Prusa i3 3D printer. Building, calibration and printing

 Hi all!!

It has been a few months since I built my own 3D printer, a Prusa i3 box model. But so far I could not consider this is a real alternative to the comercial 3D printers, like Ultimaker, Makerbot or Witbox. After 1kg printing pieces (about 30€) and calibrating carefully, the printer now is able to print with the same quality as the printers of these companies.

So let me start from the beggining: building it.

First I did, of course, is to search on internet wikis and forums with information. Finally best of them were the RepRap one and Clone Wars (the spanish RepRap group). There are more than 10 models ready to be built, with different arquitectures and forms, but all based on the same principle: a CNC machine with 3 axis and a plastic extruder by tool. Each axis is managed by a stepper motor sliding extruder on smooth rods with bearings. Best of building one is that structure pieces are printed from another 3D printer, replicating themselves!!

    
From left to right. Original Mendel Prusa, Printrbot and Prusa i3 box models.

 

I will not copy all the information to build them with my own words to not replicate available information, so I will reference you the best tutorials to build it. Some of them will be in spanish language so if you have any doubt you can of course ask me.

As I told my printer is a Prusa i3 Box, and I build it mainly following this link and this document, but most I learned indeed was with all these videotutorials (thanks to my colleage Obijuan!!), based on Prusa i2 model, but most of concepts are applicable to any one.

I attach below this post a .txt file with all the links I used to buy my pieces (finally the printer will cost about 300€. You will hardly reduce this price so you will need to assume it). Special recommendations are to use GT2 pulleys, good quality smooth rods and unused Nema17 stepper motors (these three elements I recommend you to buy them at online 3D printing stores like RepRapBCN).

Sprinter firmware is shown on lot of tutorials, but don't use it, use Marlin one instead.
About the slicing software, I recommend you to use Cura (from Ultimaker). I use the 13.06.4 version because next versions don't have some interesting settings. These are my settings on Cura. They will help you indeed to configure your own one:

 

The speed to print can be changed depending on the quality you need. By default I commonly use 25 mm/s for printing and 30 mm/s on travels, but I print pieces successfully with 80 mm/s printing and 100 mm/s travelling. This is the main difference from bought printers, which you can print at 120 mm/s and travel with 160 mm/s easily.

In order to design your own pieces, I recommend you to use OpenSCAD, however AutoCAD or Inventor could be used too (only you need to do is to export the design to a .STL file).
Don't dude to upload your designs or download shared in Thingiverse.

About the filament and plastic, I recommend you to use PLA at first, because extruding temperature is lower than ABS and temperature shock is lower on it, avoiding plastic bending when printing. Both are about 25-30€ per kilogram and I ensure you that last more than you firstly expect.

 Here I show you some photos of my 3D printer and some printed pieces :D

 

CLFS - Cross Compiled Linux From Scratch - The ARM Book

I'm sure most of you thought any time to compile Linux core in order to learn a little more of this Operative System, how to compile a great project as the Linux one is or simply to enjoy the path to success on doing it.
 
In my case I always wanted to compile it for an ARM processor (like Raspberry Pi, probably your smartphone or maybe your home router).
 
First I did is to search for it on Google:
 
http://www.google.es/search?q=compile+linux+for+ARM
 
You will find lot of differente processes to get it, but people who previously compiled a Linux distribution will find all shown links not enough to learn all process to compile it.
Searching a little more, I happily founded this great project called Cross Linux From Scratch, or CLFS:
 
http://trac.cross-lfs.org/
 
It explains all process going from the build of the cross compiling tools, configuration of your system, to the bootloader to allow your new system run.

The project allow you to follow it online or to build your own book. I'm uploading the books to compile linux from scratch for ARM, MIPS or x86 processors, a great resource for lovers of embedded systems
 

 

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