newbie questions

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contemptx
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:43 pm

newbie questions

Post by contemptx »

Hi all,
I wanted to jump onto the forums to ask a few questions tot hose that already have a felix printer.

In short im looking to buy a 3d printer, however im a complete newbie when it comes to anything 3D so I know that it will be a learning curve but I dont want too much of a lurning curve if that makes sense....

I am certainly interested in building the printer as that way you understand better on how everything works, but I was wondering what sort of calibration is involved.... now I know this is one of those area's thats never ending as you are always improving settings to tweak this & that.

But I would also like to be to print something tangable instead of a blob at the end of it ;)

I have been doing a ton of research on different printers and looking to stay away from the reprap models as it seems that only those highly skilled managed to get decent prints out of them.

So my question is how much experience did you have before getting a felix printer (did you own a 3d printer before or was this your first one and how much experience do you have in 3D design) and what would you say was your hardest learning curve and how long did it take you to get to a stage where your print quality was acceptable...

Thanks for your time

dognotdog
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:22 pm

Post by dognotdog »

I am inclined to think you can get prints faster out of the felix than other printer kits. Personally, I've had enough experience with conventional CNC machining, so the 3D aspect of it wasn't new. I didn't have any problems assembling the felix, what takes up most time is fitting the cables, and deciding how to run them.

danielkschneider
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:29 pm
Location: Geneva
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Post by danielkschneider »

I can't comment on the assembly since I got mine assembled. It printed out of the box. However, I do have some experience with assembly (a rapman almost 3 years ago, and a fabbster last winter).

IMHO there are 3 crucial things you must respect:
* Take your time and make sure that you get every step right. If you do it wrong that won't hamper the end result, but you likely will become angry since you will have to undo/redo. IHMO, all manufacturers underestimate the time it takes. If all your DYI skills boil down to being able to read and simple tool use, multiply by 1.5 or 2 or 3 .... Also: if you can't read "step by step" manuals, don't try. I don't have any special DYI skills, but managed to assemble the rapman (much more difficult) w/o problems.
* Geometry: Angles have to be right. Typically, most are 90 degrees.
* Belts must be tight and yet be able to move without being hindered (e.g. by a pulley that is too low)

The only difficult part is usually the hot-end. But if I understand right, the latest Felix should be easy enough. The most awful part is connecting cables. Take your time and try to be relaxed...

You then must decide whether you just aim for decent printing or the best theorectical result. With the Felix there isn't much to do if you just "want to get it right" (as in my case):
* Platform must be horizontal with respect to how the print head moves
* Distance between nozzle and platform = 1 sheet of paper
* Extruder arm must be tight, i.e. plastic must come out smoothly (for little pillars)
.... done

If you want to go further, I suggest that you first try to learn how the slicer programs work. There is no single good setting, since you will have to comprise between speed and quality and also between optimizing different types of parts. E.g. a dense block for an engine, a sculture, a lego brick all need different settings. That is a universal problem for all printers, but there are some printer dependencies.

After that, you could mine the forums for problems like backlash etc.

Remarks:
* It can happen that some parts are bad, e.g. a defective electronics board or a badly "tuned" stepping motor. If the printer really behaves out of the ordinary, describe the problem as best as you can and ask for help.
* Main reasons for buying a Felix (as opposed to another good recent model): It's transportable, it prints PLA very well, it uses open source boards and software, and it's reliable. I often launch a print job in my office and then come back in the morning to admire the result. E.g. See this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:31284
* Compared to the other 2 printers I own, I certainly prefer the Felix a lot. Can't compare to others.

Disclaimer:
* I don't go for high quality, since printing very high quality takes ages with any printer. E.g. if a printed Lego piece fits real Lego that is good enough for me.

- Daniel

PS: My 3D wiki pages, including assemblies and some notes about the Felix:
http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Category:3D_printing

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