.

The first Mesh Probe sequence I ran at 11:23 had a mean error of 0.182 and a deviation of 0.084. In normal words the rear bed was a tad higher than the front, so I gave the center rear screw half a turn and did the sequence again. This time the mean error went down to 0.077 and the deviation also decreased a good deal.

You can hover the mouse over the probe points to see the XYZ coordinates.

By Running the mesh grid compensation sequence by either clicking in the menu or typing G29 it will be saved into the file heightmap.csv and be activated.

Save Custom named height maps

If you use multiple different surfaces as I do, you might want to have several heightmaps on hand.

You can use M374 to save the heightmap with a different name than the default heightmap.csv. Below I’ve saved the heightmap as “bareplate.csv” as this is directly onto the surface of my PEI-Coated aluminium plate.

I’ll be making different files for when I’m using glass for printing Nylon, FlexiPlate for PLA and so on.

In order to use one of our custom named heightmaps we can not just use G29 S1 to load the default map, but instead we use M375 to call up our desired height map:
M375 P"bareplate.csv"

Before Printing

Before we can wrap up our configuration we need to adjust our homeing files to match.

Homez.g

The Gcode G30 is actually enough to deploy the probe and make your Z axis home. I’ve added a line to move the bed to Z=10 after probing like so:

; Homez.g
G30 ; Do a single probe to home our Z axis
G90 ; Make sure we are in absolute mode

G1 Z10 F6000 ; Rapidly move the Z axis to Z=10.

The G30 just probes and set Z to 0. The Offset we configured previously adjust the distance to match.

Homeall.g

I’m a bit confused here actually as it seems the machine uses homeall and then issue homez even if we havn’t made references to it in the homeall.g file.

Can anyone shed light on this behaviour?

Slizer startup gcode

In order to actively be using our Mesh and use the Sensor when we print, we need to add some lines to our slizer’s startup gcode

  • Here I’m first homing my X and Y axis.
  • Then clearing any Bed Transform I might have in place, as it would otherwise affect the probing.
  • I’m then moving the probe to be at the middle of the bed. If it oozes, you might want to omit or change this.
  • I’m then issuing the G30 command which brings my Z axis to close the distance between nozzle and bed and do the single probe.
  • Now it’s time to load the heightmap we have created previsouly using our Mesh Grid. It is important this comes after the bed probe.
    • You either use G29 S1 to load the default heightmap.csv or you use the M375 to load a custom heightmap.
    • I’ve loaded my custom heightmap below.
  • Finally I’m moving the Z to 20

G28 XY ;Home XY
M561 ; Clear any bed transform that might be in place
G1 X104.5 Y130 ; Move Probe to middle of bed
G30 ; Do a single probe
M375 P"bareplate.csv" ; Load my custom heightmap. Otherwise use G29 S1
G1 Z20.0 F6000 ; Move Z to 20

Multi Z-motors setup using bed.g

Now we have all the common stuff in place we are ready to look at the functions where we use the bed.g file to define how our individual Z-motors are placed and react when probing.

Note: Remember I’m talking from a Box Printer perspective here, but you can use it just fine for Tower Printers  just keep my references in mind!

In order to use the multi z-motor functione we use he multi-probe gcode G32 when homing Z, which calls on the macrofile bed.g where we have multiple probe points instead of just using the single probe point defined via M557 in our config.g file, using the single-probe command G30.

Z-Leadscrew placements

In order to put in some meaningfull coordinates in bed.g we need to know where our Z-leadscrews are in relation to our probe.

Here we can see the placement of my 3 leadscrews on my xBot printer, in relation ot the fingerscrews on my bed.

I used the rear center screw to pinpoint the exact XY coordinate of the probe in relation to the screws.

The numbers in the red circles are the placement and numbering of my Z-motors, while the square boxes indicates the coordinate and probe sequence of my bed.g file.

  • The bed.g starts by issuing a M561 to clear any bed-plane fitting/transform we might have in place by a previous probing.
  • Next we clear any heightmap we might have in effect as the height map should only be loaded after performing our bed leveling probe sequence.
  • Deploy our probe using M401 which simply call on our deployprobe.g we created earlier.
  • Now we come to the business of defining where we probe our bed. We issue the G30 command 3 times, starting with motor 1 through 3.
  • It is 3 times as I have 3 independent Z motors.
    • Important: It is very important we use same sequence as we will be defining the leadscrews in our config.g (next step) file using M671
  • The S3 we have listed after our third line of G30 is crucial to the function, as it must be equal to the number of probe points/individual leadscrews we are using.
    • The strange Z-9999 is there as a Z value less than -9999 causes the machine to probe at the current point to get Z, rather than using the given value.
    • If an S field is specified (e.g. G30 P2 X100 Y165 Z-9999 S3) the bed plane is computed for compensation and stored which is exactly what we want here!
    • if using a Tower Printer with 2 individual Z motors, you would put S2 after the last line instead.
  • Now that we have probed one time pr leadscrew and set it up for computation we retract our probe using M402, which just calls our retractprobe.g file.

; bed.g
; Called using G32
; Called to perform True Autolevel using 3-point probe
;
M561 ; clear any bed transform
G29 S2; Clear bed height map

; Probe 3-point
M401 ; Deploy probe - deployprobe.g
G30 P0 X200 Y0 Z-9999 ; Front Right
G30 P1 X0 Y0 Z-9999 ; Front Left
G30 P2 X100 Y165 Z-9999 S3 ; Center Rear
M402 ; Retract Probe - retractprobe.g

Define XY Coordinates in config.g

When using the bed.g file to setup multiply points to probe in relation to the leadscrews, we need to define the XY position of the leadscrews in our config.g file.

These coordinates will be outside our printing area and can as such be much higher and even have negative values.

In order to define these, we use the M671 which I’ve placed above my Endstop section in the config.g file.

We obviously also need to know where our leadscrews are placed in relation to our nozzle, for which I’ve made this drawing:

The coordinates we fill in using M671 are the XY coordinates placed at each of the round numbers, in that order.

Remember you can do this with just 2 individual Z-motors, and as such do not need 3 for full autolevel. Using 2 motors will only level the bed on one axis though, but that is still very neat.

The actual syntax used here is a bit strange as we start by issuing the M671 command, then type the axis in question (X at first), followed by the 3 X coordiantes, seperated by :
Next up we do the same with the Y coordinates and terminated by the optional S3 parameter – not to be confused by the S3 we used above!

I used 3mm in the S as I had some issues with Z sync not working as I wanted it to do. It’s defaulting at S1, so you might do fine without specifying anything for S.

; Define the X and Y coordinates of the leadscrews.
; Must come after M584 (Set drive mapping), M667 (Select CoreXY Mode) and M669 (Choosing Kinematics type)
; Motor order: Front right (1), front left (2), rear center (3).
; Snn Maximum correction in mm to apply to each leadscrew (optional, default 1.0)
M671 X256.6:-53.6:100 Y239.10:239.1:65.50 S3

Lets have a look at Homing using a Probe

Now everything is setup according to our system and we are ready to do an autolevel for the first time.

I’m writing Autolevel as my machine is doing an actual true autolevel. If you use 2 z-motors you “only” level it on one axis where as the Mesh Grid applied after the autolevel is our Auto Compensation.

You need to have homed the X and Y axes before starting, but aside from this, you only really need to type in G32 to do the magic.

It will do a probe sequence on the 3 coordinates defined in the bed.g file and calculate the Z-plane based on these measurements and coordinates of the leadscrews as we just defined in our config.g using M671

If you wonder, my homez.g file just home using a single probe action and rapidly moves the bed down again. I have this in place if I want to redo offset.
; Homez.g
G91 ; Relative Positioning
G30
G90 ; Absolute Positioning
G1 Z20 F4000

Slizer Startup and Endcode Examples

As a rounding up on this post I’m posting my start and end codes on 2 machines:

Single Z-Motor Machine

I’m using Cura as my slizer, so I do not need all the “wait for temperature” gcodes of some other slizers, as these are automatcially in place – except for Chamber Heater, which you must add manually if using such a one.

; Startup Gcode
G91                        ; Relative Positioning
G1 Z-1                     ; Move Z down 1mm
G90                        ; Absolute Positioning
G28 XY                     ; Home XY
M561                       ; Clear any bed transform
G1 X104.5 Y130             ; Move Probe to middle of bed
G30                        ; Do a single probe
M375 P"flexiplate.csv"     ; Load heightmap (you can use G29 S1 instead)
G1 Z20.0 F6000             ; Move Z to 20
G1 X5 Y5                   ; Move Head to front left
G92 E0                     ; Zero Extruder
G1 F200 E15                ; Prime the extruder
G92 E0                     ; Zero Extruder

EndGcode

; End Gcode
G10 P0 R-273.15 S-273.15     ; Turn off Tool0
G10 P1 R-273.15 S-273.15     ; Turn off Tool1
M140 S-273.15                ; Turn off Bed
M106 S0                      ; Object fan off
G1 Z210                      ; Move Z to Z210
G92 E0                       ; Zero Extruder
G1 E-2 F300                  ; Retract 2mm
G92 E0                       ; Zero Extruder
G28 XY                       ; Home XY
M84                          ; All motors Off

Triple Z-Motor Machine

And my startup gcode for my xBot triple Z-motor machine.

; Startup Gcode
G91                      ; Relative Positioning
G1 Z-1                   ; Move Z down 1mm
G90                      ; Absolute Positioning
G28 XY                   ; Home XY
M561                     ; Clear any bed transform
G1 X104.5 Y173           ; Move Probe to middle of bed
G32                      ; Start 3-point probe sequence
M375 P"bareplate.csv"    ; Load heightmap
G1 Z20.0 F6000           ; Move Z to 20
G1 X5 Y5                 ; Move Head to front left
G92 E0                   ; Zero Extruder
G1 F200 E20              ; Prime the extruder
G92 E0                   ; Zero Extruder

My Endcode for xBot

In this one I home it to XY and U. The U is my virtual axis I’ve made for Z in order for it to be able to home to Z max, which I can’t otherwise do.

This doesn’t work with the setup for the single Z-machine. I have not yet had time to see if I can get around this, by using bed.g even though I don’t need it for that one.

; End Gcdoe
G10 P0 R-273.15 S-273.15   ; Turn off Tool0
G10 P1 R-273.15 S-273.15   ; Turn off Tool1
G10 P2 R-273.15 S-273.15   ; Turn off Tool2
M140 S-273.15              ; Turn off Bed
M141 S-273.15              ; Turn off Chamber Heater
M106 S0                    ; Object fan off
G92 E0                     ; Zero Extruder
G1 E-2 F300                ; Retract 2mm
G92 E0                     ; Zero Extruder
G28 XYU                    ; Home XY and U to Z max
M84                        ; All motors Off

 

Gcodes Used

Here’s a list of (some of) the M and Gcodes introduced in this post:

  • G28
  • G29 – Detailed Z-Probe
  • G30 – Single Z-Probe
  • G31 – Set or Report Current Probe Status
  • G32 – Probe Z and Calculate Z-Plane

 

  • M280 – Set Servo Position
  • M374 – Save height map (with alternate name)
  • M375 – Load (custom) height map
  • M557 – Set Z Probe point or define probing grid
  • M558 – Set Z Probe Type
  • M561 – Set Identity Transform (Reset any Mesh probes or adjustments in place)
  • M671 – Define positions of Z leadscrews or bed levelling screws
Posted on

xBot Medium – Mechanical Parts – (BOM cont.)

