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(Created page with "In June of 2016 I finally broke down and bought myself a 3D printer. I had explored some of the standards, MakerBot at the high end (of course!), Printrbot and the cheap and D...")
 
(Troubleshooting)
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* '''Most of the way thorough the print it starts printing offset from the base!''' This happened to me after I moved the printer and the PLA got wrapped around the axle a bit. This could also result in the PLA breaking while being fed into the print head, in either case the solution is to remove the PLA spool, rewrap it, and replace it.
 
* '''Most of the way thorough the print it starts printing offset from the base!''' This happened to me after I moved the printer and the PLA got wrapped around the axle a bit. This could also result in the PLA breaking while being fed into the print head, in either case the solution is to remove the PLA spool, rewrap it, and replace it.
  
* '''The print isn't adhering to the base plate!''' This happened on a scanned toy of mine. I suspect the issue is that my good prints all have clearly-defined bases. Crafting a base from putty prior to scanning could help this.
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* '''The print isn't adhering to the base plate!''' Try applying a layer of glue to the plate. This this doesn't work I've run into issues with prints that don't have a large, flat base. If you have a small amount of contact area with the base plate, especially with multiple points like a few feet on the glass, you may be better off by adding a small base under the object.

Revision as of 18:22, 27 June 2016

In June of 2016 I finally broke down and bought myself a 3D printer. I had explored some of the standards, MakerBot at the high end (of course!), Printrbot and the cheap and DIY end, and a slew of others. I finally gave up, realized I had no idea which features were important to me, and got an AIO Robotics Zeus under the premise that in a compact apartment space having a nice enclosure and built-in 3D scanning would be useful features.

Out of Box Experience

The Zeus comes nominally pre-assembled. You get the printer itself, a power brick, a USB WiFi dongle, two small spools of PLA (I got green and black, YMMV), and a box with the glass tray, a scanner calibration targeting area, a glue stick, and a brush with a powder in it. There's also a test print (a little square) which may be discarded, a putty knife to remove the prints from the base and what seems to be a ferrite bead.

The two instruction sheets are a little light and lack the full quality of a [manual http://www.aiorobotics.com/manual/doku.php] which is to be expected in today's world - print a manual and it's out of date in a week. One is a detailed sheet showing how to update the software, the other is a quickstart guide that skips a parts list. Going through the quickstart I was able to print one of the included test objects without problem, it walked me through loading the PLA into the print head, putting a layer of glue on the base, etc. They are missing an equivalent scanning quickstart.

User Experience

The UI is a little sluggish at times and I've run into cases where rebooting seems to be the only option. There is also no automatic power off that I've found, after a print there is a fan to cool the print head so I'm hesitant to just turn it off immediately. Even just blanking the screen after a period of time and dimming the power button would be nice - this would also lend itself well to weekly polls for software updates where a flashing power button could prompt the user to download and install. I may have to check if the controller is easily replaceable, it would be great if I found it was a stock Raspberry Pi in the back end...

I'd like to see more positive feedback for things like power, an LED showing that the power is connected, another to show that the master power switch is on, LEDs for the Ethernet port, etc. A rear-facing USB port for the WiFi dongle (or just built-in WiFi with a better antenna) would be nice.

But other than this it's not too bad. Calibrating the scanner was a piece of cake. Being able to download STLs from the Internet without a PC is fantastic. You can actually use this printer without any other computing devices at all if you're patent with the browsing speed.

However, despite being only a few meters from my WiFi access point I found the WiFi dongle to be too slow to perform a software update, even downloading STL files takes forever. I don't know if this is a problem with the dongle or just the general sluggishness of the controller but plugging into a hardwired Ethernet port is definitely a better solution for me.

Useful Tools

Personally I don't use the included putty knife, I find it to be too thick so instead I use a more purpose-built removal tool. Additional tools you may need:

Troubleshooting

  • Most of the way thorough the print it starts printing offset from the base! This happened to me after I moved the printer and the PLA got wrapped around the axle a bit. This could also result in the PLA breaking while being fed into the print head, in either case the solution is to remove the PLA spool, rewrap it, and replace it.
  • The print isn't adhering to the base plate! Try applying a layer of glue to the plate. This this doesn't work I've run into issues with prints that don't have a large, flat base. If you have a small amount of contact area with the base plate, especially with multiple points like a few feet on the glass, you may be better off by adding a small base under the object.