I’ve previously went over the Custom parts and Electronics and Electrical parts in two seperate posts needed to build the xBot-Medium Printer. This included motors and limit switches, so everything with current in it.

In this final BOM post I’ll list the inert mechanical parts.

I’ve set up a xBot-Medium Github Repository where the files can be found for this project. As I havn’t finished it yet, all the files aren’t there, but they will be! Only the .STP files for the Dibond frame pieces and some a few for printed parts are missing, so it’s pretty much complete allready.

A complete BOM file is in place in the Github Repository.

This post is sorted in the following categories:

  1. Parts for the XY Axes
    1. 200-GT2 Belts
    2. 20-GT2 5mm bore Pulleys
    3. 20-GT2 8mm bore Pulleys
    4. 610-GT2 Belts
    5. Sliders
    6. LM6LUU
    7. Spacers
    8. Flanged 688 bearings
  2. Parts for the Z-liftplate
    1. Anti-backlash nuts
    2. 12mm flanged bearings
    3. 8mm flanged bearings
    4. Fingerscrews
  3. Screws and nuts
    1. Screws for Z-Stage
    2. Screws for the Frame
    3. Motors
      1. Motorshields
    4. Limit switches
    5. Under the machine
      1. Z-Rod brackets
      2. Connectors
      3. Duet WiFi and Duex Mounting
      4. Powersupply
      5. Chamber Heater
      6. SSR

1) Parts for the XY axes

Lots of parts going into this contraption. It IS one of the key parts to make this printer design so successfull. It’s not really that complicated once you wrap your brain around how it’s working though.

200GT-2 Belts

Price # €0,33 total for 2pcs: €0,66 from Robotdigg

We basically have 1 motor pr axis. They each use a short 200-GT2 belt to push and pull at the end of one 8mm rod pr axis.

20-GT2 5mm bore Pulleys

Price each €1,33 for both from RobotDigg €2,65

In order for our motors to make use of the 200-GT2 Belts, they each need a 20-GT2 Pulley with 5mm bore.

20-GT2 8mm bore Pulleys

Price for 10psc at RobotDigg: €6,22

At the end of each 8mm rods there is a 20-GT2 pulleys connected to the opposite 8mm rod for that axis with the closed 610-GT2 belts.

At the furthest end of 1 rod of the X and Y axis, there is an extra 20-GT2 Pulley, where the belt from each motor is connected to.

It means when motor Y pulls at the end of Rod 1 for Axis Y that entire rod turns around. Via the 20-GT2 pulleys in each end, and the connected 610-GT2 belts makes the corrosponding second Y rod turn synchronized.

Same goes on for the 2x 8mm rods for the X axis.

610-GT2 Belts

Price for x4 from RobotDigg: €2,98

We have 4 of these 610mm closed/endless GT2 belts which are used on each end of each pair of 8mm rod for X and Y axis.

Sliders

Price for 4sets €8,6

1 set is made up of 2 plastic parts a spring and a selfgraphite bushing 30mm long 8mm inner 12mm outer diameter

Sliding along each 8mm rod, there is a “Slider” which slides along the rods by utilizing a 30mm long 8id/12od mm self graphite bushing.

Each Slider can be split in two in order to run one side of the belt through the middle of it. The belt is is fastened in the middle using a small spring, which also helps ensuring the right tension and even makes up for some small inaccuracies you might have in the axes.

Each slider then runs along/on an 8mm rod. Pulled long by its own 610-GT2 belt. Each axis consists of 2 sliders connected with a 6mm rod where the Carriage with hotend is located on the cross-section between the 6mm rods of the X and Y axis.

The rods rotate as part of how they pull the sliders, which is the reason for the bushings as ball bearings would break down here.
The bushings also means extremely quiet running, which is just awesome.

Contrary to the sliders, the Carriage uses 2x LM6LUU ball bearings as the 6mm rods aren’t rotating, and also to provide a bit of compensation for tiny inaccuracies in the construction – ball bearings have build in about 1% give.

It all means there is equal identical directional force being applied on both sides of the carriage, so we do not experience any form of skew on the carriage as with CoreXY.

The bushings are listed as not requiring lubrication, but they really do benefit from a bit of lubrication. Especially if you buy cheap rods with bad tolerance. Many cheap rods are too big, which might be nice for ball-bearings (remember the 1% tolerance), as it gives a tighter fit, but with bushings it just means more friction, noise and potential bad print quality. You might also experience problems inserting the flanged bearings onto the ends of the rods, if you buy cheap rods.

Use acid free clear and thin sewing or cycle oil. Or PTFE spray, which I’m using.

 

You can get all sorts of upgrades which are mostly relevant if you tend to pick your machine apart a lot.

In those cases the plastc sliders rapidly degrades and after a few times they no longer grip onto the 6mm rods very well.

For such cases, you can get various different Aluminium sliders. I have these linked parts, but other variations also readily available now.

They do cost over €30 though for a set. Beware the dimensions for rods as some of these use 8mm cross rods instead of the 6mm we use.

 

LM6LUU

Price for 2: €3,16

As decribed above, we need 2x long 6mm ball bearings for our Carriage. You might be tempted to use Bushings here, but if you have the slighted misalignment they are going to make grinding noises and ruin the print. These bearings also help compensate a bit for misalignment, as the balls have a build in 1% give.

You might want to buy extras, as you need to change them now and then – when they begin to rattle.

Spacers

Price for a bag €4,7

We need some accuracte plastic spacers M8,2x14x5 (inner, outer, height) at the end of all our 8mm rods for the X and Y axes. They go between the 20-GT2 pulleys and the outer flanged bearing in the side of the frame.

It’s important they are uniform in size, so I really prefer to buy these instead of printing them. Especially since a bag with 200x spacer 5mm thick costs less than €5. Such a bag has served me in multiple builds. You can’t use a spacerset from Ultimaker 2 as we use more spacers than they do. It wouldn’t save us any money regardless if we could use it though.

Specifics:

I don’t even know if you can get them in pieces 15 or 25mm long, but this listing shows the fewest, longest pieces possible.

It is 150mm total, so if you get a back with 5mm long/wide spacers, you need 30 of those.

  • 4x 25mm long
  • 2x 15mm long
  • 2x 10mm long

Flanged Bearings

Price for 8 at RobotDigg €3,32

Our 8mm rods are inserted into a single F688 Flanged Bearing at each end, so we need 8 of those.

If you find you can’t get them onto your 8mm rods I’ll wager it’s due to bad quality rods and you should demand the money back.

2) Parts for the Z-liftplate

We allready went over the Z-liftplate and the heated bed itself in the first 2 posts, and we’ll look at the bits and pieces here.

Antibacklash nuts

Price for 3 from RobotDigg €7,46

We are going to be using 3 of these nuts for our Z-stage. We use these as they are cheap and direct replace for standard lead scerw nuts. The reason for using Anti-backlash is to avoid issues with Backlash which might show some, especially when doing Z-lift during prints, but also after a while, when the nuts and/or rods are a bit worn.

The Anti-backlash nuts compensate for the wear and tear and also for bad quality the lead screws, and even the nuts themselves, might have.

The partnumber is B-ABN88 where the 88 is 8diameter and 8mm travel pr rotation. Also call “Lead”.

   

You might wonder about what Backlash is, so you should head over and read this nice post about it.

Both these images are from the post on Backlash on liutaioMottola.com

12mm flanged bearings

Price for 2 LMK12LUU €4,64 from RobotDigg

We use 2 of these to for the rear end of our Z-liftplate. They provide a nice large surface area to use as stabalizer for our plate as it goes up and down.

8mm flanged bearings

Price for 2 LMH8UU: €4,14

We use  2Pcs of these LMH8UU ellipse/oval flanged ball bearing to support each of the front Z-axis motor.

Fingerscrews

Price for 3 sets €3,39

We need 3 sets of these to adjust our Heated Bed.

Each set consists of a fingerscrew (which comes in gold and silver) a powfull spring and a m6 washer + 20mm m3 flat head screw to sink into the countersunk holes in the heated bed

 

3) Screws and Nuts

You can get a complete list of all items needed, included a listing of the screws and nuts from the xBot Medium Github Repository. Look for the xBot Medium-BOM.pdf file

Screws for Z-stage

A complete listing of screws for the Z-stage. I’m not listing price for these.

Only thing of note here is the fact that we are using m3 square nuts for the frame as these sits better in the cutouts. Aside from this, all parts are totally standard.

Screws for the Frame:

  • Right side:
    • 12x m3 16mm Button Head Screws
    • 12x m3 Square Nuts
  • Left Side
    • 12x m3 16mm Button Head Screws
    • 12x m3 Square Nuts
  • Front
    • 5x m3 16mm Button Head Screws
    • 5x m3 Square Nuts
  • Back
    • 6x m3 16mm Button Head Screws
    • 6m m3 Square Nuts
  • Door Hinges
    • 4x m3 10mm Button head Screws (might change)

Motors

  • Z-Motors
    • 12x m3 10mm Button Head Screws
  • XY Motors
    • 8x m3 30mm Button Head Screws
    • 8x m3 Metal Spacer
Motorshields
  • 8x m3 10mm Button Head Screws

Limit Switches

You can either use 2.5mm screws + a nut or an m3 screw if you tap the switch first. I like to tap mine.

  • Z-Max Limit Switches
    • 6x m3 10mm Button Head Screws
      or
    • 6x m2.5 12mm Screws
    • 6x m2.5 nuts
  • X and Y Limit Switches
    • 4x m3 10mm Button Head Screws
      or
    • 4x m2.5 12mm Screws
    • 4x m2.5 nuts

Under the machine

Z-Rod brackets

  • 12mm Z-rod Brackets
    • 4x 12mm m3 Button Head
  • 8mm Z-rod Brackets
    • 4x 12mm m3 Button Head

Connectors

  • Front USB
    • 2x m3 10mm Button Head Screws
  • Rear USB
    • 2x m3 20mm Button Head Screws
  • Power Connector

Duet WiFi and Duex Mounting

  • 8x m3 10mm Button Head Screws
  • 8x m3 8mm Button Head Screws

Power Supply

  • 4x m4 10-12mm Button Head Screws

Chamber Heater

  • 4x m4 20mm Button Head Screws

SSR

  • 2x m4 20mm Button Head Screws
Posted on

xBot Medium – Electronics and Electrical parts (BOM cont.)

In this post I’ll continue describing what is needed to actually build the xBot-Medium printer. Last time I talked about the Custom Parts, and this time it will be about the Electronics and Electrical parts.

I’ve set up a xBot-Medium Github Repository where the files can be found for this project. As I havn’t finished it yet, all the files aren’t there, but they will be! Only the .STP files for the Dibond frame pieces and some a few for printed parts are missing, so it’s pretty much complete allready.

This post is going to be about the Electronics and Electrical parts we need for the xBot-Medium 3D Printer. I’ll list the Mechanical parts in a later post.

All “BOM” posts here on my blog are going to be condensed into a BOM in list form on the x-Bot-Medium Github Repository.

Some parts are both electrical and mechancial, like the motors, and such items are added to this post, while the Mechanical parts post are going to be the completely inert like the various pulleys, belts, nuts and such.

This is mostly going to be a list without a whole lot of exlanation to it.

xBot Medium electrical and electronical listing

  1. Duet WiFi
    1. Thermocoupler Daughterboard
  2. Duex5
    1. Consideration if choosing Duex2
  3. PanelDue 5″
  4. BLTouch SMART
  5. Heated Bed
    1. AC Silicone heater 500w
    2. SSR
  6. 3x Z-Motors
  7. XY Motors
  8. Extruder(motors)
  9. Chamber Heater
    1. 3x 30mm fans
  10. 2x 30mm fans for Printed objects
  11. Powersupply
  12. LED – RGB
    1. Manual on-off rocker
  13. Various
    1. Limit switches
      1. Long arm
      2. Short arm
    2. Front USB power out
    3. Rear USB for Controller access
    4. AC Power plug and on/off
    5. GX12 and G16 connectors
  14. Carriage
  15. Hotend
    1. Thermocoupler
    2. Plated Cobber nozzle
    3. 40w Heater Cartridge
  16. Untill next time

 

Duet Wifi

As the main controller, I’m using the Duet WiFi from duet3d.

Price: inc 20% vat: €162,3

While the price does seem rather high, you should take all the features in consideration.

Quality
Best quality of any controller. Simple as that. Both regarding features and quality. There are many safety features build in, like it doesn’t burn if a driver or sensor is accidentially unplugged while power is on, which is the main cause of dead electronics for many people. It doesn’t require active cooling as it get rids of the heat through PCB surface – active cooling is always a good idea though, but it’s not a requirment like pretty much all machines using pololu drivers.

Drivers
It’s top of the line quality and uses 5x TMC2660, which are the highest end drivers you can get on any controller. They are very powerfull SilentStep Sticks (big brother to TMC2100/TMC2130) and can drive up to 3amp pr driver. Most people end up going out and spend money on silent step sticks anyway, which easily ends up at €50 for a set of those – and you can’t buy TMC2660 pololu sticks.

Remote
At some point many people start looking at a remote way to control and monitor the printer, and end up going out to buy a Raspberry Pi, which is another €35.
Regardless of what solution people use they don’t ever get close to the integrated webserver allready in the Duet WiFi. It’s hugely powerfull and very responsive. Has a ton of usefull information, and you even use it to setup the entire printer, so no need to compile firmware on your printer and then transfer using USB.
Since it’s integrated it also talks directly to the controller instead of using USB.
It also provides for real time changes in setup of most settings. Change fans, extrusionrate and LED using sliders etc etc.

Features

From the official Duet3D Features page.

Feature list
From Duet3d.com site

The DuetWifi is an advanced 32 bit electronics for the control of 3D printers and other CNC machines. It has the same features as the Duet Ethernet other than providing a WiFi connectivity rather than ethernet, full feature description is available on our wiki, in summary:

  • Powerful 32 Bit Processor
  • Dedicated Wifi module
  • Super quiet TMC2660 stepper drivers, up to 256 microstepping.
  • Dual extruders on the main board, up to 5 more extruders on the expansion board.
  • High Power rating: Each stepper driver is capable of 2.8A motor current, currently limited in software to 2.4A. The bed heater channel is specifically designed for high current (18A).
  • Connect via PC, tablet or smartphone on the same network to the on board web interface.
  • Setup your printer and update the firmware through the web interface.
  • Expandable up to 7 extruders with Firmware support for mixing nozzles and remapping axes to use high power external drivers.
  • Support for the PanelDue: a full colour graphic touch screen

Thermocoupler Daughterboard

Price inc 20% vat: €31

To be honest: Im not a fan of this design (put mildly)! I find it rather cumbersome how it’s stacked like that, and it can easily fall out if mounted upside down.. and thus prone to failure. The small terminals are very unforgiving as well, so can be hard getting a good connection.

As much as I find the price warranted for the Duet WiFi, I do look at these things the opposite way…

But while we supposedly can use 3rd party solutions I havn’t managed to make anything work, or seen anyone making anything work, so if you want to use Thermocouplers (top board below) or PT100 (big lower board) you have to use the official Duet Daughterboards.

If you know of a sure way to make 3rd party boards to work, please let me/us know! Not just a link to the right chip, it must be a complete solution 🙂

Photos from official Duet3D shop.

Usage in build:

1-2x Thermocoupler Daughterboards, price total €31-62 inc 20% vat!

I’m going to use Thermocoupler for my hotend and for the heated bed as they react much faster and are much more accurate than standard Thermistors. It’s also a must for hotend if you want to print over 280c as a thermistor dies at 290c or so. Thermocoupler and PT100 sensors don’t tend to die on you like Thermistors can either, so it’s a one-time purchace.

I’m still a bit undecided as to wheter I want to use a Thermocoupler or a plain Thermistor for temperature sensing in the chamber. It’s really a high price to pay for this, but lets see if I get any sponsoring for the project.

I used to use PT100 before starting to use Duet, but the PT100 daughterboards were much, much more expensive than Thermocoupler boards, so that is the only reason I use Thermocoupler. There is no actual difference in usage. PT100 should be less prone to suffer from interference, but wheter that transfer over in reality is always questionable 🙂

Duex5

Price: inc 20% vat: €111,6 for Duex5
Price: inc 20% vat: €77,8 for Duex2

The Duet WiFi has 5 drivers, so you might actually do ok with Duex2 if you only want 1-2 Extruders. There used to be other differences, but not anymore.

Driver assignments

  • 1 for X
  • 1 for Y
  • 3 for Z
  • 1-2 extruders. (Can use Duex2)
  • 3-5 extruders. (Need Duex5)

The Duex2/5 boards has the following features:

The Duex2 and Duex5 has the same feature list aside from the first 4 points here, listed as 2/5:

  • 2/5 additional TMC2660 stepper motor drivers with stall notification.
  • 2/5 additional extruder heater outputs.
  • 2/5 servo outputs with 5V power and 5V signal levels, sharing control channels with the heaters, so you can use unused heater channels to drive servos.
  • 2/5 additional endstop inputs with indicator LEDs and 3.3V/5V voltage selection. These are also usable as outputs.
  • 6 additional controlled fan outputs, also usable for driving LEDs etc. The output voltage may be switched between 5V, 12V and VIN.
  • 4 uncommitted general purpose I/O pins.
  • 12V switching regulator, for generating a 12V supply for fans, LEDs etc. when the VIN power is higher than 12V.
  • 5 additional thermistor inputs.
  • Support for 2 more thermocouple or PT100 daughter boards, supporting up to 4 more sensors.
  • Optional 5V external power input for powering servos, fans etc.

Official complete feature list and comparison.

Considerations if choosing Duex2

While researching this I learned the difference between Duex 2 and 5 is only the 4 first points in the above list.

I thought Duex2 would have less fan headers as well. Last year Duex2 also didn’t come with the 12v switching regulator.

It all mean you can pick Duex2 if you don’t plan on using more than 2 extruders, but have to pick Duex5 if you plan on using more than 2 Extruders.

PanelDue 5″

Price: out of stock?
Price Filafarm; inc 19% VAT: 4.3″ €99,89
Price Filafarm; inc 19% VAT: 5″ €109,9

Lets say it as it is: You don’t really need a screen. The Web GUI is just that awesome!

I used my first Duet WiFi printer for over a year without getting around to using the PanelDue I had lying around as the Webinterface is just so super nice and lets face it, these things are really expensive as well.

Price vs performance

It really is a matter of usage preferences as they are stocked full up with features, like:

  • Buying a PanelDue gives you external SD card access (the big SD card type).
  • True serial connection, so full control of the machine (unlike cheap MKS displays which doesn’t really talk to the controller, but only sends commands
    • I mention MKS as someone has worked up an alpha firmware for them, so they might be able to work as standin for PanelDue (using serial)).
  • One awesome thing, which I havn’t seen mentioned elsewhere is how the macro’s you create in Web GUI are transferred to the display as menues and buttons completely automatically. This is awesome, and a super way to stack up on functions: ie i you often do some thing like changing filament, you can make a macro to heatup and retract etc.

Here you can see how I made a few macros to test movement on my previous printer project:


I use the display a lot on my BeTrue3D Printer due to it’s many extruders, but on my normal primary machine I only really use display to check up on temperature at a glance and such.

If that is how you use display as well, you might want to try using the machine without the LCD. Might just use an old phone or tablet, although the response would not be almost instant.

BLTouch SMART

Price Filafarm inc 19% VAT €39.90

We use this sensor to ensure correct distance betwee hotend nozzle and print bed and also to take advantage of our 3-motor Z-axis for complete true autolevel function.

Since the xBot-Medium is 10mm deeper than an Ultimaker 2+ we can now squeese one of these in in front of our hotend.

It’s a combination of a normal limit switch functionality and a servo motor to raise up this switch after engaging, which was a somewhat common solution some years ago. ANTClabs combined these things an came up with the BLTouch.

Lets start by saying: Don’t buy copies. Just don’t. There is a huge difference in quality and you really want these things to work 100%.

If you look around you find a lot of people having problems.. when you dig in, you find that all the people having issues are using copies.

You also want the newest version, called SMART. You can check the difference by the sticker labeled SMART, by the tip of the probe-pin and the BLTouch also needs to have serial number printed on it, which can be verified a

 

 

Heated Bed

Price from clever3d.de inc VAT €54-71

I’m using a 5mm thick PEI-Coated Aluminium bed with an AC Silicone heater under.

You can pick from 2 different qualities and several different colors and even get logo or text lasered into the surface.

The price at €54 is the lowest price uses a cast aluminium plate, while you can get a milled plate at €71. I’m honestly not sure what my plates are, as I couldn’t choose quality back then.

Be sure to pick the Ultimaker 2 257x229x5mm under dimensions.

Email the owner to agree on color and price etc, and to be sure the plate comes with holes for fingerscrews… it should as he’s using my drawings for these plates <wink>

I print PLA, ABS+ and PETG on it with great results. I’ve heard people say PETG sticks too hard, but I’ve had no problems with anything.
I do have seperate glass plates I put on top of my bed when I print Nylon (glue on glass). Some PLA don’t want to stick very well to this plate unless I heat it a lot, so sometimes use glass for PLA as well.

AC Silicone heater 500w

Price from Keenovo €40,5

Specifications: 200X240mm 500W 220V build in Thermocouple Type-K sensor.
Link to same version with Thermistor instead of Thermocouple sensor.

As most everything else, there are different levels of quality, and the same goes for Silicone heaters. I’ve come to like the market leader Keenovo heaters and am using one of their heaters for the xBot-Medium printer.

They come with build in wires for the heater itself and wires for Thermistor. I’ve asked them if they can build in Thermocouple instead, which they agreed to do, so now I’m just waiting to recieve my super nice Heaterpad.

These pads comes with high quality 3M tape preapplied to one side.

SSR

Price (RobotDigg) €4

SSR10A DC-AC Solid-state Relay

There are many copies of Solid State Relays (SSR) on the market, so make sure to buy from somewhere you trust. I’ve bought SSR from RobotDigg several times, and always recieved good ones.

Make sure you buy one labaled as DC-AC as it is controlled by DC from our Duet and then in turn controll the AC input to the bed. The AMP is really only important if you use a DC-DC SSR – ie if you have dedicated DC powersupply for your bed, then the SSR must be able to handle the amount of amperage you put through it.

3x Z-Motors

Price from RobotDigg: 3x €26,7 = $80
SKU: 17HS3001-280N w Lead Screw: 280mm long, Tr8x8(P2)

Many people are using various couplers, but I really prefer using motors with embedded lead-screws. Seems the Quality Control is much better on these than the loose lead screws we can buy. At least if we don’t go out and pay a lot of money for them.

Regardless though, we need motors with embedded lead-screws to take advantage of our entire Z-distance. If you use a coupler you would sacrifice about the length of the coupler on Z axis height.

These motors comes with a POM nut, but we can really use it as they are too large to fit in there. I could have modified it some I gues, but I also really want to use the anti-backlash nuts instead, which are cheaper to replace in case of wear and tear.

Specifications of the motors

Threaded Rod NEMA17 Stepper body 40mm lenth, 280mm Tr8*8 Leadscrew and POM Nut

The NEMA17 Threaded Rod Stepper Motor has a precision Acme Tr8*8 Leadscrew coming out directly from the nema17 as a Threaded Shaft.

200 steps per revolution (1.8 deg/step)
2 Phase, Bipolar, 4 wires
Rated Voltage 2V DC
Rated Current 1.2A
Phase Resistance: 1.7 Ohm ± 10% (20º C)
Phase inductance: 4.5 mH ± 20% (1kHz 1 V rms)
Holding torque: 0.4 N.m Min.
Motor body length: 40mm

Acme Lead Screw: 280mm long, Tr8x8(P2)
Nut: POM

The Tr8*8(P2) means it is 8mm in diameter and one revolution give a travel distance of 8mm. It has a pitch of 2mm which is the distance between the raised “edges” (leads). It has 4 starts, meaning 4 seperate “raised edges” (starts).

X and Y Motors

Price from OMC-Stepperonline.com 2x €11,9 = €23,8

For X and Y axis I can use high quality 0.9 degree stepper motors, as I made room for motors with a body length of 48mm instead of the normal 40mm length available in an Ultimaker 2

It means I can use the best quality and best suited 0.9 motor I’ve been able to find for the X and Y axes, namely the 17HM19-2004S from OMC-Stepperonline.com.

You might ask: Why not just use some smaller 0.9 motor? Lots of those have high holding torque and ok amperage etc etc… good question!

Problem is however, that between the pancake model I use for my extruders and up to this powerfull full size motor, they all have really high Inductance raiting, meaning they are slow!

Additional resources

Extruder(motors)

Price for 17HM08-1204S from OMC-Stepperonline.com (48mm long) €11,9
Price for 17HM08-1204S from OMC-Stepperonline.com (21mm long) €9,9

I’m going to be using 2 different motor types:

  • The same large 48mm size as used for X and Y meant for 2.85/3mm filament, as they do require some extra power.
    • See specifications just above
  • I’m using the panckage nema 17 which is just 21mm long for my normal 1,75mm filament. These are more than strong enough and really a perfect fit.
    • Note: You can use these for 2.85/3mm as well, but have to give them more current than when using them for 1,75mm. Might need to put a heatsink on it as well, which is why I simply opt to use the larger motor for the thicker filament.
   

This small motor is awesome! Plain and simple.

You might wonder at the small size for an extruder, but by utilizing it’s awesome specifications with it’s 0.9 degree steps and powerfull 11Ncm / 15,6oz.in / 1,12kg/cm holding torque inserted into my Belted Extruder v4 it’s packing an awesome package that runs smooth, silent and cool!

Specialize brackets for my Belted Extruder v4 to quickly mount and dismount them on the xBot-Medium will be released.

Additional resources

Chamber Heater

Price eBay €4,75

I’ve bought a 200w 24v heater wiht the dimensions: 140 x 32 x 26 mm. I actually bought mine from Amazon.de, but it’s not available anymore.

Be sure to buy a 24v version. I accidentially bought 12v at first. It’s listed on the side of them. The photo below with measurements on it displays a 12v heater.

It’s really just a small heater element so we need some fans to blow the heat up into our Chamber.

So far I’ve just set my heated bed at 140c degrees and waited for the temperature to reach 40-50c before I started printing Nylon and such.

To be honest I don’t generally need a heater, but I wanted to add one, now that i started from scratch. All materials, including PLA and PETG benefits from higher than normal temperature at a stable level, but the inclosed box design of the printer will ensure a temperature of around 40c after printing for a while, even with no lid on it.

I’ve designed a printable fan-duct which is mounted over the hole in the bottom frame part through which the hot air is exhaused through. It needs to be printed in ABS or similar to handle the temperature.
The printed parts are or will be located on the xBot-Medium Github repository and in the Thingiverse Group for xBot-Medium once I’m done with the files.

3x 30mm fans

Price 3x €1,21 = €3,63

I’ve just bought some standard so called 24v 3010 Hotend Cooling Fan for the Chamber heater. 3fans fits snugly on it, so that’s what I did.

2x 30mm fans for Printed objects

Price 2x €2,08 = €4,17

You either need 2x 30mm fans or figure out something else. Yes, it is plenty to cool the stuff you print, so no need for 2x 50mm blower fans.
You could use 2 of the fans listed above, which I’m using for the Chamber Heater, but I’ve decided to try out some “aluminium” fans instead, which are slightly more expensive.

I normally pick 12v fans for this as it’s very hard to find good quality 24v fans, and if you do, they cost way more.

It means I just put them in series:

  1. The 24v power line connects to red wire on one fan
  2. Gnd to the black wire on the other fan.
  3. The unused pin from each fan is connected by a wire or similar.
  4. Voila, you now have your two 12v fan running in series on your 24v system.

Note: not all 12v fans can do this, but most I’ve tried do it 100%.

Powersupply

Price: €60

The price is approximate what you might expect to find a good Powersupply at.

If you don’t plan on using Chamber heater, you can find a good Meanwell 24v 10amperage powersupply at half the above price.

If you do plan on using the Chamber Heater you should look for a 24v 18-20amperage to make sure you have enough juice.

I’m running my primary printer on a 24v 10amp PSU which is passively cooled, ie no fans, and it never even gets temperate, so no need to go overboard.

Better to get good quality with lower amp, than buy crummy 40amp psu.

You need a relatively low profile powersupply. Not much higher than 40mm.

For the xBot-Medium I managed to win an auction for a MeanWell HPR-450-24 powersupply. This translates to 24v 450w 18.8amp

I originally believed it had temperature controlled fan, but what it has is on/off fan that activates at some % load. It’s loud, so I need to figure something out to tame is.

Additional ressources

  • Dimensions: Width 105mm, height 41mm, depth 218mm
  • Datasheet opens pdf

LED – RGB

Price for 5m: €11,25

You don’t need RGB and I’ve always just used plain white light, but I recently learned you could use and control these using 3x FAN headers on the Duet/Duex.

I went and bought 5Meters of 24v RGB LED strip. Like normal led strips you can cut these at invertal and so make the lengths you want. 5m is plenty for several different projects.

I bought mine in the EU, so I guess you can get it at half price in China.

Manual on-off rocker

Price less than €1

Manual on/off switch for our front RGB LED light. I just like to have the ability to switch that rocker to turn the off sometimes even though the lights are programably turned on.

I hope I can just use this on the GND to the LED strip, or maybe I need it on the v+ depending on what is shared on the FAN headers, but lets see!

Just look around. It’s often cheaper to buy 2 than 1 and you might get 5 at almost the same price.

Various

 

Limit switches – long arms

Price for x2 €1,12

We need 2x Limit Switches with long arms for our X and Y axes.

Limit switches – short arm

Price for x3 €1,5

If you use BLTouch sensor you don’t have to install the 3 Limit Switches as endstop at the Z-Max end, but I’ll recommend that you do.

Partly as you can use it as backup system if the sensor fails and you can use them to synchronize the axes as an initial setup sequence.

Considering the price, I see it as a no-brainer to go and install them.

Front USB power out

Price €1,12

I really like having an USB power output in my 3D Printers. It can be used for webcams, powering phone/tablet or, as my favorite, powering my small USB vacumer for cleaning up the 3D Priner interior!

It requires a custom printed part which is available with the rest on the xBot-Medium Github Repository.

This video does not show the xBot-Medium, but is a video from my youtube channel showing my current primary machine.

You could also install the USB adapter intended for the rear side in this spot instead, if you’d rather go that route. I have not yet made any adapter for this option.

Rear USB for Controller access

Price €1,79

Since we have our Duet WiFi complete enclosed under our frame we need some sort of extensions to make it possible to connect to the controller via USB in case of various update and maintenance.

It’s called an USB 2.0 B Female Socket Panel Mount To Micro 5 Pin USB Male – Cable 50cm

You can route this to the front USB port instead if you like. I just havn’t made an adapter for this yet, but it should be a simple matter.

 

AC Power plug and on/off

Price €1,12

You can get them in a variety of models. I vastly prefer this model with build in fuse as it removes the need for an inline fuse between the power plug inlet and the internal powersupply.

You can get them with and without light and with different colors for the rocker. The cheapest model is without light and black rocker, while the red-rocker with light is a very close second.

Be sure to wire it correctly, so it’s the live wire connection going through the fuse.

GX12 and G16 connectors

Prices at around €1 each – so totalling at around €7


If you can wait for it, then order from china, as they cost a fraction of the cost. Not just a bit cheaper, but like 1/10 price sometimes!

  • 4x GX12-4
    • We can mount 4 external extruders, each of which takes a GX12-4 pin connector.
  • 1x GX16 8pin
    • We need a GX16 8-pin for our Carriage for Hotend Heater (2p), Heatsink Fan (2p), Object fan (2p), Sensor (2p).
  • 1x GX16 5pin
    • We are using a seperate GX16 5-pin for our BLTouch sensor.
  • 1x GX16 4pin
    • We need a single GX16 4-pin to hook up our heated bed: Heater (2p) and Sensor (2p)
 

Carriage

This is just a word used to describe the combined collection of objects driving around along with the Hotend. Ie, the mechanisms themselves, fasteners, extra fans and sensors and so on.

We allready talked about the BLTouch, which is definently a part of the Carriage.
We also went over the 2 fans used to cool our Printed Objects.

Hotend

Price: E3Dv6 Full Bowden €63,6

I’m going to use genuine Full E3Dv6 1,75mm hotends. I also have a (genuine) Full E3Dv6 3mm I use when printing Flexibles as flexibles in 1,75mm just aren’t viable.

You can use some other hotend if you like, but I prefer the E3Dv6 FULL 1,75mm hotend.

  • The FULL part is important as it is made up of an aluminium heater block, a steel heatbreak and a seperate aluminium heatsink. This model has very tight control over extrusion as the seperate pieces of the heatsink (and different materials) makes for very cleanly defined heat and coldzones. Retraction is normally around 1-1.5mm only, when using bowdenThe bowden tube goes down into the top of the heatsink and into the very top of the steel heatbreak. This means the PTFE materail from the bowden is far away from the hot zone, meaning you can use temperatures way above the LITE version (280 with thermistor – 500 with thermocoupler/pt100 sensor)If you by accident pull up in the bowden while the hotend is hot, nothing happens as the molten plastic can’t get up in the space between bowden and heatbreak. The added friction created by the steel heatbreak is actually a good thing as it makes for very tight filament printing control.
  • The LITE version is not recommended in my world. It is made up of a combined steel heatbreak with embedded heatbreak. This model does not have the same tight control as the FULL as it doesn’t have as effective heatsink and because the PTFE Bowden tube goes all the way down through the heatsink and rest directly on top of the Heater block.If you by accident pull up in the bowden while the hotend is hot, the molten plastic will guarenteed slip up in the space just above the nozzle, inside the heatbreak now freed from PTFE Bowden tube. It means you (most likely / often) have to take it all apart to clean it up, to get it working again!It does not have as tight control and while the FULL only requires 1-1.5mm retract, this LITE version takes 6mm! This long retract is required as it does not have as sharply defined hot and cold ends, so lots of “internal stringing” is going on, which in turn needs to be pushed out of the hotend after each retract = not as clean print. They still print better than most other hotends, don’t get me wrong, but not compared to the FULL!

The price includes lots of parts. You can view all under what’s in the box, from where I’ve taken below photos.

Some parts to mention: The nice Steel heatbreak and aluminium heatbreak with the bowden coupler, full kit with fan shroud, fan, blue silicone caps, thermistor and 24v (30w) heater.

There’s also a single 0,4mm standard Brass nozzle included.

Thermocoupler

Price €12,5

I’m not a huge fan of Thermistors. Both because they can break, but also because they aren’t that accuracte and I print at higher temperatures than they can go (300+), meaning I’m using a Thermocoupler sensor instead.

E3D has begun selling these, which works fine with the Duet. Duet sell these same Thermocouplers from their store now as well.

It does require you to use a Thermocoupler daughterboard for the Duet, so it’s a pretty big extra expense. You can always add this later.

Plated Copper Nozzle

Price inc. vat €11,75

In my world these things aren’t even optional. I know I know, it’s a big extra expense on top of everything else, and sure, you can wait before buying this.. ok it might be prudent to use the included Brass nozzle untill it’s worn down, but this copper nozzle is just so extremely much nice than the standard Brass nozzles.

They were created for ultra high temperature, but lets take this note from E3D:

In addition to high temperature performance these nozzles have an advanced nickel based plating, considerably reducing the adhesion of plastic to the nozzle. This is great for everyday filaments keeping things clean and shiny, but is particularly important at temperatures above 300°C where a silicone sock can’t be used.

And that non-stick feature is what makes it so awesome. If you have printed PETG you’ll cry tears of joy when trying one of these as stringing is just so much easier to manage – also helps on all other materials.

Don’t go and buy the Copper Heater Block as it will really only make your heating up take much longer and suck out €26,4 of your pocket! .

I honestly beleive them to be not at all relevant when using the Silicone Socks on the standard Aluminium blocks, which are included.

Yes, I own one of these and I really don’t much like it. I have not seen any advantages over normal Heater Block. Right now I’ve mounted it on a hotend I use with the TL-Feeder for 2x filament input as it migt be better when hot and cold filament are constantly changed, but I havn’t tested it much yet.

40/80w Heater Cartridge

Price inc VAT €5,4 for 24v 40w
Price inc VAT €6,73 for 24v 80w

What’s this now? Well, the included 30w heater with blue wires is just really slow and in some instances you will find it having problems keeping up the temperature. Especially when printing semi fast.

I strongly recommend buying the 24v 40w instead for this printer and if you tend to print very fast, you might even opt for the powerfull 24v 80w from RepRap.me

Just remember to do a new PID tuning if you change your heater or sensor.

Untill next time!

Wow, that was one long post! Next post is going to be all about the inert parts of the printer.

Posted on

xBot Medium – Look at materials (custom BOM)

In this post I’ll start describing what is needed to actually build the xBot-Medium printer.

I’ve set up a xBot-Medium Github Repository where the files can be found for this project. As I havn’t finished it yet, all the files aren’t there, but they will be! Only the .STP files for the Dibond frame pieces and some a few for printed parts are missing, so it’s pretty much complete allready.

This post is going to be about the custom parts we need for the xBot-Medium 3D Printer. I’ll list the Electronics and Electrical and Mechanical parts in a later post.

xBot Medium materials can be categorized like this:

    1. Parts for Dibond frame
    2. Custom lengths of quality steel rods
    3. Custom metal/steel parts
    4. Custom aluminium parts

1) Parts for Dibond frame

The frame for the xBot Medium is made out of 6 pieces of Dibond pieces. We actually have 8 pieces when counting the Front Door and the Rear Z-Rod Cover, but these two are part of the Top and Front Dibond pieces respectively, as you’ll see here.

Note: Parts might deviate from designs on this page. Always refer to the xBot-Medium Github Repository for the current version

Back

Most items of interested are noted on the piece.

I’ve intended one the two GX16 to the left to be for the Wire harness for the Carriage. The other one for BLTouch or other sensor.

The four GX12 4-pin, two to either side, are meant for Belted Extruder v4.

Above the GX12 holes to the right are cut outs meant for a Titan Extruder or similar, which people can finish on their own if needed.

USB cutout is meant for a Panel Mount USB B Female socket to USB Micro B 5 pin male cable. Ie, giving you USB access to the board from the rear of the printer.

 Bottom

The bottom accomodates a host of cutouts to accomadte our various pieces of machinery and electrical stuff to make our printer.

The mountholes for powersupply is based on Meanwell HPR-450-24 which is a quality 18.8a low profile supply with temperature controlled fans, so it shouldn’t make unduly noise.

Aside from this, you’ll find cutout for 14×3.2cm Chamber heater and mountholes for SSR for the heated bed and of course for our Duet WiFi and Duex expansionboard.

I’ve designed special 3D printable mount parts for the controllers, which incorporates fixpoints for box/shield/fans or similar for the controller.

Lastly we have room for our 3x Z 280mm motors various Z rods and the Optional 3x Z-Max endstops.

Front

The front piece contains the Rear Z-rod Cover and the various mountpoints for the door.

At the lower part there are optional cutouts for a front facing USB for power, but an adapter for the rear USB panel mount could also be mounted here.

We also have room for a manual rocker switch to turn LED on/off.

Finally there are 2 holes for m3 screws placed 80mm apart to facilitate mounting of an LCD panel if you use one.

Left

Left panel contains mount points for the Y-Max endstop and a groove for wires from both the Y and X endstop.

We also have mount holes for our Left Motorshield and holes for the optional front left Z-max endstop.

And of course the motor driving the Y axis.

Right

Right panel is the most simple panel of all.

It contains the mountholes for the optional front right Z-Max limit stop and holes to fix the Right Motor Shield in place as well.

Top

The top piece has the Door inserted into the empty space.

I’ll strongly encourage to have the door made as it greatly improves all prints you make regardless of material. Even PLA benefits a lot from an enclosed room with a steady slightly raised temperature.

Aside from the Door, the Top contains mount holes for the X-Min endstop and holes for both the 2x 12mm Z rods and the 2x 8mm Z rods.

2) Custom lengths of quality steel rods

Next up is our list of 6, 8 and 12mm steel rods.

I know it’s tempting to buy some cheap chinese bundle of “chromed steel rods”, but please don’t. They are most often not straight and the tolerance is also off by default.

My impression: it seems they take normal 8mm steel rods and do a put a “coat” of chrome on it, making it neither precise nor particularily durable. My description on how they do it, might be totally wrong, but it’s the impression I have from many bad purchases for rods.

So, go shop at a place where they guarantee a certain qiality standard, namely h6. It’s a standard for tolerances and deviations allowed and such.

It’s especially important with tight tolerances as we are using bushings for our X and Y rods and sometimes the cheap chinese rods are simply “too fat” for the bushings to pass over.. conversely it’s no good if the rods are too thin either, or not straight.

I’ve allmost always had problems getting the cheap rods through the flanged bearings we use at the XY ends as well.

I’ve ordered all my rods from Dold-Mechatronik this time around and I must say the quality is truely impressive!

The tolerance is 9um (micrometer) which means accuracy within 0.009mm. In other words these rods are high quality steel rods, ground and polished with a superb finish!

# Pieces

Drawings

 x2

 2x X-rods 8mm in diameter. Each of them 367mm long. They run from side to side.

x2

 2x Y-rods 8mm in diameter and 358mm long. They run front to back in both sides

 x2

 The two front 8mm rods for Z axis. 339mm long. Runs near each front z motor.

x2

 The two 12mm diameter and 339mm long rear Z-rods. Placed on either side of the center rear Z-motor.

 x1

 
 A single 6mm diameter 327mm long rod running left to right for our Carriage (thing that carries the hotend and fans etc)

 x1

 
 A single 6mm diameter 301mm long rod running from front to back for our carriage.

3) Custom metal/steel parts

Next up is a few pieces we need to have custom made as well. The most important parts are the 4x steel pieces used to keep the four Z rods in place.

The Motorshields are not just for show though, but are intended to partially keep out the heat from the heated chamber while keeping the XY motors cooler using a temperature controlled 40mm fan under each motor. Doing this as the motors performs best and last longer if we can keep their temperature under 40c.

I’ll most likely design some printed versions of these.

# Pieces

Drawing

x1

Left motorshield. There is room for 48mm long motors making it possible to use quality 0.9 steps Nema 17 motors!
2 m3 threaded holes in each side of the shield for fastening onto the frame in addition to two spuds at the bottom for fastening onto the Bottom frame part.

x1

Right motorshield. There is room for 48mm long motors making it possible to use quality 0.9 steps Nema 17 motors!
2 m3 threaded holes in each side of the shield for fastening onto the frame in addition to two spuds at the bottom for fastening onto the Bottom frame part.

x2

2 pieces of 2mm thick steel plates to hold the 8mm Z-rods in place. There is a m3 threaded hole in each end of the plates to keep them in place.

Note: If you can’t have some made in 2mm steel, then have them made in 4mm thick aluminium. The files for these are located in the xBot-Medium Github Repository

x2

2 pieces of 2mm thick steel plates to hold the 12mm Z-rods in place. There is a m3 threaded hole in each end of the plates to keep them in place.

Note: If you can’t have some made in 2mm steel, then have them made in 4mm thick aluminium. The files for these are located in the xBot-Medium Github Repository

4) Custom aluminium parts

We have 2 custom aluminium parts we need to make for the Z-stage. The Heated bed and the Z-liftplate.

You can use a heated bed from Ultimaker 2 if you choose, but I personally strongly prefer the option with 4-5mm aluminiumplate and an AC under it.

# Pieces

Drawing

#1

I’m using a PEI-coated 5mm thick aluminium plate from clever3d.de with a 500W AC Keenovo silicone heater under.
I’m recommending using an AC/mains heater, as you remove the stress from your PSU and electronics, meaning it’s easier to cool and you can do with a smaller PSU than you’d otherwise need or run your existing PSU without noisy fans. Note the temperature sensor sits in the middle of the pad and in my experience it shows about 10c more than the actual surface of the bed. At least for a good while.I havn’t shopped at Aluminiumwarehouse.co.uk but they have nice prices on their parts and their Ecocast plates would do perfectly for this as well. (choose CAST from dropdown menu.

#1

The Z-liftplate is a bit complicated due to the 3 motors, 4 support rods, 3 holes for screws to hit the Z-end stops and the 3 point Finger Screws to adjust the bed.
I’ve not made cutouts to make it lighter or similar, as it’s mostly for show anyway, but also because the extra cutting takes more time and so costs more money to make.

That’s it untill next time

You can find all the source files in the xBot-Medium Github Repository.
In the next post we will take a look at the Electronics and Electrical and Mechanical parts.

Posted on

xBot Medium – A new printer is baking!

Wow, been quiet for a while, and guess what, I’ve been busy working on completely new printer build, using the best I could find from the Open Source world and added on features I’ve been missing, like true autolevel and front hinged printbed in addition to the back mounted Z-stage on the Ultimaker machines.

  1. Ultimaker as primary source
  2. Design goals and specifications
  3. What can be improved on this package
  4. Dimensions of the xBot Medium next to Ultimaker 2+
    1. Dimensions
    2. Build Volume
    3. Printer and Printing Properties
    4. Materials
    5. Requirments
    6. Print Surface
    7. Controller Type
    8. Motor
    9. Firmware
    10. Powersupply
    11. Chamber
    12. LCD and SD
  5. Compatibility
  6. Fine Touches
  7. What’s next?

Note: Please note that some details has been changed during the design and buildphase. 

Ultimaker as primary inspiration

There, I said it. Ultimaker machines. This means I’ve been inspired by the Ultimaker 2 Open Source panels and did a complete workover to make it all match my needs. In all honesty it looks like a normal Ultimaker frame at first look, but when digging in the main left-over features are the hidden nuts and slot in system by the individual plates. Even those are placed totally different, so it’s only really the concept used. And of course the material used; 6mm Dibond.

Of course; the construction method is one of two things making the Ultimakers what they are, so it would be silly to change these for something else!

Design goals and specifications

The second thing making Ultimakers the best, is how they have, in my opinion, the best XY design of all Open Source printers on the market. They do not risk skewing the axes when changing direction and have build in self-adjustments.

In my optics it’s the best as it’s rock solid, simple to design and setup and requires next to no calibration or maintenance. You can move the printers around all day long, hook it up and print without any adjustments.

I even shipped one of my Ultimaker 2+ machines (clones) across the country. The buyer opened the box, hooked it up and printed right away. No calibration or adjustments needed! Even did the same trick a few weeks later, so yea, they really are rock solid and requires next to no calibration. Except for bed level!

The way the XY is incorporated into the very sleek case with hidden nuts, makes all axes very sturdy, which contributes to the unmatches printing quality of these printers.

During the designface I managed to make room for 48mm deep Nema 17 motors, which meant we can use high quality 0.9 degree steppers (17HM19-2004S) now! Previously we could only get 40mm motors where all 0.9 degree motors (I have ever seen) has very high Inductance mH, which really must be under 4mH to get acceptable performances.

All in all it just makes for an incredible appetizing package with both functionality and visual design at the fore.

What can be improved on this package?

There’s not much to change on the physical level, but the Z axis has always been the achilleius heel of the Ultimaker printers. It’s only fixed at the rear side and while the the Z rods has moved up in size from 8mm to 12mm, which improved a lot, the stability is just not as good as it could be.

I’ve previously fixed the Lead-screw at the top, which helped stabilize the Z some, but the leadscrew is not meant for this kind of usage. Especially bad if using a poor quality lead-screw which isn’t all straight.

I also created a method of using an Anti-backlash nut. Later on in the UM2+ and UM3 machines something similar appeared in the form of the T8*8 Delrim nut.

The Brass version of Anti-Backlash nut has become very cheap and more popular as it’s a drop in replacement to the normal Brass nut.

I’m a big fan of these Brass Anti-backlash nuts as they are cheap, drop in replacements and they compensate for both bad quality you might have in your lead-screws (and backlash nuts) and for the wear the nuts especially are going to be subjected to over time. Using regular nuts the gaps between the ridges steadily increase with wear and tear, leading to inaccuracies, especially when using z-hop, but the spring compensates for this kind of wearing down.


I’ll be using 3 of these Brass Anti-backlash nuts for the xBot Medium

To truly overcome this challenge I wanted to add 2 extra Z motors with additional z rods at each front corner, for a total of 3 Z-motors and 4 Z-rods, to make it more stable and also to build in the option for true auto-level function.

All without making the machine huge and bulky!

Some challenge, uhh?

Dimensions of the xBot Medium next to Ultimaker 2+

Note/Disclaimer: All info and images of/about the Ultimaker is from Ultimaker 2+ specificatiosn page and the Printer Comparison Page. They belong to Ultimaker and all credits goes to them. I am in no way affiliated with Ultimaker and I solely show the info here to show where I came from.

I have tried making the below table to illustrate and explain the changes and differences between the super nice Ultimaker 2+ and the xBot Medium I’m building.

Specifications

Ultimaker 2+

xBot Medium

Dimensions

Dimensions with bowden tube
and spool holder:
34,2cm (width) x 49,3cm (depth) x 58,8 cm (height)
(13.5 x 19.4 x 23.1 inches)
Weight:
11.3 kg (399 ounces)

Dimensions with extruder, bowden tube and spool holder
36,8cm (width) x 50,3cm (depth) x 42,8cm (height with 1,75mm)
Note: Height is up to 20cm more if using 3mm filament

Build Volume


Dimensions:
223 x 223 x 205 mm
(8.8 x 8.8 x 8.1 inches)

Dimensions:
223 x 223 x 205 mm
(8.8 x 8.8 x 8.1 inches)

Printer and Printing Properties

1x 2.85mm Geared Feeder

Open filament system

180 °C to 260 °C
Olsson’s Block
Up to 4x Belted Extruders v4 and 1x Titan or similar in any combination of 1.75 and 2.85mm

Open filament system

180 °C to 500 °C

E3Dv6 Full-MetalHeated Chamber

Materials

PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, Nylon, TPU 95A, and PP  PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC, Nylon, TPU 95A, PP and Breakaway (all materials)

Requirments

Ultimaker Cura or other Slizer

File transfer: Standalone 3D printing from SD card (included) or USB

Ultimaker Cura or other Slizer

File Transfer: WiFi drag and drop for standalone 3D printing.

Optional printing from SD card if the optional PanelDue is in use.

Print Surface

Heated Bed: 100w (24v 5a) 2mm aluminium heater.

Print Surface: 4mm Borosilicat/Tempered Glass. Optional Fiberplate FlexiPlate etc

Guided leveling of buildplate

Heated Bed: 500w (240hz AC (Mains) via SSR) Silicone Keenovo heater under 5mm milled Aluminium plate.

Print Surface: PEI-Coated Aluminium plate. Optional 4mm Borosilicate glass or Fiber plate etc.

You can use Ultimaker 2 heated bed if you so choose. Same mountpoints.

Full true automatic autolevel.

Controller type

Ulticontroller – 8bit

5x a4988 drivers and 3x PT100 amplifiers.

Controller Duet WiFi – 32 bit

5x TMC2660 drivers.

Thermocoupler Daughterboard for 2 Thermocouplers.

Using Duex2 or Duex5 for full use of autolevel and multiple extruders.

Motors

1.8 degree motors for XY.
Single linear motor for Z
1x 0.9 degree motor for Extruder
High quality 0.9 degree motors (17HM19-2004S) for XY from OMC-Stepperonline.com
3x linear motors for Z for true autolevel function
1-5x motors for extruders.
For 1.75mm filament: 17HM08-1204S
For 2,85/3mm filament: 17HM19-2004S

Powersupply:

 External Meanwell 24v 15.8 (black brick type) Internal Meanwell 25v 18.9a with temperature controlled cooling.

Firmware

 Ultigcode/Marlin firmware  RepRapFirmware

Powersupply:

 External Meanwell 24v 15.8 (black brick type) Internal Meanwell 25v 18.9a with temperature controlled cooling.

Chamber

100w Temperature controlled Heated Chamber
Door in Dibond with acrylic window

LCD and SD

 Small LCD control panel with SD card  Optional PanelDue color touch display with SD card.
options: 4,3″, 5″ or 7″

Compatibility

To the best of my abilities I’ve kept it as close to the Ultimaker 2 as I could. This means most things can be directly reused, if you have build a previous UM2 clone, like belts, pulleys, heated bed, finger screws, screws/nuts , XY endstops, all the bearings and the thick 12mm Z rods.

Also using same Z motors, although the xBot is using 3 of those.

You can even reuse your extruder if you have a Titan or UM2 extruder, allthough I do recommend using my Belted Extruder v4 as it’s way more quiet and performance just as well.

Fine Touches

In the back plate there are holes if you want to use an extruder as in the normal Ultimaker machines. I havn’t sunk the holes all the way through for Titan extruder, but they are marked up on the files, so it’s easy to remidy it.

Same goes for the various Optional settings in other plates like front USB plug, manual LED on/off switch and the two optional mount holes for PanelDue, if you choose to use one.

Instead of full wire draws I’ve opted to use the Aviation plugs in sizes GX16 for the wireharness up to the Carriage for Heater Cartridge, Temperature sensor, heatsink fan and printed object fans. A second GX16 for the BLTouch or some other sensor as well.

I’ve used 4x GX12 4pin Aviation plugs for the 4x top mounted Extruders on the rear side, and also a single GX12 4pin connector, installed in the bottom part of the frame, next to the Chamber heater vent, for the 4 wires up to the heated bed.

Here are 2 photos from a different machine to illustrate how the GX12 plugs will be placed on the rear side. All the wires going through on the photos here, will be replaced with the larger GX16 Aviation connectors.

What’s next?

I have ordered linear motors and parts from Robotdigg, quality steel rods from Dold Mechatronic and have put in an order for the Dibond plates here in Denmark with a private person, so can’t link to him… so now it’s just waiting time for me over Christmas.

The X and Y motors are high quality 0.9 degree motors (17HM19-2004S) from OMC-Stepperonline which can fit in there due to room for 48mm motors compared to Ultimaker’s room for 40mm motors only.

.. or.. Actually I’m busy working on creating documentation for a Github page for this project where alle the relevant files will be publicly available.

I have in fact allready created a Repository for the xBot Medium on Github and started putting various files and info in it, so please stay tuned.

The STEP files for the side panels will not be made publicly available untill I’ve tested them.

Stay tuned, here, maybe on my Facebook channel and on the Github repository as well 🙂

Merry Christmas to everyone 🙂

 

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Duet WiFi – Activate and connect the WiFi… when it doesn’t work!

Guess we’ve all tried it.. just can’t get the WiFi to connect to our home network. Especially after a firmware upgrade.

For some reason the non-macro manual method doesn’t always work, and I’ve learned that the most simple solution then, is to create a macro file with the needed info and execute the macro.

This post is a boiled down version of my Duet WiFi/Eth – Recover from Erase + basic setup post.

Macrofile for networksetup

  • We need to create a small macrofile to make it connect to our WiFi.
    I tried doing this manually without the Macro, but I simply just could not get it to connect..
  • So, go to your Macros folder on your SD card and create a new file named SetNetwork containing the following commands (without spaces before or after the commands on each line):
    M552 S0
    G4 P1000
    M587 S"your-network-ssid" P"your-network-password"


    Source info
  • Now eject the card from your computer and insert it into your Duet WiFi and connect it to your computer using the USB cable

Activate WiFi

  • Connect to your Duet WiFi using Pronterface and type M552 S0 to start the WiFi module
    M552 S0
    SENDING:M552 S0
    WiFi module started
  • Type in M98 P/macros/SetNetwork to execute the macro we created
    >>> M98 P/macros/SetNetwork
    SENDING:M98 P/MACROS/SETNETWORK
    WiFi module started
  • Send M587 and check that your network is listed
  • Send M552 S1.
    After a few seconds you should see a message that it has connected to your access point and display the IP it has recieved.
  • Connect via the web interface
  • Enable the M552 S1 command in config.g – if it’s not in there, then just make a new line and type it in.
  • For security reasons you might want to delete the SetNetwork macro file

SD Card Folder Structure

It’s usefull to know how the structure is supposed to be on the SD-card and also to know the function of each of the files and more info.

All this is shown on the SD Card folder structure wiki page

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Ultimaker – Fintuning nozzle distance from bed

This small blog-post guide can be used with any printer using the standard Gcode system.

I’m simply writing it in regards to Ultimaker as the issue has arisen from using these machines and their special kind of bed adjustment, which doesn’t provide any tools to do fine final adjustments.

Tools needed:

Pronterface/Printrun

Go to their website and download the program for your system. File downloads for Windows, Linux and MAC.

You can also go and visit their Github repository if you want to.

After installation you select proper Com port and Baud if/as needed and hit Connect.

Z-offset

When you connect you automatically get a detailed readout of current settings.

I’ve noted the Extruder steps/mm as many would like to adjust these some.

The current Z-offset as defined during setup of myUltimaker is Z-12.45. The nozzle needs to be a tad closer to the bed, so I’ll change the Z-offset to Z-12.40 as raising number is closing in the distance, while lowering the number increase the distance.

Adjust Z-offset

We are using M206: Offset Axes to change the Z-offset.

We simply type M206 followed by the new value of Z-12.40
M206 Z-12.40

Save changes

Now use M500 to save the new settings to Eeprom in order for the changes to be in place after poweroff.
M500
It will all look like this in Pronterface serial window:
>>>M206 Z-12.40
SENDING:M206 Z-12.40
SENDING_M500
echo:Settings Stored

Reconnect to verify changes are now changed. Might want to unplug USB and power the printer on and off to verify the changes are stored correctly as well.

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Duet WiFi/Eth – Use M584 to autolevel or sync Z-axis using 2 or more motors

I originally planned to use 3 seperate Z-motors for my BeTrue3D Printer project back last christmas, but since I’m using some special hollow Nema 17 and bespoke 1204 Ballscrews + top-fixing blocks the price would be like $100 for one extra motor on the Z-axis.

The money was just one concern. One which I could have overcome (by waiting some) if I wanted to, but it would also cause the printer to be much deeper without giving me larger printing area, and so it wouldn’t fit on my desk.. which was a primary requirment!

A rather big issue was how the RepRapFirmware at the time did not support this form for autolevel and there was no date for when it might be available.

Anyway, here’s a blog-post about it. I’ll at some later date make some youtube video to show how it works, so stay tuned! 🙂

  1. Independent Z-Motors
  2. Is this autolevel?
    1. Autocompensation
    2. Autolevel
  3. My usage of 2x Z-motors
    1. What am I going to do here exactly?
    2. Why? Is it even needed?
    3. How is this going to work in practice?
  4. Motor remapping for dual Z
    1. Physical Drive Connection
    2. Use M584 to remap the drives
    3. Configure Drives
    4. Endstop setup
  5. Example setup for non-duex user
  6. New Homing files

1) Independent Z Motors

It all ended up with me using 2 independent Z-motors.

I started out driving both from the same Z-driver but installed a limit-switch at each motor, which would be at Z-max, and planned how to trigger them using identical screws on both sides, mounted down through a threadded m3 hole in the Z-gantry for just this purpose.

The screws can of course be turned some, if fineadjustment is needed. I used some Loctite Threadlocker (open UK Ebay) to make sure it didn’t rattle loose.

2) Is this autolevel?

You might ask if this is autolevel by now, as it looks completely different than what you are used to see with a probe or sensor or similar..

Autocompensation

We normally see some sort of sensor near the hotend, which probes places around the bed and then compensate according to how uneven the printbed is.

This sort of automation is more correctly called autocompensation as it can compensate for various erros, most often just for a non-flat printbed though.

The compensation for non-flat surface is achieved by compensating for these errors by gradually, over the first xx layers flattening out the area on which it is printing. Ie, some areas are printed with a thicker layer than on others. After xx layers it can start printing normally

There are more to this, and different methods to compensate for non-square frame and axes etc, but this is beyond this blog-post

Autolevel

Autolevel on the other hand is when one or more sensors determine the posistion of the printbed and by using 2 or more motors makes it completely level compared to the XY axes.

You would want to use 3 or more motors to make most out of this Autolevel function.

A short note on using Autolevel: functions with RepRapFirmware: The M320 autolevel gcode is not currently implemented in the firmware, and seems it’s not going to be either, as the current functions G29-G32 is fullfilling the same functions more or less. Currently only Repetier firmware is making use of the M320-322 gcodes.

3) My usage of 2x Z-motors

As I talked about previously I selected to only use 2 Z-motors and the function to use these for Autolevelfunctions were recently made available in the RepRapFirmware via the M584: Set drive mapping, so now I’m in business!

In all fairness, the M584 has been around for some time, but I’ve been waiting for a finished sort of system for autolevel, which, as it turns out (see note above) is not going to be implemented, so here I am!

What am I going to do here exactly?

I’m going to home my Z-axis to Z-max and make each motor make use of it’s own endstop in order to make sure each end of the Z-axis is synchronized.

Why? Is it even needed?

In my optics, yes! Asolutely. Any machine using more than 1 z-screw should have this implemented.

Problem with multiple independent z-motors, yes, and even multiple axes driven by a single belt, is that one or more of the axes might get turned a bit. It can happen if you accidentially push on the plate or turn the screw, if you happens to move the z faster than it likes and one motor or screw skips a step or belt etc.

It might also be that your axes aren’t 100% to begin with, so you need to synch them up before each print, which you can do with this method.

How is this going to work in practice?

I’m going to use 2 different drivers for my Z-motors and use the associated Endstop connectors for these drivers as well. This is accomplished by using the M584 to define virtual axes.

It means we include both Z-motors in the original Z and then make a virtual axis for one of these motors in order for them to be able to move as one, but also make use of each motors’ own limit switch in order to make sure they are synchronized.

Motor remapping for dual Z

Before we get down to using M854, we need to use the M569 to define/check our physical setup.

Physical Drive Connection

My setup/explanation:
  • Drive 0-1 as X and Y, which are standard.
  • Drive 2 as left motor, which is normal Z
  • Drive 3 as Right Z-motor, which is normal Extruder0
  • Drive 4 – Standard Extruder1 – I am not using this, as all my extruders are on Duex5
  • Drive 5-9 – My extruders on Duex5


; Define Drives
; Physical Drive connection
M569 P0 S1 ; Drive 0 X
M569 P1 S0 ; Drive 1 Y
M569 P2 S0 ; Left z-motor (original Z)
M569 P3 S0 ; Right z-motor (Ex0)
; M569 P4 S0 ; EX1 - unused
M569 P5 S1 ; Extruder0 - Physical Tool 0
M569 P6 S1 ; Extruder1 - Physical Tool 1
M569 P7 S1 ; Extruder2 - Physical Tool 2
M569 P8 S1 ; Extruder3 - Physical Tool 3
M569 P9 S1 ; Extruder4 - Physical Tool 4

Use M584 to remap the drives

To make this all work, we need to tell the controller how we have conencted our physical connectors:

How to do this:
  • We are starting the new line, which we place under our M569 section above, by issuing the M584 gcode.
  • Then simply go through and use the definitions we made above.
  • X0 – Using Driver 0 as X
  • Y1 – Using Driver 1 as Y
  • Z2:3 – This is the new part, where we define that we are using both Driver 2 and 3 for our Z. This means both are used when hitting the move Z buttons.
  • U3 – We assign driveletter U to our second Z motor, using Drive 3.
    • When using virtual drivenumbers we can’t just come up with some random letters.
    • As of firmware 1.19, we can use UVWABC letters – in that order!
  • E5:6:7:8:9 – Defines how all drivers on the Duex5 are Extruders.
  • P3 – This defines the number of visible axes in our GUI, starting from the first, meaning the visible ones are: XYZ, while the 4th axis U is not shown up in the GUI.
    • You might want to have U visible at first in order to verify your new setup.

; Motor remapping for dual Z
M584 X0 Y1 Z2:3 U3 E5:6:7:8:9 P3 ; Driver 0 For X, 1 for Y, Z=2:3 U=3, Extruder 5-9

Configure Drives

Next step is to configure our machine to use 2 drivers instead of just 1 and to add the new U drive to our Drives configurations.

What you need to do now, is setup microstepping, steps/mm and all other such settings as if you have 2x Z-drives and 1x U-drive

Endstop Setup

Last item in our config.g we need to change is the Endstop configuration. Contrary to above, we do not define a second Z here (As we only have 1 z endstop), but instead just add the U endstop. It’s important that Z and U homes to same end; in this case at Z-max.

Example configuration for non-duex users

This section is a cleaned up section for all the non-duex owners, so you don’t have to sit and sort out my Duex5 config.

Just use the explanations for the Configure Drivers and Endstop Setup just above here.

Explanation:
  • Drive 0-1 as X and Y, which are standard.
  • Drive 2 as 1st Z-motor, which is normal Z
  • Drive 3 as Extruder0
  • Drive 4 as 2nd Z-motor – this is normally Extruder1


; Define Drives
; Physical Drive connection
M569 P0 S1 ; Drive 0 X
M569 P1 S0 ; Drive 1 Y
M569 P2 S0 ; 1st z-motor (original Z)
M569 P3 S0 ; Extruder0
M569 P4 S0 ; 2nd Z-motor - Normally used as Extruder 1

 

  • X0 – Using Driver 0 as X
  • Y1 – Using Driver 1 as Y
  • Z2:4 – This is the new part, where we define that we are using both Driver 2 and 4 for our Z.
    • This means both are used when hitting the move Z buttons.
  • U4 – We assign driveletter U to our second Z motor, using Drive 4.
    • When using virtual drivenumbers we can’t just come up with some random letters.
    • As of firmware 1.19, we can use UVWABC letters – in that order!
  • E3 – Defines Extruder0 as our extruder.
  • P3 – This defines the number of visible axes in our GUI, starting from the first, meaning the visible ones are: XYZ, while the 4th axis U is not shown up in the GUI.
    • You might want to have U visible at first in order to verify your new setup.

And the code to copy/paste:

; Motor remapping for dual Z
M584 X0 Y1 Z2:4 U4 E3 P3 ; Driver 0 For X, 1 for Y, Z=2:4 U=4, Extruder 3

New Homing files

It’s important we remember to create new/modify our homing files to match our new setup.

In particular we need a new Homez.g and a modified Homeall.g.


And the code for easy copy/paste:

G91 ; Relative mode
M584 Z2 ; Split Z into 2 (Z+U)
G1 Z250 U250 F2000 S1 ; Move up to 250mm in the +Z direction. S1 to stop if endstop is triggered
G1 Z-2 U-2 F600 S2 ; Move 2mm in the -Z direction - (I'm not sure what S2 is for?)
G1 Z3 U3 F100 S1 ; Move slowly 3mm in the +Z direction, stopping at the homing switch
M584 Z2:4 ; Join U to Z again (pay attention to drive numbers used)
G1 Z-5 F3000 ; Move back again 5mm in the -Z direction
G90 ; Back to absolute mode

You need to update your Homeall.g files accordingly as well.

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Duet WiFi/Eth – PID tuning hotend

Since I just changed my old cartridge for a 24v 80w heater on my 5way Diamond hotend and used High Temperature Liquid Gasket Silicone as a sealant on the heatsinks and the Diamond nozzle itself, as is clearly evident on the photo, I need to do a new PID tuning, which is a good starting point for writing a short blog-post on doing just that.

  1. Gcodes used
  2. Prepare for PID tuning
  3. PID-tune hotend heater
    1. Parameters
    2. Heater to tune
    3. Power
    4. Target Temperature
  4. Parameters to use and store in config.g
    1. New PID-Tuning
    2. I’ll add this in my Heaters/Hotend section
  5. Debug – Failing to tune?
    1. Temperature was not reached
    2. Starting temperature is not stable
    3. Over-powered and a fire risk

1) Gcodes used

  • For the actual PID tuning, we are going to use M303
  • M307 H1 to display the parameters we garnered from the PID tuning.
  • Finally you could use M500 to store the parameters in a config-override.g file, which matches the old school Eeprom M500, and overrule the settings in config.g file.
    • I personally have an aversion to this sort of having configurations stored in different places. Especailly for core parameters that shouldn’t change.
    • In my opinion it just leads to confusion as people tends to forget they have anything stored in the override file and can’t figure out why the printer doesn’t accept the new parameters written in the config.g file.

2) Prepare for PID tuning

I prefer to put my hotend close to the heated bed, heat the bed to my most used temperature and then turn on the object-cooling fans at maximum before doing a hotend PID-tuning.

Why you might ask?

I prefer to similuate actual printing situation to get a PID tuning that most closely matches the actual usage scenarios of my printer.

3) PID-tune hotend heater

Parameters

Hnnn heater number
Pnnn PWM to use, 0 to 1 (you should normally use 1 i.e. full power)
Snnn target temperature

Heater to tune
To actually do a PID tuning we need to use the M303 command followed by H1 to denote the heater used, which is the first heater.

If you PID tune your bed, it is H0 by default.

Power
Next we need to define the amount of power we feed our heater cartridge. This is denoted by P followed by a number like P1 for 100% power and P0.5 for 50% power.

RepRapFirmware used to be very, very restrictive regarding power setting. I had to put it at P0.1 (10%) to do a succesfull tuning in january, but His time I could run it at P1 (100%).

Target temperature
Finally we need to define target temperature using S followed by temperatures in celcius like S220 for 220c. Target the temperature you use the most. So 200ish for PLA if that is what you print, or 240 or something like that, if you mostly print ABS.

It means I’ll tune my to 200c at full power like this (mine failed when target was 220):
M303 H1 P1 S200

Sequence is from the bottom and upwards

4) Parameters to use and store in config.g

As mentioned above I’m not a fan of using the M500 to store in config-override.g method, so I’ll get the result from the PID tuning using M307 H1 and put it into my config.g file.

It all seems a bit confusing to be sure

Lets look at the top line, which is the one we are going to be using:
Heater 1 model: gain 188.4, time constant 121.7, dead time 1.4, max PWM 0.50, mode: PID

This translates into:

  • M307 H1 for Heater 1
  • A188,4 for Again
  • C121.7 for Constant
  • D1.4 for Dead time
  • and S0.5 for max PWM

* Default is PID for hotend, so we don’t need to write parameter for this.
* Default for BED is Bang-Bang method, so you’d have to add B0 in the end, to force it to use PID.

M307 H1 A188.4, C121.7, D1.4 S0.5

I honestly do not know why it puts max power at 50%, so i’ll put it at S1 (100%) and use the new parameters to do a new PID tuning like this:

M307 H1 A188.4, C121.7, D1.4 S1

4.1) New PID-Tuning

Saving config.g with the above parameters I’ll run a new PID-tuning target at 220c like so:

M303 H1 P1 S220

I ended up with new parameters with full power on my heater:
Heater 1 model: gain 375.3, time constant 125.9, dead time 3.8, max PWM 1.00, mode: PID

This translates into:

  • M375.3 H1 for Heater 1
  • A125.9 for Again
  • C125.9 for Constant
  • D3.8for Dead time
  • and S0.5 for max PWM

Which means we are going to add this line to our config.g file.

M307 H1 A375.3, C125.9, D3.8 S1

4.2) I’ll add this in my Heaters/Hotend section.

So, this is ho my Hotend section turned out looking 🙂

5) Debug – Failing to tune?

There are different reasons why it migh fail to tune.

Temperature was not reached

Auto tune cancelled because target temperature was not reached Heater 1 switched off

Solution: Try using a lower temperature. It might fail if it took too long to reach the target temperature.

Starting temperature is not stable

Auto tune cancelled because starting temperature is not stable

Solution: You need to wait for temperature to get almost back to room temperature before trying again.

Over-powered and a fire risk

Warning: Heater 1 appears to be over-powered and a fire risk if left on at full power, its temperature is predicted to reach XXXc

Solution: Lower the value of the P parameter, which is the current you feed your heater during testing

Posted on

Duet WiFi/Eth – Recover from Erase + basic setup

I accidentially hit the Erase button on the edge of my Duet WiFi card, which means it wiped my firmware from the controller! Luckily it didn’t wipe my SD card, so my config files didn’t go missing on me.

I still need to setup my controller again though, and while I previously did write a blog-post on doing that, it was a long time ago and a lot has happened since then on how things are done, so I decided to do a new writeup on it.

Also, since it wiped the firmware from the controller, I am now unable to connect to it the regular way, which we need to solve.

Contents

  1. Download firmware and drivers
    1. Install drivers
    2. Rename firmware files
  2. Download relevant programs
    1. Pronterface/Printrun
    2. SDFormatter
    3. SAM-BA v2.17
  3. Write new firmware using SAM-BA
  4. Getting SD-Card Ready
    1. Format SD-card
    2. Copy over SD-Image files
      1. Rename printerfolder
    3. Put firmware files on the SD-card
    4. Make ready for Duet Web Interface
    5. Macrofile for networksetup
  5. Install WiFiserver and activate WiFi
  6. SD Card Folder Structure

1) Download firmware and drivers

  • In order for your computer to communicate with the controller using USB, we need to get the drivers from DC42s Github driver folder.We also need to download the newest firmware and it’s a good idea to download the SD-Image folder to give us a new set of files for our now defunct printer.All in all, it is easiest to just click the Clone or download on the main RepRapFirmware Github page and select Download Zip, which you extract somewhere easy to find and use.
  • In the directories you just unzipped go into RepRapFirmware-dev/Driver folder and right-click on duet.inf and select install to install the drivers.
  • Browse down through RepRapFirmware-dev/Release/Duet-WiFi/Stable and rename the files:
    • DuetWiFiFirmware-1.19.bin to DuetWiFiFirmware.bin
    • DuetWiFiServer-1.19.bin to DuetWiFiServer.bin

2) Download relevant programs

  • Pronterface/Printrun

    In the Getting connected to the Duet WiFi they suggest using a dedicated terminal program to setup the controller/firmware, but I really much prefer using Pronterface/Printrun, as it also has pure terminal function and in my world is essential to configuring and checking any 3D Printer.

    I vastly prefer it over any form of terminal function in all slizers as the slizers comes with some configured settings which can screw up the result you get when moving and axis or sending a command to check a function.

    So, go to the download page for Pronterface/Printrun 3D Printing Host Suite and select the version fitting for your type of computer.

    To use Pronterface/Printrun you just need to extract/unzip the file and run the pronterface.exe file

  • SD Formatter 4

    Note: The program is named SD Formatter 4, but they have a version 5, which is a bit strange.

    Some of you  are going to wonder about why we need a dedicated program to format the SD card, and the answer is quiet simple: To avoid/minimize the risk of the SD card turning bad, either turning completely unuseable untill reformatted, or just performs really bad, with slow speeds.
    The program simply just does a much better job of preparing SD cards correctly and it can even fix many annoying problems many people experience now and then on their printers.

    Go to the SD Formatter (4/5) Download page, scroll down and download and install the version for your system.

  • SAM-BA 2.17

    Since I hit the erase button on the Duet WiFi I can no longer talk to it using Pronterface, as we first need to burn the firmware onto the controller using SAM-BA 2.17. I don’t know why it has to be 2.17, but the specific version is listed on the Fallback description on the Duet wiki. Install it after downloading and leave it open.

3) Write new firmware using SAM-BA

Note: This step is only necessary if you cannot connect to your controller after having hit Erase

  • Connect the Duet WiFi to your PC via USB.
  • Press the Erase button on the Duet WiFi, then the Reset button.
  • Load SAM-BA. It usually detects the correct COM port automatically. Select board at91sam4e8-ek. Press Connect.
  • In the Send File Name box enter or browse to the DuetWiFiFirmware.bin file to be loaded, then press Send File (leave the Address at the default of 0x400000).
  • On completion it will invite you to lock the region; press Yes.
  • To verify the writeprocess press Compare sent file with memory.
  • Press the Execute button next to the Boot from Flash option in the Scripts box. Then exit SAM-BA.
  • Press Reset on the board.
  • You should now be able to connect via USB/Pronterface.
    Try sending the M115 command to check firmware version

Source for this section was found on the Duet Wiki.

4) Getting SD-card ready

  • Format your SD card using SD-formatter – remember to copy out any config-files you might want to save.
  • Now navigate to the folder RepRapFirmware-dev\SD-image you downloaded in Step 1.
    • Copy the entire content to your SD-Card
  • My printer is a CoreXY, so I’ll rename the sys-CoreXY folder on the SD-card to plain sys

 

Put firmware files on the SD-card

  • Copy over the 3 .bin files from RepRapFirmware-dev/Release/Duet-WiFi/Stable we renamed in Step 1.2 and put them into the newly named sys folder

Make ready for Duet Web Interface

  • Turns out the www folder is rather deprecated and didn’t work at all, at my place, so delete the www folder on the SD-Card
  • Now go to RepRapFirmware-dev\Release\Duet-WiFi\Stable and unzip the DuetWebControl-1.19.zip file
  • Rename ths folder to www and copy it onto your SD-Card

Macrofile for networksetup

  • We need to create a small macrofile to make it connect to our WiFi.
    I tried doing this manually without the Macro, but I simply just could not get it to connect..
  • So, go to your Macros folder on your SD card and create a new file named SetNetwork containing the following commands:
    M552 S0
    G4 P1000
    M587 S"your-network-ssid" P"your-network-password"


    Source info
  • Now eject the card from your computer and insert it into your Duet WiFi and connect it to your computer using the USB cable

Install WiFiserver and activate WiFi

Now it’s time to install the DuetWiFiServer onto our board to enable the usage of WiFi

  • Connect to the DuetWiFi using Pronterface and issue the command M997 S0:1 which is going to install/update both firmwares.

Note: I know we allready have the newest DuetWiFiFirmware on it, but easier to remember just one command.

  • Wait for it to finish and disconnect as it’s restarting.
  • Disconnect and Connect again using Pronterface and type M552 S0 to start the WiFi module
    M552 S0
    SENDING:M552 S0
    WiFi module started
  • Type in M98 P/macros/SetNetwork to execute the macro we created
    >>> M98 P/macros/SetNetwork
    SENDING:M98 P/MACROS/SETNETWORK
    WiFi module started
  • Send M587 and check that your network is listed
  • Send M552 S1.
    After a few seconds you should see a message that it has connected to your access point and display the IP it has recieved.
  • Connect via the web interface
  • Enable the M552 S1 command in config.g – if it’s not in there, then just make a new line and type it in.
  • For security, delete the SetNetwork macro file

SD Card Folder Structure

It’s usefull to know how the structure is supposed to be on the SD-card and also to know the function of each of the files and more info.

All this is shown on the SD Card folder structure wiki page